Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. See also Indigenous Australians.

Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI): The ACFI is a resource allocation instrument. It focuses on the main areas that discriminate care needs among residents. The ACFI assesses core care needs as a basis for allocating funding.

Alzheimer disease: Alzheimer disease is the most common type of dementia, it is characterised by short-term memory loss, apathy and depression in the early stages. Onset is gradual and decline is progressive. This form is most common among older people with dementia, particularly among women.

Body Mass Index (BMI): The most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese (see obesity). It is calculated by dividing the person's weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared; that is, kg ÷ m2. For both men and women, underweight is a BMI below 18.5, acceptable weight is from 18.5 to less than 25, overweight is from 25 to less than 30, and obese is 30 and over. Sometimes overweight and obese is combined, and is defined as a BMI of 25 and over.

burden of disease: Burden of disease is a modelling technique that combines multiple data sources to count and compare the total fatal and non‑fatal health loss from diseases and injuries in a population. Burden of disease quantifies the gap between a population's actual health and an ideal level of health in the given year. This gap is measured using the disability-adjusted-life-year or DALY. The more DALY associated with a disease or injury, the greater the burden. More than merely counting deaths and disease prevalence, the DALY takes into account age at death and severity of disease to count the years of healthy life lost from death and illness. It also attributes this burden to various risk factors.

cancer: Cancer refers to a diverse group of diseases in which some of the body’s cells can become defective, begin to multiply out of control, can invade and damage tissues around them and spread to other parts of the body, causing further damage.

cardiovascular disease: The term cardiovascular disease (CVD) is used to describe many different conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. The most common and serious types of CVD in Australia are coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and heart failure.

cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is a leading cause of vision impairment.

cerebrovascular disease: Cerebrovascual disease is any disorder that relates to the blood vessels that supply the brain and covering membranes. Most cases of cerebrovascular disease are due to stroke. Stroke occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the brain is blocked or bleeds and which can cause parts of the brain to die, resulting in impaired functioning or ability across a range of activities.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Serious, progressive and disabling long-term lung disease where damage to the lungs, usually because of both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, obstructs oxygen intake and causes increasing shortness of breath. By far the greatest cause is cigarette smoking.

chronic kidney disease: Refers to all conditions of the kidney, lasting at least 3 months, where a person has had evidence of kidney damage and/or reduced kidney function, regardless of the specific cause.

community aged care: For the purposes of this report, community aged care refers to those services provided under the Home Car Packages program and the Commonwealth Home Support Program (and the preceeding programs).

coronary heart disease: Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease (also known as ischaemic heart disease). It presents in two major clinical forms: acute myocardial infarction (commonly referred to as heart attack) and angina. Acute myocardial infarction is a serious and sudden life-threatening event that occurs when a blood vessel (or vessels) supplying the heart is suddenly blocked completely and risks damaging the heart and its functions. Angina is a temporary condition that occurs when the heart is unable to meet the body’s need for blood; for example, during increased exercise.

dementia: Dementia is a term that describes a syndrome associated with over 100 different diseases; it is not a single specific disease. It is characterised primarily by impairment of brain function across several possible domains, including language, memory, perception, personality and cognitive skills. The type and pattern of its development, and the severity of symptoms, can differ from individual to individual and according to the specific type of dementia; however, it is typically marked by gradual onset, which progresses over time and is irreversible.

dementia with Lewy bodies: Dementia with Lewy bodies accounts for up to 5% of cases and is associated with the development of abnormal cells, called Lewy bodies, in the brain. Characteristic symptoms include marked fluctuation in cognitive ability and visual hallucinations, as well as symptoms similar to Parkinson disease (for example, tremor and rigidity). Progression tends to be more rapid than Alzheimer disease.

diabetes: A chronic condition in which the body cannot properly use its main energy source, the sugar glucose. This is due to a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin, a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and helps glucose enter the body's cells from the bloodstream and then be processed by them. Diabetes is marked by an abnormal build-up of glucose in the blood, and it can have serious short- and long-term effects.

disability: Described by WHO as a concept of several dimensions relating to an impairment in body structure or function, a limitation in activities (such as mobility and communication), a restriction in participation (involvement in life situations, such as work, social interaction and education), and the affected person's physical and social environment. Described by the Oxford concise colour medical dictionary (1998) as 'a loss or restriction of functional ability or activity as a result of impairment of the body or mind'.

emphysema: A chronic lung disease where over-expansion or destruction of the lung tissue blocks oxygen intake, leading to shortness of breath and other problems.

frontotemporal dementia: Frontotemporal dementia is thought to account for about 5% to 10% of cases and is relatively more common in males with a younger onset of dementia. Early symptoms include personality and mood changes, disinhibition and language difficulties.

high blood pressure: The definition of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can vary but a well-accepted one is from the World Health Organization: a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, or [the person is] receiving medication for high blood pressure.

homelessness: As defined by the ABS, a person is considered homeless if they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate (is unfit for human habitation and lacks basic facilities such as kitchen and bathroom facilities)
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure, is short and not extendable
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations (including personal or household living space, ability to maintain privacy and exclusive access to kitchen and bathroom facilities).

