Australians reveal their attitudes towards ageing

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Many older Australians who feel underappreciated and like a burden on society may be misguided, as a new survey reveals Australians actually have a positive attitude towards people aged over 70.

More than nine in 10 also feel that older Australians are valuable to society and almost all respondents rejected negative attitudes towards older people, saying that society has an obligation to care for and look them.

A survey of 10,000 Australian adults conducted by Roy Morgan on behalf of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety asked Australians about attitudes towards ageing and aged care, including what they would want should they eventually need aged care themselves.

Almost half of the respondents said the federal government should provide support services for older people to continue living independently in their own homes and pay for any higher-level care services when needed.

Overall, the perception of residential aged care was negative.

Of the 84 per cent of those who have visited a residential aged care facility during their life, most said the residents looked lonely, do not have control over their lives and are not happy.

The upside was that they at least had access to medical care and are housed comfortably.

Half of the respondents weren’t sure if residents received sufficient help with daily activities. The same number was unsure as to whether residents were respected, and whether there were enough activities to keep them occupied and engaged.  

Interestingly, those who had visited an aged care facility at least once had a slightly more positive perception than those who’d never visited.

In fact, knowledge of the aged care system on the whole was poor, with fewer than one in 10 aware of My Aged Care and most thinking the government’s contribution towards aged care sits at around 60 per cent or less, when it is actually around 78 per cent.

Eight in 10 Australians would prefer to age in place rather than at a facility. If they did need support or care, just over one in 10 said they would downsize from their current house to a smaller dwelling and six per cent would move nearer to family or friends.

Only 25 per cent said they would actually live in a residential aged care facility.

Older Australians who want to live independently would prefer to be looked after by family and friends, preferring higher-level assistance to be provided by aged care service providers.

Respondents also believe the government should provide more funding for in-home care. 

Older Australians living at home had a very positive view of their lives, with more than 90 per cent seeing themselves as healthy and able to take care of themselves, and 85 per cent feeling physically capable of doing the things in life they like to do and having the freedom to spend time doing those things.

Over three-quarters believed they had enough money to live comfortably and almost all said they make lifestyle choices to keep themselves healthy – contrary to what younger Australians anticipate for themselves at the same age.

Older people were more positive when they socialised with other older people. The one in 10 who were more socially isolated were generally more pessimistic about having enough money to live comfortably, and about their physical and mental health.

How do you feel about your life? Do you feel you don’t match the societal stereotypes of older people? Do you even feel that there are stereotypes of older people?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    At 85 I thank God that I can wake up every day to a new day. But I am one of the lucky ones still able to do what I have been doing for 30 years. That is, tap dancing with a group of mature-aged ladies (48-88 years old) and entertain in nursing homes, retirements villages and special big concerts for charities. I am also one of the dressmakers of the sparkling costumes. We had been booked for 6 or 7 nursing homes this year, but you all know what happened. During my 30 years of entertaining in nursing homes I have been able to compare the care and facilities in these places. Because these nursing homes have taken the trouble to provide entertainment for their residents, they are in the medium to good range. Only one place was bad – did not observe OHS and allowed residents to walk across the area where we were dancing. I think they were understaffed at that time.
    We just loved seeing the smiles and heads nodding to our, sometimes, old tunes they recognised and it gave us great pleasure to make them smile.
    Looks like it will be a long time before we can do this again and then I might even be in one of the places myself.

    • 0

      People used to criticise my Father walking his route every day come rain or shine by asking why he did it. His answer never changed: “So that I can!”

      Keep dancing teacher, so that YOU can!

  2. 0

    You only have to look through comments from ‘oldies’ on this forum nearly every day to see that many are their own worst enemies. Many are responsible for any perceived negative attitude among others towards the elderly because of their own negative attitude.

    Take a leaf from Traveller’s book and get out there and DO something.

    • 0

      Problems are twofold
      1. what is “”get out there and DO something””
      2. And that will often involve a lot of expense !!

    • 0

      The ‘something’ is up to you and No it doesn’t have to have an expense attached.

