AUSTRALIAN women are living longer. By 2030, females born in Australia will have a projected life expectancy of 87.5, up from 84.5 in 2014.
At the same time, older women are at increased risk of homelessness, poverty and other factors affecting their physical, mental and social wellbeing, and this is particularly true for older women living alone.
To help understand why and create service options that create better health and well-being for older women, the RDNS Institute has launched the Older Women Living Alone research project, funded by a $250,000 grant from the Melbourne Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation.
The two-year project, which started in January, will include analysis of 10 years of clinical data from more than 50,000 older women living alone in Melbourne as well as interviews and forums with about 50 women aged 55 or older who live alone.
The interviews will identify barriers to service access and gaps in service provision, and the forums will bring women together with service providers to create services and strategies that address their high priority support needs.
"We know older women living alone are generally at higher risk of late life issues including elder abuse, and they don't usually access services in the same way as couples or older men living alone," project co-ordinator Dr Marissa Dickins said.
"We will be looking at why that is - what are the barriers to accessing services that older women are coming up against, and are there strategies that can be put in place to increase their access?
"We'll then co-create some services and strategies with older women and service providers and evaluate the impact they might have in reducing burdens on the health system."
More details at: www.rdns.com.au.
RSL Care + RDNS
RSL Care + RDNS is a not-for-profit provider supporting the health, wellbeing and independence of more than 100,000 community care clients, more than 2,200 residential aged care residents and more than 2,200 retirement village residents in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
RSL Care + RDNS is a leader in health and wellness innovation and translational research through its RDNS Institute.
The RDNS Institute informs the work of RSL Care RDNS Limited by conducting high quality translational clinical, health services, and aged care research to inform credible innovation and improve quality in service delivery in the business, as well as influencing health practice and policy in the broader context.