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Survey finds older generation sympathise with issues younger people face

Older Australians care about the younger generations and the current issues they face now and in the future, according to a new National Seniors Australia report released today.

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Older generations feel sad that younger people may not be able to lead as fortunate life as they were able to experience. [Source: Shutterstock]

The peak body for older Australians released the report, Worry about the younger generation - Older Australians' intergenerational solidarity, which surveyed nearly 3,000 seniors, who identified and sympathised with a number of challenges the younger generation are facing.

The challenges younger generations face include unemployment and job security, housing affordability, education, mental health, and climate change.

The report also found that older Australians were worried about the issues their younger counterparts' face which may be caused by their own actions, such as their physical health and wellbeing, their exposure to drugs and alcohol, issues with violence and crime as well as the lack of discipline and respect, the impact of social media and technology, and poor parenting.

Chief Executive Officer of National Seniors, Professor John McCallum, believes that older and younger people are often shown as pitted against each other in "public discourse", even though that generally isn't that case.

"There’s too much commentary from economists and opinion writers that pits older people against younger generations," explains Professor McCallum.

"What’s been missing in the conversation is what each generation thinks about the other. This report goes some way to filling that gap."

"Whilst there were negative views on some younger people’s behaviour, the majority of the comments were positive.

"In fact, far from frowning about younger people, many seniors have empathy and expressed admiration and respect for them."

Survey recipients were asked to provide information about their views or concerns about the younger generation, which found that older people were feeling positive about the direction of the younger generation.

One survey participant said, "My experience with the young indicates the future is in good hands."

Another survey participant said, "Mostly they seem to have the right ideas, even if we oldies don’t appreciate them."

The survey seemed to have an underlying theme of sadness around the belief that younger Australians may not be able to lead as fortunate a life as the older generation has been able to experience over their lifetime.

Some survey respondents highlighted that they didn't like the positioning of "grey nomads against younger groups" and would prefer the desire for intergenerational solidarity to be showcased more.

National Seniors wanted to get the opinions of older people, as most of the commentary around the battle between the two generations doesn't have the actual opinions of those who are referenced.

For instance, older people are portrayed as a burden and younger people should resent them, and young people are considered self-absorbed and materialistic so the older generation should be disappointed in them.

The National Seniors survey has shown that in most cases, older people have positive feelings towards their younger counterparts.

This survey data was recorded in late 2019 and according to National Seniors the sentiments were consistent in the survey conducted during the pandemic in 2020.

To view the full report, visit the National Seniors Australia website.

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