Jul 10, 2019

Nearly half of older Australian do not feel heard or understood

New data reveals almost half of survey respondents aged 65+ years do not feel heard or understood.

New research released today by the nation’s peak body for spiritual care and ageing, Meaningful Ageing Australia, shows almost half of Australian survey respondents (41.8 percent) aged over 65 years do not feel their identity is truly heard or understood by their loved ones.

The new national online study, comprising 1000 Australians aged over 65 years, indicated 55.6 percent of respondents would feel more content if asked more frequently about their lives and identity, highlighting the importance of seeing older people for the whole person they truly are.

Commissioned as part of Meaningful Ageing Australia’s recently launched initiative See Me. Know Me., the new data supports the campaign’s objective for older people to have their stories, beliefs, and experiences heard by their closest connections and aged care providers.

Survey data further revealed the following as top ranked concerns when considering ageing (listed in order):

  • The lack of Government and/or aged care support;
  • Not being able to do the things they love;
  • Loss of freedom;
  • Becoming a burden on family members, and;
  • Feeling less connected to those that matter.

When considering their greatest sources of hope, being with people that care was the most prominently ranked by respondents (62.4 percent), followed by children (61.6 percent), grandchildren (59.5 percent), and interacting with elements of nature such as gardening, watching the sunset or walking outside (48.8 percent).

See Me. Know Me. encourages seniors to select aged care providers and be surrounding by loved ones who see beyond their grey hair and lines, and understands them as a whole person as much as their clinical needs; an Australian-first for driving change by empowering seniors.

CEO of Meaningful Ageing Australia Ilsa Hampton, stresses the necessity for Australians to begin seeing their older loved ones for who they truly are, to empower them to feel heard when choosing aged care providers.

“Seek to know the older people in your life, with all their stories, feelings, beliefs and sense of purpose.  Not only their past experiences, but their hopes, dreams and loves that connect them to life today”, she said.

“Those that are in touch with their spirituality or identity and feel truly understood have an increased quality of life. It leads to decreased loneliness, better mental health and resilience”.

With new resources available for seniors including a top 10 list of questions for aged care providers and conversation starters to be asked by loved ones, See Me. Know Me.enables older people to be more empowered than ever to begin sharing their stories and be recognised as whole people; what gives them joy, their important spiritual or faith-based beliefs, and formative life events.


  • Over three quarters of survey respondents (79 percent) are not looking forward to the ageing process.
  • Over two thirds (63 percent) of respondents fear ageing to some degree.
  • More than half of survey respondents (57.4 percent) are looking forward to ageing because they believe they will have more time to do what they love, followed by being able to spend more time with family (52.3 percent) and friends (40.9 percent).
  • 100% of survey respondents ranked the lack of Government and/or aged care support as one of the top concerns on ageing.
  • Just under half of survey respondents ranked trying to find good aged care services as a top concern when considering ageing.
  • When considering concerns about ageing, the top ranked concerns for survey respondents where not being able to do the things they love, being a burden on family, and loss of freedom.
  • Almost half of respondents (41.8 percent) do not feel their identity is truly heard or understood by those to whom they are closest.
  • ‘Not knowing the best questions to ask’ ranked the top concern for survey respondents upon considering aged care services, followed by ‘not feeling truly heard’ and ‘a loss of identity’
  • Most survey respondents indicated their greatest sources of hope as ‘being with people that care’ (62.4 percent), followed by ‘children’ (61.6 percent), ‘grandchildren’ (59.5 percent), interacting with elements of ‘nature’ (48.8 percent), ‘feeling like they can make a contribution’ (39.7 percent), and ‘reflecting on all they have done’ (38.1 percent)
  • Over half (56 percent) of those surveyed believe they would feel more content, and believe their spiritual needs would be more understood, if their closest connections or support services asked more about their experiences, feelings, beliefs and stories.

For more information on Meaningful Ageing Australia’s initiative See Me. Know Me including resources for older people, please visit https://seemeknowme.org.au

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Remarkable Discovery: It Is Never Too Late To Face Your Fears

True confessions: I am an acrophobic. That is to say, I have an extremely well entrenched fear of heights. Ever since my much younger days, whenever other people went on Luna Park rides that took them somewhere beyond ground level, I waited on the ground. More recently, when grandchildren have tried to urge me to... Read More

Ladies in Black: The Good Old Days Still Have Nostalgic Appeal, But Would You Like To Go Back There To Live?

It was J P Hartley who wrote that “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” The thing is, though, what if – once upon a time – a whole generation of women that includes you had lived there? Compared with what we now have, would you want to go back? At... Read More

Sexual assaults in nursing homes up 40%

When we put a loved one into aged care, we trust that those charged with their care will fulfill their responsibility to look after the person, and at the very least will keep them safe. But tragically, this is often not happening. In recent times, in the wake of Oakden, media reports, particularly those from the... Read More