A new report has revealed some eye-opening figures about the 7.9 million over-50s in Australia, with an overwhelming majority saying they feel younger than they are, while almost half (46 per cent) confessed to feeling undervalued by society.
The State of the (Older) Nation 2018 Report was launched by the Council on the Ageing (COTA) in Canberra on Wednesday and provided an in-depth look at the attitudes of older Aussies.
While many respondents reported having a good quality of life, the report found that nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians aged 50 and over – rising to 56% of over-65s – live with at least one high vulnerability indicator such as unemployment, low household income or living with a disability.
The statistics also showed that 12 per cent admitted they were struggling to cover their bills, while just one in five (19%) said they felt valued as a voter.
Following publication of the report on Wednesday, COTA called on the government to do more to protect vulnerable Australians.
“It tells us most older Australians believe they have a good quality of life,” CEO Ian Yates said. “However, we’re very concerned about the number of older Australians who are telling us they’re not coping with the rising cost of living – many of whom are renting and facing challenges to pay bills.
“There are also too many older Australians feeling ignored, left behind or discriminated against in society and this report shows action is needed urgently, particularly to address the needs of vulnerable older Australians.”
When it comes to the workplace the report revealed that older Aussies have a bleak outlook towards retirement with almost one third (29 per cent) of those still in work saying they don’t expect to ever fully retire. While more than a quarter (28 per cent) of those in paid employment admitted to wanting more paid work, however one in five said they had experienced ageism in the workplace.
However it wasn’t all doom and gloom as the report also highlighted the fact that 80 per cent of older Australians actually feel younger than their current age and 78 per cent rated their quality of life as “high”.
Another issue raised by the report is the overwhelming support among those over-50 for legalising Voluntary Assisted Dying, with a staggering 84% pledging their support for the passage of legislation on the matter.
The research was commissioned by the Federation of nine Councils on the Ageing (COTA) and conduced by Newgate Research who carried out a nationally representative online survey of more than 2,500 Australians aged 50 and over.
The survey was conducted between 20th August and 14th September 2018 and took 25 minutes to complete.
Yates added: “This inaugural State of the (older) Report quantifies the key issues for older Australians in relation to employment, age discrimination, cost of living, financial security, health, home and aged care, housing, later life planning, consumer rights and transport.”