OLDER PEOPLE - LONG-TERM HEALTH CONDITIONS
As people age their physical and mental functioning sometimes deteriorates and they become more susceptible to age-related conditions. In 2012, 87% of older Australians reported having a long-term health condition, compared with around one third (31%) of people aged less than 65 years. This is similar to the findings of the 2009 survey where 88% of older people reported a long term health condition compared with 32% of people aged less than 65 years. Of the 2.8 million older people who reported a long-term health condition, 93% were most affected by a physical condition, while 7% said a mental or behavioural disorder caused them the most problems.
Considering all people aged 65 years or more, the most frequently reported main conditions were arthritis (16%), hypertension (11%) and back problems (9%). Dementia or Alzheimer's disease (2.7%) were the most frequently reported main conditions relating to a mental or behavioural disorder, this had increased since 2009 (2.3%).
The prevalence of some health conditions varies with age. For example, in 2012, a person aged 80 years or over was seven times more likely to identify dementia or Alzheimer's disease as their main long-term health condition than someone aged 65 to 79 years (7.6% compared with 1.0%). In contrast, the proportion of those who reported arthritis as their main condition was similar across these age groups (17.3% compared with 15.9%).