And with our population ageing the consensus is that something needs to be done, and done quickly.
The answer could be technology, and the nursing homes of the near future could be beyond our wildest dreams.
Move over scrabble, and forget playing cards - sci-fi is moving into our nursing homes.More stories from Today Tonight
Waiting in the wings are robots washing hair to replace human hairdressers; and for more independence in the home, elderly people will soon have robots that remember faces, where you put your glasses and how you like your tea.
Futurist Michael Miselowski is convinced the sorts of inventions seen in Hollywood films like 'Robot and Frank' aren't the stuff of fantasy. He says seniors' mornings will never be the same again when homes come equipped with elite sensors.
"If it sense anything untoward - so if we normally get up at 9am but we're not up yet - it will shake the pillow, rock the bed, draw the curtains to let in light. Then, if you don't get up, it will phone somebody," Miselowski said.
"When you're in the bathroom it will monitor your vital signs, take sugar tests out of your urine, breath test you, and in the mirror it will check your complexion. it's quite incredible (and it'll happen) in the next ten to fifteen years."
According to Michael O'Neil of National Seniors "the technology is exciting - the prospect of robots. But I think what it does do is it really moves right away from the personal part. I think it's a real challenge to dignity, an older person's dignity and their privacy."
There are two schools of thought as we enter the new age of nursing homes - one based on technology and the other on keeping the human touch.
Either way it's a real challenge as in 40 years one in four Australians will need some form of care and will be living, on average, well beyond 100.
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