5th Dec 2018
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Health top fear for older Australians
Author: Janelle Ward
health concern

More Australians aged over 50 worry about health compared with anything else, yet over half do not do the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise, and one-third do less than an hour a week, according to new research.

And while almost three-quarters of older Australians rate their diets as healthy or very healthy, those who said their diet was very unhealthy were likely to be highly vulnerable, including being unemployed, having a yearly income of less than $30,000, and/or a disability.

The survey of 2562 Australians was commissioned by the Federation of nine Councils on the Ageing (COTA) and gave a generally positive view of the lives of older Australians.

There are 7.9 million Australians aged 50 or over – almost one-third of the population. Nearly 4.3 million are aged 50–64 and over 3.6 million are at least 65.

A high proportion (78 per cent) rated their quality of life as good (seven or more out of 10), and 70 per cent felt positively about what the future held.

Women aged 50-plus were faring better than men when it came to overall happiness, according to the report, while men reported being in a better financial position.

In other key findings:

  • More than half felt that the rising cost of living was leaving them behind, and one in five did not have money for leisure or social activities.
  • Thirty-two per cent mentioned health issues as the thing they were most concerned or worried about, with physical health the key factor influencing quality of life perceptions.
  • Twenty-nine per cent of those still working did not think they would ever retire.
  • Thirty-seven per cent did not have private health insurance.
  • Thirty-two per cent felt younger than their age, with more than half feeling at least 10 years younger than they were, but 46 per cent felt less valued by society than they did when they were younger.

One in three older Australians said they had experienced age discrimination and 22 per cent had experienced employment-related discrimination.

“This indicates that there is a real need for the value of older people in the workforce to be better communicated and more appreciated in the workforce and by employers,” the report concluded. “There is also a need for older people to have clear recourse to assistance in the event of discrimination, especially when seeking employment …”

When asked if they felt their finances would last for the rest of their lives, more than half (53 per cent) gave “quite a high rating of seven or more out of 10”. However, that left a big proportion (47 per cent) that did not feel secure.

Financial insecurity was greatest among those: who are renting (45 per cent), on household incomes of less than $30,000 (43 per cent), had a disability (38 per cent), singles (35 per cent), live in regional areas (30 per cent), are in their 50s (33 per cent) or are female (29 per cent).

Researchers noted that 15 per cent of those surveyed spontaneously asked COTA to lobby for an increase to the Age Pension.

Almost three-quarters felt that improving the affordability of services such as energy, internet or phone contracts could make a great deal of difference.

The study found that the expected age of retirement increased as household income level decreased. Those earning less than $30,000 expected to retire at 70, while those earning $100,000 or more expected to retire at 65.

Unpaid work was a common theme. More than half (56 per cent) did, on average, 10.5 hours per week.

Is health your number one concern? Have you experienced ageism in the community or at work?

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    COMMENTS

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    invisible sock
    5th Dec 2018
    11:23am
    My biggest concern at the moment, is the Liberal Party's interpretation of what the word "democracy" actually means.
    They are claiming, that someone who blatantly lied their way into office was democratically elected.
    Apparently, they don't think that the pre-election campaign phase, of the process, should be taken into account when assessing the legitimacy of "democratic credentials".
    Old Geezer
    5th Dec 2018
    5:20pm
    Neither party is anywhere near a democracy at all. They decide who will be elected before we even get a say.
    invisible sock
    5th Dec 2018
    6:09pm
    Yes, I think we know already whose turn it is next year.
    Old Geezer
    5th Dec 2018
    6:53pm
    Ha ha
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    5th Dec 2018
    11:46am
    "More than half felt that the rising cost of living was leaving them behind, and one in five did not have money for leisure or social activities.''

    That's a rather sad indictment of our society. Surely in any decent society, older Australians should be assured reasonable comfort and security in their winter years? Why else would anyone slave for decades to contribute to society?
    Old Geezer
    5th Dec 2018
    5:23pm
    Interesting considering a trip to the local club tells me otherwise. I won some money awhile back to spend at a couple of local clubs so have been enjoying a few meals out of late and most times I go the clubs are packed with people way past retirement age. As I know some of them and the odds are that at least 70% are pensioners.
    Sundays
    6th Dec 2018
    8:29am
    OG, I have to agree with you. However, along with self funded retirees and well heeled part pensioners are the struggling poor. You won’t see them at clubs or elsewhere because they can’t afford such luxuries
    George
    6th Dec 2018
    11:36am
    That's right, OGR, it is a sad indictment of our society.

    However, the key information in the article ".. 7.9 million Australians aged 50 or over – almost one-third of the population. Nearly 4.3 million are aged 50–64 and over 3.6 million are at least 65", shows that if all these pre-retirees and retirees join in, they can vote OUT these donkey Liberal, Labor and Greens parties, insist on a better retirement life for all based on Universal Age Pension without any asset or income tests and vote in potential candidates who support this policy.

    Retirees have foolishly ignored their power till now. It may take more than one election to achieve, therefore Step 1 remains - Vote OUT the existing sitting members from these 3 useless major parties by putting them LAST in preferences, irrespective of who you put as your 1st preference.
    patti
    5th Dec 2018
    1:30pm
    My health has been a big concern this year. I eat well (no rubbish), don't drink or smoke, exercise daily and still I have had emergency surgery and a heart episode this year. I wonder what is the point? but then they told me at the hospital it could have been so much worse if I hadn't been so healthy to start with. Guess it pays off in the end
    Lothario
    5th Dec 2018
    7:59pm
    "Financial insecurity was greatest among those: who are renting (45 per cent), on household incomes of less than $30,000 (43 per cent)"

    Why when the full OAP is worth $40k tax free and thier kids would have flown the coop
    Sundays
    6th Dec 2018
    8:26am
    That would be people on the single OAP who rent and have no savings. The poorest group. Retirees are not a homogenous group.


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