Baby boomers defy seachange trend

By Angela Dorizas

Baby Boomers planning to remain in the family home during retirement will put pressure on local government to deliver key services, a new report has found.

In a study of baby boomers living in Melbourne’s City of Monash, KPMG demographer Bernard Salt found that almost 70 per cent of the baby boomer generation plan to stay in the family home during retirement.

“This study confirms that not all baby boomers want a seachange,” Mr Salt said.

The study, commissioned by the City of Monash, was one of the first to analyse the baby boomer generation from a local council perspective.

Through examining census data, interviewing stakeholders and conducting workshops, focus groups and surveys, Mr Salt found that baby boomers were unaware of the range of council services available to them.

“A key priority is an awareness campaign to inform boomers of the range of services and facilities available to them in their local community,” he said.

Mr Salt said the ageing population would put greater pressure on governments to deliver crucial services.

“As boomers’ bodies age they will require health support and access to information to assist and prevent chronic disease,” he said.

“As Boomers’ houses age they may need assistance in modifying their homes and gardens.”

More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they were happy with their current housing, but may require council assistance through a ‘good design guide’ to make changes to their homes as they age.

The study indicated there is a demand for “valued” volunteering opportunities and support groups for care-giving grandparents, such as playgroups.

Baby boomer men, in particular, are concerned about the role they will play beyond work. Men in their late 50s may require targeted council programs to assist them in building social networks, Mr Salt said.

Ageing population

Also released today were preliminary figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which found Australia’s median age increased by more than 5 years over the past 20 years.

According to the ABS, the median age increased from 31.8 years in 1989 to 36.9 years 2009.

During the same period, the proportion of people aged 65 years and over increased from 11 per cent to 13.3 per cent of the total population.

In June 2000, Tasmania recorded the highest median age (39.6 years) and the Northern Territory the lowest (31.2 years).


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