With the prospect of ‘staying in’ at home looming for many older Australians, we asked our community what support they felt they could draw on to stay healthy and safe at home.
The COTA (WA) Stay at Home survey ran over a one week period in March of 2020 and had 333 online responses, with an average age of 73 years.
Overall, we found that the greater a sense of belonging felt by the person, the higher their level of personal wellbeing, as individuals draw on their resources and communities to cope with the realities of social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.
It is clear that having support available, whether it is someone to talk to or confide in, or having those around that can help you out in a crisis is important for wellbeing. In our survey, we also asked whether the individual had someone, who does not live with them, to call on for support in a time of a crisis.
While more people felt that they had support if they were to have an immediate and serious illness or injury, the supports available declined the greater the resources needed.
One in four people did not have anyone to call on for emotional support or advice or even food in an emergency.
Reflecting our continuing focus on both employment and seniors housing, 37.6% were unsure about support for emergency accommodation, while 43.5% did not have someone to help them maintain family or work responsibilities.
Finally, over half (51.2%) of our responses indicated that they could not count on someone else to provide them with money in a time of emergency.
With more older Australians staying in their homes right now than ever before, having people and services around them to support their needs is vital. Alongside our supporters we are campaigning for a range of initiatives including a one-stop shop for positive ageing.