Survey reveals key to ageing well

Financial security, staying active and good relationships are voted the three core components to ageing well.

Financial security, staying active and good relationships are the three core components to ageing well, according to a national survey.

Commissioned by Bolton Clarke and involving 2,000 people aged 25-75-plus, the survey aims to shine a light on people’s perceptions about ageing.

Professor Judy Lowthian

“We decided that we needed to survey Australians of all ages to look at the attitudes towards ageing and the priorities that they perceived to be for ageing well,” Professor Judy Lowthian – head of research at the Bolton Clarke Research Institute – told Australian Ageing Agenda.  

And those priorities differed according to the participants’ age, said Professor Lowthian. “Younger people felt that financial security was more important than the older cohort who wanted to prioritise an active lifestyle.”

Source: Bolton Clarke Ageing Well Report

The findings – contained in the inaugural Ageing Well Report – also show that older people want to preserve their autonomy. “We know that older people feel that independence is really key for them, and they feel that they’re responsible for their own care,” Professor Lowthian told AAA.

Indeed, 27 per cent of respondents ranked independence their highest priority for ageing well at home.

Source: Bolton Clarke Ageing Well Report

When it came to ageing well in residential aged care, the care received became the highest priority – 28 per cent.

On the subject of residential care, 68 per cent of respondents agreed that most aged care homes cared about their residents, while 42 per cent said they needed help to do things better.

Meanwhile, one in five respondents said aged care homes didn’t care well for residents with 12 per cent saying a new model of care was needed to meet future needs. Most respondents over 55 said it’s time for Australia to develop a new model of care.

Source: Bolton Clarke Ageing Well Report

The country’s top health priority was considered to be social isolation with 49 per cent of respondents across every age group ranking it as something to be urgently addressed. “They’re telling us people do recognise that loneliness is an issue and we’ve got to do something about it,” said Professor Lowthian.

Conversely, relationships were thought to be central to ageing well. “Social connections seemed to be one of the big things that people felt was important for living a fairly good life,” said Professor Lowthian. “And we know that if we socially connect people that’s going to help them from a cognitive and mental health perspective because social connection is the be-all and end-all.”

“We’re actually living well longer.”

Bolton Clarke’s report follows the release of the government’s Intergenerational Report 2023, which projected Australia’s ageing population to grow significantly in 40 years’ time.

By 2063, the number of people aged 85-plus will have tripled and those 65 and over will have doubled. “The figures are quite startling,” said Professor Lowthian. “However, I think what the intergenerational report is not saying is that – yes, people are living longer – but we’re actually living well longer.”

Professor Lowthian told AAA the findings of the intergenerational report should serve as a motivator to further promote healthy ageing. “It gives us a real opportunity to focus in on health promotion, education, encouraging positive ageing with social connection, and keeping physically active and connected with your community.”

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Tags: ageing well report, bolton clarke, featured, professor judy lowthian,

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