Indigenous Australians: A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. See also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

influenza: An acute contagious viral respiratory infection marked by fevers, muscle aches, headache, cough and sore throat.

informal carers: An informal carer is a person, such as a family member, friend or neighbour, who provides regular and sustained care and assistance to the person requiring support. Use of the adjective 'informal' does not imply that the care provided is thought to be casual or lacking in structure and process. Rather, it is a means of distinguishing the unpaid care provided by family, friends or neighbours from care provided by formal agencies or institutions, paid for by the receiver (possibly including government subsidies), or provided by (necessarily) trained professionals.

life expectancy: An indication of how long a person can expect to live, depending on the age they have already reached. Technically it is the average number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age if age-specific death rates do not change. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth.

macular degeneration: The degeneration of an area at the centre of the retina that surrounds the fovea and is responsible for best central vision.

obesity: Marked degree of overweight, defined for population studies as a body mass index of 30 or over.

older Australians: In this report older Australians refers to Australians aged 65 and over, unless otherwise specified, where Indigenous data are reported ‘older Australians’ includes Indigenous Australians aged 50 and over.

permanent residential aged care: Permanent care provided to a person in an Australian Government-approved aged care home, including accommodation (bedding and other furnishings, meals, laundry, social activities), personal care (bathing/showering, toileting, dressing, eating, moving about), and nursing and allied health services if required.

pneumonia: Inflammation of the lungs as a response to infection by bacteria or viruses. The air sacs become flooded with fluid, and inflammatory cells and affected areas of the lung become solid. Pneumonia is often quite rapid in onset and marked by a high fever, headache, cough, chest pain and shortness of breath.

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a form of anxiety disorder in which a person has a delayed and prolonged reaction after being in an extremely threatening or catastrophic situation such as a war, natural disaster, terrorist attack, serious accident or witnessing violent deaths.

primary carers: A person who provides the most informal assistance, in terms of help or supervision, to a person with one or more disabilities, or aged 60 and over. The assistance has to be ongoing, or likely to be ongoing, for at least 6 months and be provided for one or more of the core activities (communication, mobility or self-care). Note, this definition applies to the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers and may differ somewhat from other collections' definitions. See also informal carer.

Resident Classification Scale (RCS): The RCS was the previous mechanism for allocating Government subsidies to aged care providers for delivering care to residents. The RCS was replaced by the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) on 20 March 2008.

respiratory disease: Respiratory conditions affect the airways, including the lungs as well as the passages that transfer air from the mouth and nose into the lungs. They can be long lasting (chronic) or short term (acute) and can cause ill health, disability and death.

respite residential aged care: Temporary, short-term care in a residential aged care facility to support both older people and their carers to live at home for as long as possible.

severe or profound core activity limitation: A limitation where a person sometimes (severe) or always (profound) requires personal assistance or supervision with self care, mobility or communication.

stroke: When an artery supplying blood to the brain suddenly becomes blocked or bleeds. Often causes paralysis of parts of the body normally controlled by that area of the brain, or speech problems and other symptoms.

solar keratosis: A skin condition resulting from long-term exposure to the sun.

superannuation: Superannuation is money set aside over a person's lifetime to provide for their retirement. It can be accessed when a person reaches eligible age and/or retires. Access can be through pension payments or a lump sum.

tinnitus: The sensation of ringing or other sounds in the ears when there is no external source of sound.

type 2 diabetes: The most common form of diabetes, occurring mostly in people aged 40 or over, and marked by reduced or less effective insulin.

underemployed: Employed persons aged 15 years and over who want, and are available for, more hours of work than they currently have. They comprise: people employed part-time who want to work more hours and are available to start work with more hours, either in the reference week or in the 4 weeks subsequent to the survey; and persons employed full-time who worked part-time hours in the reference week for economic reasons (such as being stood down or insufficient work being available).

vascular dementia: Vascular dementia is generally considered to be the second most common type of dementia. It is caused by cerebrovascular conditions (for example, stroke). Symptoms in the early stages are similar to Alzheimer disease, but memory loss is not as great and mood fluctuations are more prominent. Physical frailty is also evident. Onset can be sudden. The course of the disease is less predictable than Alzheimer disease, with decline more likely to be stepwise.

volunteering: The provision of unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills.