Collating the survey results of 2,562 Australians aged 50 and over, the report gives an insight into the views, experiences and needs of our growing older population.
A key statistic from the report was that 80 percent of those surveyed felt younger than their age – with more than half feeling at least 10 years younger. In fact, the survey showed that the older you get the younger you feel with the over 80s feeling 13 years younger, while the 50-59 year olds felt 9 years younger on average.
While 74 percent felt they had a lot to offer society gained through their life experiences, nearly half (46 percent) felt less valued by society than when they were younger.
When asked what they were most concerned or worried about at this point in their life, more than one-third (32 percent) mentioned health issues, closely followed by finance and the cost of living (27 percent).
Health was also a major factor in quality of life ratings – with good health or whether a person has any health problems having a direct impact on whether a respondent felt their quality of life was high or poor.
Despite this, more than half of those surveyed don’t do the Government-recommended amount of weekly exercise (30 minutes per day for those aged over 65) and more than one-third (36 percent) do less than one hour of exercise per week.
Responses around financial security and the cost of living was a mixed bag. While more than half feel secure about their finances, a similar percentage felt that the rising cost of living was leaving them behind. Twelve percent are struggling with overdue bills and 1 in 5 do not have money for leisure or social activities.
The study found that the expected age of retirement increases as household income level decreases. Those earning less than $30,000 expect to retire at 70, while those earning $100,000 or more expect to retire at 65.
Twenty-nine percent of working older Australians do not expect to ever retire, and this was more likely among those who rated their financial situation poorly.
One in three older Australians have experienced age discrimination of some kind and more than a fifth (22 percent) have experienced employment-related discrimination.
Delving into the statistics further, the report highlighted that more than one in two Australians aged over 50 are vulnerable, leading to a lower quality of life.
Factors that could indicate vulnerability include:
Those that fall into the vulnerable category, are also more likely to:
COTA Australia CEO, Ian Yates said the results of the survey will be used to compile a long-term national strategy to address the needs of older Australians and advocate for a whole-of-government Ageing Strategy.
“COTA Australia is calling on all sides of politics to commit to a long-term national strategy to address the needs of older Australians – including increasing rent assistance by 40%; taking a whole-of-government approach to services for older Australians, and improving access to oral and dental health services for older Australians,” Mr Yates said.