Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 2.4% of the Australian population. However, they experience a far greater burden of disease and disability than other Australians. This is amplified in remote communities. In all age groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are less likely to live as long as other Australians. 
Due to the lower life expectancy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may be eligible for RAC services from the age of 50 years. In June 2010 there were 1,071 permanent aged care residents who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or 0.7% of aged care residents. 
Flexible care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Many more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people access aged care through flexible care services which are better able to meet the needs of people with diverse beliefs and values. This may be care at home or care in an Elders Village. Flexible care services operate outside of the regulatory system that governs RAC.
Flexible Care services are often community based and operate within culturally specific parameters; they may be in urban areas or very remote communities. The development and function of an Aged Care service at Yuendumu has allowed the old people to remain in country, and has empowered the community to provide the care they need. 
A recent review of the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents in RAC outlines the challenges for mainstream services in providing culturally appropriate and quality care.  The complexities of providing palliative care to people with traditional beliefs and values have been described. 
Dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Dementia is emerging as a major health problem for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is thought that the incidence of dementia may be 4 or 5 times as high as in the general population. 
The Western Australia Centre for Healthy Ageing has produced a toolkit for assessing cognition in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Originally developed in the Kimberly region, the 'kica tool' is available on the Western Australia Centre for Health and Ageing (WACHA) website.