Young People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC): A Complex Issue with a Growing Need for Action


In Australia, number of young people are residing in aged care facilities. These individuals, often referred to as Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC), face unique challenges and require specialised care and support systems. This article explores the complexities of YPIRAC, highlights the current situation in Australia, and discusses potential solutions to better address their needs.

YPIRAC: defining the issue

YPIRAC are defined as individuals under the age of 65 who reside in aged care facilities due to complex needs arising from disability, acquired brain injury, chronic illness, or mental health conditions. These individuals often lack age-appropriate social interactions, therapeutic activities, and opportunities for personal growth and development within the traditional aged care environment.

Understanding the reasons for YPIRAC

There are several factors that have contributed to the number of younger people living in residential aged care (YPIRAC) in Australia:

  • Limited Disability Housing Options: A shortage of suitable housing options for individuals with disabilities creates challenges for independent living.
  • Inadequate NDIS Support: The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may not provide sufficient support for individuals requiring round-the-clock care or specific therapeutic interventions.
  • Lack of Age-Appropriate Services: Aged care facilities are not designed to meet the specific needs and preferences of younger residents, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • Increased Life Expectancies: Advances in medical technology have led to increased life expectancies, resulting in more individuals living with disabilities into adulthood.

Current situation in Australia: astatistical snapshot

  • Number of YPIRAC: As of June 30, 2022, there were 2,934 YPIRAC residing in aged care facilities across Australia. This represents a 24.7% decrease from the previous year, highlighting ongoing efforts to transition YPIRAC into more suitable settings.
  • Age Distribution: The majority of YPIRAC fall within the 50-64 age range, with a smaller but significant population under 50.
  • Reasons for Admission: The primary reasons for YPIRAC entering aged care include intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, and mental health conditions.

Challenges faced by YPIRAC

YPIRAC experience various challenges within the aged care environment, including:

  • Social Isolation: Limited opportunities for interaction with peers and age-appropriate social activities can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Lack of Stimulation: The lack of stimulating activities and therapeutic interventions can impede personal growth and development.
  • Inadequate Support Services: Aged care facilities may not have the specialised staff or resources to cater to the complex needs of younger people in residential aged care.
  • Stigma and Discrimination: younger people in residential aged care may face stigma and discrimination within aged care settings and broader society.

Responding to the needs of younger people in residential aged care

The Australian government and various stakeholders have acknowledged the need for a comprehensive approach to address the needs of YPIRAC. Some initiatives currently underway include:

  • National YPIRAC Strategy: The development of a national strategy to guide the transition of YPIRAC into age-appropriate accommodation and support services.
  • Increased Funding: Allocation of additional funding to support the development of specialised housing options and community-based services for YPIRAC.
  • Enhanced Support Coordination: Strengthening the role of NDIS Support Coordinators in facilitating the transition and providing ongoing support to YPIRAC in their chosen living arrangements.
  • Improved Aged Care Standards: Reviewing and revising aged care standards to ensure they meet the specific needs and preferences of YPIRAC.

Looking Forward: A Brighter Future for YPIRAC

While challenges remain, there is a growing momentum towards addressing the needs of YPIRAC in Australia. Through continued collaboration between government, service providers, and families, a future where YPIRAC can live fulfilling and independent lives in age-appropriate settings can be achieved.

Thankfully, awareness about YPIRAC is growing, and positive initiatives are shaping a brighter future:

  • National YPIRAC Strategy: A roadmap to transition YPIRAC to age-appropriate accommodation and support services.
  • Increased Funding: Resources are being allocated to develop specialised housing options and community-based services for YPIRAC.
  • NDIS Enhancements: Efforts are underway to improve NDIS support coordination and ensure flexibility for younger individuals requiring specialised care.
  • Improved Aged Care Standards: Reviewing standards to ensure they cater to the diverse needs of YPIRAC within aged care settings.

Nextt: Building Bridges for YPIRAC to Thrive

At Nextt, we understand that one size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to YPIRAC. We actively work to support their journey towards a fulfilling life, focusing on:

  • Individualised Support Plans: We tailor our services to each YPIRAC’s specific needs and aspirations, whether it’s finding suitable housing, securing NDIS funding, or providing ongoing support services.
  • Promoting Independent Living: We empower younger people in residential aged care to live as independently as possible by offering skills development, employment support, and community access programs.
  • Fostering Social Connections: We organise age-appropriate activities, social events, and peer support groups to combat loneliness and build a sense of belonging.

At Nextt, we believe that every individual, regardless of age or circumstance, deserves the opportunity to thrive. We are committed to being a bridge for younger people in residential aged care, connecting them to age-appropriate environments, meaningful connections, and a future filled with possibilities.