Australia’s aged care industry is undergoing rapid transformation. Deregulation, greater competition and a shift in Government focus and funding in the home care sector has put greater power in the hands of Australian seniors to choose how and where they age.

The transition to consumer-directed care in the home care sector has not been without hiccups. A new white paper published by CoreData, Australian Aged Care: An Industry in Fluxhas found that more than 100,000 Australians remain in a queue for much-needed funding or using packages that do not give them the level of care they need, causing friction in the customer experience and placing aged care providers under growing pressure.

Brands are being forced to market their services directly to the end customer for the first time, and differentiation is critical as providers fight for market share. There has never been a more important time to understand the customer.

The white paper has found that at the same time, profits in residential care are being squeezed due to slowing public funding and rising staff costs. While finding and retaining qualified staff is critical to a seamless customer experience, more than half of Australia’s residential facilities are reporting skill shortages.

It seems likely that we’ll see growth in luxury aged care offerings, with the number of providers seeking to price above the cap on Refundable Accommodation Deposits continuing to grow. Strong wealth growth in Australian seniors aged 65-74 is driving this trend, along with rising property prices in some states and evolving customer preferences.

Looking ahead, aged care providers are likely going to have to rely more heavily on the customer hip pocket to fund aged care services, putting the onus on providers to demonstrate relevance and customer centricity – or risk being left behind.

Download a copy of the white paper, Australian aged care: an industry in flux.