It’s almost that time again – very soon we will launch the 8th National Seniors Social Survey and invite all our members to participate. Before we do though, we wanted to make sure you knew how valuable your contribution to our survey was last year. Here are some of the highlights of the findings and policies that came out of last year’s survey results:
Aged care in the home
You told us some truly heartbreaking stories of waiting for care packages and the trauma and burden inflicted while waiting. We have used this information to advocate for more high-level packages to be made available, and in December 2018 the government announced that 10,000 new high-level home care packages would be brought forward and rolled out by July 2019.
Your stories have also been the basis of our submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, where we have asked for better training of the aged care workforce, particularly for carers of people living with dementia. You can find our report on consumer experiences of aged care at home here and information on our contribution to the Royal Commission here.
13% of respondents had applied to Centrelink for the Age Pension since 2015. Of these, over 40% were dissatisfied with the experience, as documented in our report here. We have used the information you gave us about your experience with Centrelink to advocate for shorter Centrelink phone wait times and faster Age Pension processing.
Over half of respondents told us that they are worried about outliving their savings. We interviewed some respondents in more detail and found that feeling financially comfortable in retirement is relative – to friends and family and other life stages. You can read more in our report here, but know that we’ve taken on board your concerns about financing retirement and are actively advocating for changes to improve the financial situation of older Australians, including to Fix Pension Poverty and reassess retirement income products.
We found out that far from being left behind in the digital divide, many respondents were what one participant described as “beyond good” at using technology. 40% of participants used Facebook at least every day, with this figure jumping to 60% in the 50-59 age bracket. More than half of respondents said they would like more training using digital services, and we are trying to make that happen now through programs such as Be Connected. A report on Senior Surfers is coming soon.
Over 1/3 of respondents said they are providing home care to someone and most said this is unpaid.
We want to know more about this care and make sure that government and policymakers know about it too, so we are asking more about the care you give in our next survey. We want to challenge negative stereotypes of older people not contributing to society and make sure the important work you do is not ignored or forgotten.
Our research reports were all well-reported in the media and read by policy makers – your voices are definitely being heard. But we couldn’t do the work we do without your survey responses so we want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your generous contribution – and of course to encourage you to participate again this year!