Respect for Older Australians – Report
Thursday, 4th March 2010 at 11:45 am
A joint study by Victorian aged care provider Benetas and Deakin University reveals a lack of respect for older Australians by time poor younger generations.
The report was launched by the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot.
The research paper, Respect in an Ageing Society, investigated why respect is important and how values about respect are taught and learnt. It also provided an examination of intergenerational differences in expressions of respect for older Australians.
The report 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.
The study also suggests that respect for older people has changed over time, with respect moving from submissive forms (e.g. serving older people, obeying orders) to shared or mutual ones (e.g. listening, spending time with older people).
The analysis found that there is a belief that expressions of respect that are valued by older people are different to those valued by younger people, particularly with regard to physical and emotional care. Respect for religion, ethnicity, sexuality, living options and disability were also important themes identified in the study. Respect was perceived to improve quality of life, and increase feelings of self worth and social inclusion among older people.
The report recommends increased consumer choice, an increased focus on healthy active ageing and further social inclusion measures to improve respect for older Australians.
The researchers at Deakin University conducted focus groups and interviews to examine views on respect for older people. The cross-section of the Australian population surveyed included those in residential care, older people living at home, volunteers, ‘baby boomers’, generation X and generation Y.