While everyone’s disrupted by the changes the virus has wrought, older Australians are not the most challenged, according to the first report of a multi-stage survey by the Global Centre for Modern Ageing (GCMA).

The Adelaide-based GCMA is a not-for-profit which aims to improve lives of older people. It offers research, advocacy and ‘living lab’ services to help develop products and services that meet the needs and challenges of our ageing demographic.

Its survey of 1,360 mainly 60-years-plus Australians found that at least half of older Australians have already experienced positive outcomes from changes around the pandemic so far – including recent increased family time and reduced impact on the environment. The researcher’s results show about 1 in 5 older Australians believe more social cohesion and wellbeing are likely to be silver-lining results from the pandemic.

The survey shows older Australians are reflecting on their values and they hope others are too.

“Interestingly, introspection was commonly cited as a positive,” says Julianne Parkinson, CEO of the GCMA. “Older Australians reported an increased appreciation for what we have and more people have been evaluating what is important.”

The survey found that:

  • 51% have experienced positive changes since the virus hit
  • 80% surveyed were able to provide examples of support they had received from others.
  • 21% used a new technology for the first time.
  • 29% increased their social media use to stay connected.
  • 19% believe better social cohesion and wellbeing are outcomes of the pandemic
  • 19% also wanted better delivery of products and online services.

Respondents to the online survey were mainly retired (46%) retired or employed (38%)  and were 56% from women and 44% from men. Answers were mainly from 60-plus years through to 85-plus, one quarter were 40-59 year olds and 16% were 40 years or younger. It’s the first part of a multi-faceted project that aims to understand people’s experiences as the pandemic unfolds to gauge how people are adapting to its changes.

You can read more or download the full report here.  

And you can register to take part in the next stage of the survey – open open Monday 13 July to Sunday 26 July – at the same page.