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New research from Southern Cross University investigates the realities of ageing in place in Australia

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Media and content team
Published
23 February 2022

Many older Australians are determined to remain in their own home for as long as they possibly can – and they want to avoid residential aged care at all costs. In other words, they want to ‘age in place’.

According to Southern Cross University PhD candidate Katie Rose, not only is ageing in place highly desired by older adults, but governments see it as a cost-effective alternative to residential aged care.

“While there is strong support from governments and the popularity of the policy with older adults themselves, there is little research into the attitudes and realities of those ageing in place in Australia,” Katie said.

To address this knowledge gap, Katie is running an anonymous, online survey for Australians aged 55+ to explore their attitudes and experiences about ageing in place.

“We want to identify predictors of positive expectations and experiences and provide a more nuanced picture of the challenges and realities of older adults living in the community across a range of living situations,” she said.

Katie explains that there are factors which affect an individual’s experience of ageing in place, including location, community, and available support. For example, older adults living in rural and remote areas in Australia may experience social isolation or face challenges accessing the support they need to continue living at home.

Those from smaller or more vulnerable populations may also have different experiences, attitudes and needs when ageing in place.

“This is especially true for Indigenous, gender and sexuality diverse, and culturally and linguistically diverse older adults who are even more likely to want to avoid residential aged care. This can be due to a mistrust of government or religious groups because of past experiences, fear of discrimination, or a belief they will receive suboptimal care. Unfortunately, these populations are often overlooked in research on ageing in place,” Katie said.  

The results of her research will help to ensure policies and initiatives to support ageing in place are better informed and better targeted.

“Without an informed understanding of people’s attitudes and experiences of ageing in place we will continue to have ‘a one size fits all’ approach in terms of policy and practice. What we need are support services which are tailored to a diverse population and geography,” she said.

“This research is a step in the right direction to ensure that people are ageing well in place and not just staying there because there isn’t a better option.”   

Assessing Expectations and Experiences of Ageing in Place’ is an anonymous online survey consisting of questions about experiences and expectations of ageing in place and different factors that may influence these.

You can participate in the survey and distribute the link to others who are eligible to participate: https://scuau.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8kM91JaLRKNPuxE. The survey will remain open until mid-March, 2022.


Katie Rose is a PhD candidate and Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours graduate from Southern Cross Univeristy 


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