A survey of more than a thousand Australians has shown that baby boomers are our first generation to rate companionship higher than government assistance.
According to a recent survey by Red Cross, baby boomers not only expect to live longer, but they plan to live in their own homes with a partner well into their eighties, and want regular visits and phone calls.
A third of all people over 55 (31%), rate a regular visitor higher than extra assistance from government, or access to a retirement community.
Young people rate companionship even higher than their parents.
Looking ahead to when they are older, 40% of 30-34 year olds think a regular visitor will be more important to them than extra government assistance, or moving into a retirement community.
The survey also shows friends and family can’t always be relied on to stay in touch.
Nearly half of the survey respondents (44%) admit they do not ring an elderly friend or relative more than once a month; and 22% said they never ring and older friend or relative at all.
Only 5% of people surveyed rang an elderly relative or friend on a daily basis.
According to Red Cross Chief Executive, Robert Tickner ‘There’s growing desire for older people to stay at home.
‘Red Cross provides a free, daily phone call to thousands of elderly people in Australia just to check they’re OK’ says Mr Tickner.
‘Our ability to maintain and grow this phone service will be vital to ensure that the increasing number of older people living alone will not go unnoticed in an emergency.
‘We also have a range of companionship programs using trained volunteers to regularly visit isolated, older people to ensure they stay connected with their local communities and services.
‘All of these programs rely on the generosity of people who donate to Red Cross.
‘We all trust Red Cross to be there during disasters but now, more than ever, we need to be working in local communities every day to help elderly people who are doing it tough on their own.
Red Cross is asking everyone to dig deep before the 30th June to support the everyday work of Red Cross.
To make a tax deductible donation by June 30 call 1800 811 700, visit our mobile enabled web site at redcross.org.au or text ‘Help’ to 0448 DONATE (366283).