Isabella Ross

As 2020 drew to a close, more than half (51.6%) of Australia’s over 50s are looking forward to closing it out and have high hopes for what 2021 holds. Even though there is still uncertainty surrounding the global health crisis, more than two in five (41.5%) are set to just “get on with things”, according to findings in the Seniors and Resilience report.

Interestingly, Australians over 60 are more resigned to move through whatever comes their way than their younger counterparts, under 60 years of age (44.4% vs. 36.7%). At the same time, males are also more likely to be more hopeful and positive for the future compared to females (32.4% vs 25.4%). The Seniors and Resilience report forms part of the Australian Seniors Research Series. In its latest instalment, the study explores how Australia’s over 50s are continuing to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and remain resilient in what has been a tumultuous year. The research also compares results to some of the findings previously gathered in the Connectivity in the Age of COVID-19 report.

Associate Professor Christina Bryant, Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of Melbourne, commented on the discrepancies of those over 50 – their resilience, physical and mental health impacts. “It’s no question the last few months have been testing for all of us. However, the older demographic may have a more positive outlook towards these experiences as they have learned to cope with many significant events over the years. The research points out that under 60s may feel less optimistic about the future and are finding it more challenging to get on with things than those over 60, which could for a number of reasons.”

Additionally, one in five (19.7%) Australians seniors report that social distancing has made their physical health worse, and one-third (33.2%) report it has made their mental health worse. And like those under 60 less optimistic about the future, this demographic reported greater mental health impacts than those over 60 years old (40.8% vs.28.6%). Not surprisingly, Victorian seniors do report higher levels of adverse health impacts from social isolation than other states. What is at the heart of findings is ultimately just how resilient Aussie seniors are – an amazing quality we all should strive for.