Research round-up

Hidden costs of caring for seniors; survey finds most Baby Boomers are happy to put off retirement; the role of photography in health education.


In this story:
  • Hidden costs of caring for seniors
  • Most Baby Boomers happy to put off retirement: survey
  • Study to examine photography as a health education tool
Hidden costs of caring for seniors

Meeting hidden household costs of care in the homeOlder families with members needing help to live at home spend more of their household budget on basic needs, such as housing, food and health, at the expense of recreational activities, according to a new report commissioned by National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre.

Researchers from the University of Canberra examined data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to determine how household spending was impacted by the presence of a person who needs care because of a disability.

The report showed that in 2011, more than 560,000 seniors with severe or profound disabilities needed assistance with self-care, mobility or communication to live at home.

Approximately 21 per cent of households in the study where the reference person was 50 years or over had at least one family member with a severe or profound disability.

Households with seniors who needed help with basic care spent more than $100 per person per week less than households without seniors needing assistance, the study found.

Older couple households with a family member with severe or profound disability significantly increased the share spent on food and health items and services (defined as necessities) by 1 per cent for each category while their expenditure on recreational activities (defined as luxuries) decreased by 1 per cent.

Older single-parent households where a member needed assistance with core activities spent an additional 2 per cent on health goods and services compared with single-parent households where no family member had a disability, according to the study.

Most Baby Boomers happy to put off retirement: survey

Almost three-quarters of South Australian Baby Boomers do not intend to completely give up work according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

In a survey of almost 900 people aged 50-65, only 26 per cent said they would completely retire, while 74 per cent said they would  either move to part-time employment (42 per cent), reduce their part-time hours (25 per cent); or not retire at all (7 per cent).

The researchers said the survey findings had major implications for the future of the Australian workforce.

“Australia’s culture of early retirement, which has been so pervasive over so many years, is being replaced by a culture of gradual retirement, with continued part-time employment,” said study co-author Dr Helen Feist, Deputy Director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre.

“At a time when there is national debate about the retirement age being lifted to 70 by 2035, studies such as this will help us to better understand what our population is intending to do, and why.”

The survey found that Baby Boomer women, those with lower education levels, and those who save their money regularly are the most likely to retire completely from the workforce. The self-employed were more likely to extend their working life beyond age 65.

The authors also believe that the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 has impacted on people’s intentions to retire.

“We need to ensure that policies are in place so that workplaces remain safe, welcoming, flexible and productive for ageing workers,” said Dr Feist.

Study to examine photography as a health education tool

New research from the University of Western Australia will explore if a picture can help nursing and medical students begin to ‘see’ older people in a different light.

Photographs that portray realistic images of older people will be used to promote classroom discussion around ageing and to challenge unexamined stereotypes or ageist perceptions students may hold towards older people.

UWA researchers Assistant Professor Gabrielle Brand, Professor Christopher Etherton-Beer, Associate Professor Rosemary Saunders and Assistant Professor Helen Dugmore have won a WA Nurses Memorial Centre Charitable Trust grant to carry out the project examining the role of photography in health education.

The photographs will be used to stimulate discussions in small interprofessional groups as part of the Beyond the Teaching Nursing Home: Community Partnership of Learning and Care environment.

Assistant Professor Brand said the grant will lead to new knowledge in developing visual teaching tools to better prepare and enhance the quality of medical and nursing practice and education.

Tags: baby-boomers, caring, national-seniors-productive-ageing-centre, retirement,

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