Older people

The Australian population is ageing and as we age it is more likely that we will have at least one chronic condition. There may come a time that you are unable to speak for yourself because of your illness. Discussing your values, beliefs and preferences for care in advance can guide decision-making if you are unable to speak for yourself. A substitute decision-maker can be appointed to speak for you if you become to unwell to speak for yourself.

Life circumstances change as we age and our roles may change. Changes that may influence decisions regarding healthcare preferences might include:

  • financial status
  • whether you are a carer for someone
  • the availability of a support network
  • whether you work or are retired

If your circumstances change it would be good to also review your advance care planning documents. Common situations when caring for an older person, that require implementation of Advance Care Directives include decisions such as whether to:

  • call an ambulance
  • transfer someone to hospital
  • undertake surgery
  • start or stop life sustaining interventions.

Decision-making in these instances and providing care that aligns with the person’s preferences may be relatively straightforward if the healthcare team and the person’s substitute decision-maker, family and friends all have a shared understanding of the person's clearly expressed intent and management of their care.

Advance care planning discussions can be held with people in residential aged care settings, with a diagnosis of dementia or other cognitive impairments and people in the community.

To explore this area further, consider completing the online education modules on Advance Care Planning Australia Learning:

  • Advance care planning – aged care
  • Advance care planning and dementia.
More information

More resources on aged care

  • Website

    My Aged Care

    Australian Government

    My Aged Care is part of the Australian Government’s changes to the aged care system which have been designed to give people more choice, more control and easier access to a full range of aged care services.
  • Website

    Information for residential aged care (RAC)

    CareSearch

    Find information and resources for staff working in residential aged care (RAC).
  • Articles & Publications

    Managing pain in residential aged care facilities

    Australian Pain Society (APS)

    Outlines management strategies and good practice principles to assist health professionals to successfully identify, assess and manage pain in residential aged care residents.
  • Website

    Ageing and Aged Care

    Australian Government Department of Health

    Information, tools and resources from the Department of Health to support the aged care sector through evidence-based policy, well targeted programs, and best practice regulation.
  • Website

    Clinical guidance: care at the end of life

    Queensland Government

    Forms, guidelines and information on care at the end-of-life for health care professionals.
  • Website

    Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing

    Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing

    Find resources, training, and other projects and initiatives for addressing the needs of older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.