The Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour, has created the Ageing well in a changing world report as an overview of the feedback obtained from senior Victorians on what it means to age well.
Commissioned on the eve of World Health Organisation decade of healthy ageing, the research aims to inform government policy making, including the newly developed Victorian Government ageing well framework. The framework aims to maximise the wellbeing and quality of life of older Victorians by supporting future policy development and helping to inform government funding priorities.
Based on consultation with almost 5000 participants, the study is one of Australia’s largest pieces of research examining the views of seniors.
The study participants were aged 60 and older and came from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The methodology included in-depth conversations with 231 participants in community consultations and an online survey of 4726 senior Victorians. Regional Victorian consultations were conducted in the cities of Shepparton and Geelong; in metropolitan Melbourne consultations were held in the cities of Manningham in the east and Maribyrnong in the west.
- The report identified the “Eight Attributes of Ageing Well”. These include respect, financial and personal security, health autonomy and mobility.
- 70 per cent of participants experienced some level of satisfaction with their quality of life as they aged, but significant numbers felt isolated, disconnected and disempowered. Factors reducing quality of life included the cost of engaging in activities (43 per cent) and ageism and disrespect (28 per cent).
- More than 40 per cent of seniors said they were lonely, with one in five saying they lacked the “love and friendship” they wanted. Loneliness was consistently reported, regardless of gender, age and location.
- 28 per cent of study participants ranked ageism and disrespect as a factor most diminishing their quality of life – the same result recorded for feeling unsafe in public places.
- Seniors reported “digital discrimination”, with many struggling to access health, support and other services online. Seniors wanted more support to develop technology skills and greater availability of face to face options and other alternatives.
- Being able to get around was a major determinant of quality of life, with 92 per cent of seniors rating personal mobility as critical to health, social wellbeing and independence. Seniors wanted more community transport and initiatives such as dedicated seniors carparking.
The report was launched on Thursday 12 November 2020 via a Webinar with the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, the Hon Luke Donnellan MP. Watch the video on the Commissioner for Senior Victorians Facebook