Governments need to prioritise retirement villages in their housing strategies to cater for the fast-growing population of older people in Australia.

Following the release of the latest national population figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Retirement Living Council (RLC) has called for a renewed focus on seniors’ housing.

Australia’s three tiers of government need to address and solve the challenges associated with housing this demographic cohort now, RLC executive director Daniel Gannon says.

“With an annual growth rate of 6.73 percent, the 75–79-year-old age group significantly outpaces all other demographics with an overall growth rate of 2.48 percent,” he says.

“Over the next two decades, the number of Australians over 75 will increase from two million to 3.4 million people, which will have socio-economic impacts on the nation. We also know that 710,000 Australians are set to retire within the next five years, which will have an impact on housing markets, hospitals, workforces and economies.”

Injecting more age-friendly housing supply into the market has its benefits, Gannon adds. Retirement villages across the country save the Commonwealth government $945 million every year as Australia’s population continues to rapidly age.

“They achieve this through better designed homes that minimise trips and falls, which means residents can experience fewer visits to the GP, shorter hospital stays and delayed entry to aged care. All of this reduced interaction with doctors and hospitals releases capacity back into health systems for those who need it most, when they need it most,” he says.