Report finds lack of respect for older Australians

By Rob O'Brien

Older Australians are not getting the respect they deserve, according to a new intergenerational report launched by the Department of Ageing.

A research paper conducted by Deakin University and commissioned by Victorian aged care provider, Benetas, found older Australians were not being respected by their younger generations. 

The research paper investigated why respect is important and how values about respect are taught and learnt through interviews with a cross-section of the Australian population.

A total of 113 participants were recruited for the study.

It found that Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y cited distance, dual careers and a lack of time as reasons why they didn't stay as connected to older relatives and friends.

Groups featuring members of generations X and Y and the Baby Boomers reported a lack of trust in older Australians, particularly when it came to looking after their families. The same generational groups found older Australians to be fragile.

Participants in the Baby Boomer groups reported perceiving the older generation as having little or no ambition. Generation Y groups viewed older people as a burden on society.

Launching the research paper, entitled Respect in an Ageing Society, Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot said that older Australians contributed a significant amount to society in volunteer work and support.

“Seniors often tell me that they are busier in retirement than they were during their working lives through volunteer activities or providing care and support to family members and friends.

“Older Australians built this nation. They have worked hard, raised families and contributed to their communities – older Australians deserve to be respected.

"It is up to us as individuals and communities, as well as governments, to thank and respect older Australians for their contribution to making Australia what it is today,” Ms Elliot said.

The report recommended increased consumer choice, an increased focus on healthy active ageing and further social inclusion measures to improve respect for older Australians.


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