Research: Public opinion highlights varied priorities on ageing and care in Australia

Bolton Clarke, Ageing Well Report 2023

The inaugural Bolton Clarke Ageing Well Report 2023 has revealed some interesting insights into Australians’ views on ageing, aged care, and financial preparations for retirement. The report surveyed a wide range of age groups and found notable variations in priorities and concerns.

The report sample size is 2000+ Australians aged 25 – 75+ years and was conducted nationally via survey.

Ageing at Home vs. Residential Care: Differing Priorities

When considering ageing well at home, 27% of respondents ranked independence as their top priority, followed closely by security (16%) and location (12%). This preference was most pronounced among older age groups, with one-third of those aged 75 and above listing independence as their primary concern.

In contrast, when thinking about ageing well in residential aged care, 28% of respondents prioritised care, followed by independence (15%) and a pleasing physical environment (14%). Food and security ranked next on the list at 9% each.

Perceptions of Care Models: Mixed Views

While 34% of respondents agreed that Australia cares well for older people, those aged 55 and above were more likely to disagree, with 48% of respondents aged 55-64 and 58% of those aged 65-74 disagreeing. Surprisingly, almost half (48%) of respondents aged 25-34 believed that Australia provides adequate care for older individuals.

Ideas on Residential Aged Care: Calls for Improvement

Approximately 68% of respondents believed that most residential aged care homes care about their residents, but 42% felt that they needed improvement. Across all age groups, friends and neighbours were seen as least responsible for care.

Responsibility for Caring for Older People: Varied Perspectives

Respondents overwhelmingly believed that older people themselves (41.8%) and families (40%) are most responsible for direct care. Only 15% ranked paid health workers as primarily responsible, with friends and neighbours at 3%.

Social Isolation as a Top Priority: Unanimous Concern

Addressing social isolation and loneliness emerged as the top mental health priority for Australians across all age groups and regions, with 55% of respondents aged 65-74 and 58% aged 75+ ranking it first. Respondents from the ACT (56%) and Western Australia (54%) were most likely to highlight loneliness as the top concern.

Financial Considerations: Sources of Retirement Income

Superannuation and the Age Pension were identified as the top two sources of retirement income. Overall, 47% of respondents ranked superannuation first, while 28% preferred the Age Pension. Selling the family home (3%) and family support (1%) were considered the least significant funding sources.

Aged Care Funding: Concerns Persist

More than half of all respondents (56%) did not believe that the aged care sector in Australia is adequately funded. Across age groups, respondents were more likely to disagree with the adequacy of aged care funding, with those aged 25-34 divided on the issue.

The full report can be accessed here.


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