The meaning of "active ageing" to older Australians: Exploring the relative importance of health, participation and security

Buys, Laurie & Miller, Evonne (2006) The meaning of "active ageing" to older Australians: Exploring the relative importance of health, participation and security. In 39th Australian Association of Gerontology Conference, 39th Australian Association of Gerontology Conference, Sydney.

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Background The concept of active and healthy ageing has been adopted in Australia as a guiding principle for enhancing the ageing experience for the quarter of Australians who will be aged 65 years and over by 2051. Yet, little is known about how older people themselves define "active ageing". Thus, this paper investigates what the essence of active ageing, being "actively engaged in life", means to older Australians. Method The 2,645 participants, aged 50 years or older, were members of a national senior’s organisation who completed a mail survey investigating the predictors of active ageing. This paper provides an overview of participant’s responses to the open-ended question, "what does being actively engaged in life mean to you?" Results Responses were thematically coded into the three key pillars of the World Health Organisation’s definition of active ageing – health (n=528), participation (n=3280) and security (n=521). Thematic analysis revealed that the majority of older Australians, whilst acknowledging the importance of health and security in enabling active engagement in life, defined active ageing in terms of social participation, interactions and involvement. Conclusions These findings position participation as the key to active ageing, with responses highlighting how issues of physical, mental, social and financial health intertwine to determine the quality of the ageing experience. As the first study to explicitly ask older Australians to define what being actively engaged in life means to them, the findings illustrate both the expectations and experiences of active ageing for older Australians.

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ID Code: 6671
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: active ageing, health, security and participation, older Australians, perceptions, actively engaged in life, attitudes
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Developmental Psychology and Ageing (170102)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Australian Association of Gerontology
Deposited On: 27 Mar 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:25

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