      But you prove my point exactly.

    • 0

      Funny you should mention your perception of “oldies” on here KSS?

      You come across as narrow minded – set in your ways – always whining about “this/that” – rarely have anything “good” to say on here about “anything or anyone”? Very negative in fact! You also dislike anyone who has an “opinion” that differs to yours!

      Hardly “super cool and trendy” ….(like me) haha

    • 0

      FOXY the one thing I am not is negative nor do I make personal comments about others. Unlike some I could mention but won’t. However, if the cap fits……..

  3. 0

    I think a lot of people in that survey thought they needed to give a socially acceptable answer rather then what they really think. I have visited some nursing homes that are ok, but the trouble is that they all get notification about an inspection and so arrange all sorts of activities for the occasion as well as putting on better food and more staff. Then, when certified again, everything returns to the bare minimum they feel obliged to deliver so that profits can be maximised.

  4. 0

    My wife is in an aged care nursing home at present to allow me to have some respite from her 24/7 home care. While her institutional care is not as good as I provide at home I am finding the staff to be responsive to her needs and also to my suggestions for improvements. The food is excellent and my wife is as involved as she can be in organised activities, given the level of her disabilities. Given the sad state of aged care across the country I consider that we are fortunate to have such a well run facility in our regional area. Mind you, always remember that the squeaky door gets oiled first – don’t hesitate to state your requirements and make sure that needs are met!

  5. 0

    Foxy also proves your point ,winging and whineing about everything and a personal attack on you for good measure. Very negative in fact!

  6. 0

    I retired just over 10 years ago, when I retired I decided to volunteer as a community transport driver, I used to drive two different size buses, one was a 9 seater with room at the back for wheelchair access, the other was a 25 seater which was used to take the folks on outings, I mention this to give people an idea of what you can do if you are healthy and able, the satisfaction I got from this activity was was immense, plus I got to go to many places I had never been to before and I made lots of new friends who were all appreciative of the service. I think many people become lonely as they age especially if they have lost their partner, the people I used to pick up in the smaller bus were usually going to medical appointments, but I also used to drop some of them at the local shopping centre and pick them up after a couple of hours, some of the people I picked up were from nursing homes, they had to be physically able to get on the bus themselves, the majority of nursing home pick ups and drop offs where for partners of residents, I noticed that some of the nursing homes had a weekly catered meal for residents and their partners. We all need something to do in our retirement years, this is just one way and is very rewarding, I think it helped with my transition from full time work to being retired, probably helped with my sanity as well.

  7. 0

    I saw the fear in my wife and children’s eyes when I told them about my condition then they start to find solution on their own to help my condition.I am an 68 now who was diagnose COPD emphysema which I know was from my years of smoking. I started smoking in school when smoking was socially acceptable. I remember when smoking was permitted in hospitals. It was not known then how dangerous cigarettes were for us, and it seemed everybody smoked but i was able to get rid of my Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ) condition through the help of total cure herbal foundation my husband bought, has the right herbal formula to help you get rid and repair any lung conditions and cure you totally with their natural organic herbs. I wish anybody who starts smoking at a young age would realize what will eventually happen to their bodies if they continue that vile habit throughout their life,This is a equitable of a way to get of your COPD.

  8. 0

    Don’t expect young to give an honest answer to your face,this goverment has done a lot of work pitting the young against old.persecution of the old is real probably a good couple of years now ,and scumming.has not changed his spots .I wonder how many have died or committed suicide because of goverment policy .I for one might be old but even dementia will not let me forget .

    • 0

      You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT Hairy ! If you really want to know what young people think of “oldies” just engage in Facebook/Twitter !! The senior pages are not visited by these people, but they are all over FB and twitting all day. The want all oldies out of their homes – so that THEY can have the house. We are the cause of all their ills ……. and the suggestions as to what should be done about that, ……….. just may come about in time with more states legalising euthenasia !!

  9. 0


  10. 0

    SKRAPI, your use of capital letters indicate that you are yelling at us. I feel sure that is not your intention?



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