Sara Agostinelli
Manager – Advisory, Ansell Strategic


Sara is the Manager – Advisory at Ansell Strategic and is based in Melbourne, specialising in market research. Her expertise spans qualitative and quantitative market analysis, demographic insights and competition assessments within aged care and retirement sectors. Sara has served a range of providers, from non-profits to for-profits and has conducted international research informing new service models. Experienced in transaction projects, she facilitates divestments, acquisitions and development feasibility studies. Her qualifications include a Master of Advanced Commerce and a Bachelor of Communication Studies from the University of Western Australia.


Our population is ageing and the dependency ratio is rising. How can we learn from overseas to capitalise on unprecedented demand and consumer wealth?​

Our Government has worked hard to reform the residential aged care and home care programs. The aim was to more adequately care for the highly wealthy Baby Boomer generation who prefer to age at home and to reduce the reliance on declining taxpayer funding. Informing the reforms has involved extensive international research. Aligning us with our OECD peers, we have started to see enhanced access to ageing at home through home care and changes to funding models that enable greater choice in services.

These shifts have allowed providers to rethink the way services are designed, from the previously widely accepted standalone, 120-bed residential aged care facilities towards models that integrate different accommodation types and services. Pleasingly, we have begun to observe a breakdown of the retirement living and aged care siloes into more fluid, continuum of care models.

While this transition in service models will bring us closer to other OECD nations, it has not come without its challenges. Much of our aged care stock is ageing and designed as sub-scale, hostel-style homes. These homes are achieving poor financial outcomes and are driving home closure trends. At the same time, construction costs remain infeasibly high, many development plans are on hold indefinitely and few operators now have the means to fund capital activity. Encouragingly, these challenges are not unique to Australia. There are many international success stories demonstrating that innovation doesn’t have to be stifled by market conditions.

In this session, we would like to present a series of international case studies of aged care, retirement living and home care providers to showcase new or emerging service models that could be adopted in Australia. The case studies will comprise a mix of service model initiatives (non-capital intensive) alongside new infrastructure developments to offer practical insights on how to maximise margins and potential returns through purposeful designs, efficient staffing models and mixed user-pays services.

The case studies will cover a range of target markets, locations, accommodation built-forms, staffing models, service packages and pricing/fee structures. We will break down the benefits and challenges of their service models and outline how different elements can be used to improve provider performance in Australia. The aim is to offer providers who are currently feeling stuck and unsure of where they exist in the reformed world some hope, a spark of creativity and clear, practical and actionable initiatives to innovate and achieve longevity.