The Older Australians, Community and Quality of Life report, which canvassed the opinion of several thousand Australians aged over 50, found most older Australians believed community participation enhanced physical and mental activity, emotional wellbeing, and brought with it a sense of purpose and belonging.
FindingsWhen asked if their community provides a good quality of life for older people, over half (54 percent) of respondents agreed.
The report’s findings also showed that people in this age cohort felt their communities provided benefits like a diverse range of regular activities and opportunities, a culture of mutual support and respect, and convenient amenities to support wellbeing and socialising.
Despite this, nearly 1,500 respondents made suggestions for where improvements could be made.
Some of those unhappy with the quality of life in their community wrote about national-level issues such as aged care, healthcare, pension poverty and housing affordability.
In addition to requesting greater consultation of older residents in local government decisions, they also sought less crime, less poorly planned development and less ageism.
They are also concerned that they are being shut out from communication or “ghosted”.
What's Council's Responsibility?One 73-year-old respondent urged their local council to lift their game, noting staff needed to “stop ghosting older persons like their ideas are stupid and don’t fit with current society ideals”.
On the subject of development and population, the wish list of this group reflected desires similar to those often expressed by all Australians including putting residents’ needs before tourists and developers, limiting high-density property development and more mixed housing.
While one respondent noted their council concentrated too much on income derived from tourists and schoolies meaning “old folk did not count”, another noted that overcrowding was putting a strain on local resources.
“Reducing the traffic congestion and keeping the development of new housing estates to a minimum. There are too many people in our area and the roads, hospital and other facilities are starting to suffer as a result.”
When it came to the issue of aged care, the survey showed that most older Australians sought easier access to home and garden help and wanted their local councils to provide shorter waiting lists for care.