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Older Australians don’t feel heard

New research has found that Australians aged 65 and above do not feel like they are heard or seen by healthcare providers and loved ones.

The research by Meaningful Aging Australia, a body for spiritual care and ageing, found that 41.8 per cent of Australians aged over 65 do not feel their identity is truly heard or understood by their loved ones.

It may come as no surprise but 79 per cent of respondents were not looking forward to the ageing process and 63 per cent feared ageing to some degree.

The survey found that 55.6 per cent of respondents would feel more content if asked more frequently about their lives and identity.

The survey is part of a new initiative by Meaningful Ageing – “See Me. Know Me.” – with the data supporting the campaign’s objective to have older people’s stories and beliefs heard more by their closest connections.

The top concern listed by older Australians was the lack of government and/or aged care support and not being able to do things they love.

Loss of freedom, becoming a burden and less connectivity were also listed as concerns by the older generation.

The See Me. Know Me. initiative encourages seniors to select aged care providers that see beyond the tell-tale signs of old age and understand them as a whole person.

Simple things like being taken care of by people who care and having access to their family and interacting with nature were considered the greatest sources of hope by the respondents.

From the responses, Meaningful Ageing Australia has now produced new resources for seniors, including a top 10 list of questions for aged care providers and conversations to talk with loved ones.

It is hoped these resources will empower older Australians to share their stories and be recognised as whole people.

The chief executive of Meaning Ageing Australia, Ilsa Hampton, stressed that older Australians needed to feel empowered and wanted to feel like they were seen by others.

“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.

“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.”

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain