50+ Reports

This study aimed to explore the experiences and perspectives of older adults across New South Wales who seek information about services and support for themselves, their families/friends, and the people they care for.

Over 1800 people aged 50 and over completed an online survey on a range of topics about accessing information and their experiences during hospital admissions. The survey was completed with four focus groups. Individuals from across New South Wales participated in this study.

As expected, this study’s findings highlight that accessing information for older adults is challenging. However, the challenges that older adults face when accessing information about services and supports can be reduced by including additional support to meet their needs.

The main findings from the surveys and focus group include:

  • While older people can access information about services and supports online, it is not their preferred way of accessing information.
  • Participants preferred getting information from staff either through telephone calls or visiting services in person.
  • Telephone support, however, left many participants feeling frustrated. They reported spending many hours waiting on the phone and finding that customer service staff were not able to provide the information they needed.
  • Participants often felt that finding information about services and supports required a lot of information and often needed lengthy discussions with people who knew the ‘system’ to be able to get the information and support they needed.
  • Participants had varied positive and negative experiences whilst in hospital.

Key recommendations from this survey:

  • That accessibility needs be considered when sharing information with older people across the public and private sectors.
  • That intensive advocacy support be provided to older adults to offer the information and support they need to be able to access the information they need.
  • Services across the public and private sectors on how information is presented and shared with older people, including providing staff with training in how to communicate with older people.
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