4409.3 - Ageing Well, Queensland, 2005  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/07/2005   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Family and Community Life >> Social participation

An individual's community is usually considered to be broader than the people with whom they live or their immediate family ties. Communities are commonly thought of as being groups of people living within a particular geographical areas. A community may be an important source of support and care for individuals, and individuals can gain a sense of identity and security from belonging to a community and as such have a positive affect on their wellbeing.

However, while there may be individuals whose family plays a negligible role in their life, the wellbeing of individuals living alone or without family support, can be affected by their lack of family. These people may be more susceptible to loneliness, may be less financially secure, or feel less physically secure in their environment.

FAMILY AND COMMUNICATION CONTACT AND SUPPORT
Of the 2,703,000 people aged 18 years or over in Queensland covered in the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS), most (95%) reported having contact in the previous week (either in person or via telephone, mail or e-mail) with family or friends with whom they did not live.

Most (94%) people also reported that they would be able to ask people outside of their household for small favours, such as looking after pets, collecting mail, watering gardens, minding a child for a brief period, or borrowing equipment. There was little variation across age groups in the proportions of people reporting these forms of support.

Most people (95%) reported that, in a time of crisis, they could get support from outside their household, again with only minor variations across age groups.


      4.4.1 SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT, By age, 2002 - Queensland

      18-24 years
      25-34
      years
      35-44 years
      45-54
      years
      55-64
      years
      65 years
      or over
      Total
      %
      %
      %
      %
      %
      %
      %

      Family and community support
      Had contact with family or friends living outside the household in last week
      96.1
      96.6
      94.6
      92.5
      98.3
      95.0
      95.4
      Could ask for small favours from persons living outside the household
      94.6
      95.1
      96.4
      92.3
      93.4
      93.3
      94.3
      Able to get support in time of crisis from persons living outside the household(a)
      99.2
      94.9
      96.2
      92.6
      92.4
      93.6
      94.8

      Number of persons aged 18 years or over ('000)
      363
      537
      551
      502
      359
      390
      2,703

      (a) Support could be in the form of emotional, physical or financial help.

      Source: ABS data available on request, General Social Survey, 2002, (cat. no. 4159.0).


A key determinant of human wellbeing is the way in which people support each other with their various needs. Different types of relationships may be necessary to achieve optimal wellbeing for individuals.

Where a family does not have the resources to provide the necessary care for an individual, community networks and organisations can step in to assist. Neighbours can bolster the sense of security and belonging built up around the family home. Broader relationships which may be work based, or created through activities people participate in can promote tolerance and trust more widely in the community.

The highest proportion of those persons who reported that they could get support indicated that the support would come primarily from family members (83%) or friends (66%). Neighbours, work colleagues and various community, government and professional organisations were also reported as other potential sources of support.


Support from family members varied slightly across the age groups with persons aged 18-24 years reporting the most support (87%) and persons aged 45-54 years reporting the least (77%).

Support from friends appears to be less available as people age. The highest level of support was experienced by persons aged 18-24 years (81%) and the lowest by persons aged 65 years and over (43%). The relatively low level of support for persons aged 65 years and over may be due to their friends being of a similar age and unable to provide support. In 2002, 58% of persons aged 55-64 years and 65% of persons aged 45-54 years were able to get support from friends.

However, persons in the older age groups (45 years and over) were generally more likely to get support from neighbours than younger persons, ranging from persons aged 45-54 years (33%) to persons aged 55 years and over (39%).

      4.4.2 SELECTED SOURCES OF SUPPORT, By age, 2002 - Queensland

      18-24
      years
      25-34
      years
      35-44
      years
      45-54
      years
      55-64
      years
      65 years
      or over
      Total
      %
      %
      %
      %
      %
      %
      %

      Family and community support
      Able to get support in time of crisis from persons living outside the household
      99.2
      94.9
      96.2
      92.6
      92.4
      93.6
      94.8
      Source/s of support in time of crisis (a)
      Friend
      80.5
      72.6
      71.0
      65.2
      58.3
      43.3
      65.9
      Neighbour
      15.8
      27.1
      35.8
      33.1
      38.5
      39.0
      31.7
      Family member
      86.8
      84.2
      84.6
      77.4
      80.8
      83.6
      82.8
      Work colleague
      28.4
      33.3
      26.9
      21.6
      15.3
      *2.2
      22.3
      Community, charity or religious organisation
      12.9
      13.8
      13.2
      16.6
      16.4
      14.7
      14.6

      Number of persons aged 18 years or over ('000)
      363
      537
      551
      502
      359
      390
      2,703

      * estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
      (a) Support could be in the form of emotional, physical or financial help.

      Source: ABS data available on request, General Social Survey, 2002, (cat. no. 4159.0).

    COMPUTER AND INTERNET USAGE
    People keep in contact with relatives and friends in many ways and when long distances are involved the methods include telephone, letter and increasingly email. The Internet is also a good method for becoming and staying involved with local and on-line communities.

    The 2002 GSS found that 55% of the people surveyed had used a computer at home and 41% had accessed the Internet there in the last twelve months.

    Home usage of computers and Internet varied with age. Persons aged 45-54 years had the second highest level of home computer usage at 63%, behind those aged 35-44 years (73%). Persons aged 55-64 years had 43% usage and persons aged 65 years and over had a usage of 18%.

    The proportions of persons using the Internet at home also varied with age. Persons aged 45-54 years (46%) had a higher level of home Internet usage than persons aged 55-64 years (30%) and persons aged 65 years and over (11%).

    In general, persons aged 55 and over had a lower usage of both computers and Internet at home. This pattern may change as people who are currently comfortable and confident with computers and the Internet move into older age groups.

        4.4.3 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 2002 - Queensland
    Graph:INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 2002 - Queensland

    ACCESS TO TRANSPORT
    Access to transport is an aspect of life important to human well being. Lack of access to transport due to problems of affordability, safety, availability, convenience, and appropriateness of the type of transport available can act as a barrier to people's participation in the range of social, civic and economic activities of mainstream society.

    The 2002 GSS found that 87% of people in Queensland had access to a motor vehicle and felt that they could easily get to the places they needed to go.

    Persons in the oldest age group (65 years or over) were the least likely to have access to motor vehicles (67%) while their ability to easily get to places they needed to go (84%) was second lowest after the 18-24 age group (78%).

    In Queensland, 92% of persons aged 45-64 years had access to motor vehicles to drive. Persons aged 55-64 years were slightly more likely than persons aged 45-54 to be able to easily get to places they needed to go.

    Apart from the youngest age group (18-24 years), the other age groups had relatively similar levels of access to suitable transport.

        4.4.4 SELECTED TRANSPORT CHARACTERISTICS, 2002 - Queensland
    Graph: SELECTED TRANSPORT CHARACTERISTICS, 2002 - Queensland

    SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
    Local communities provide forums for socialisation and relationship building and support the education, sporting or artistic endeavours of their members.

    Leisure time is crucial to wellbeing. It gives people an opportunity to recover from work and the pressures of life, to pursue other interests and to reflect on their life direction and meaning. Many leisure activities bring direct health benefits by providing relaxation and physical activity and extending social networks.

    The 2002 GSS asked whether people had participated in organised sport or physical recreational activities in the last 12 months and what type of social activity they had participated in within the last 3 months.

    About a third of the Queenslanders (34%) covered by the GSS had participated in organised sport or physical recreational activities in the last 12 months with participation generally declining with age. The exception was that persons aged 65 and over were slightly more likely (25%) than persons aged 55-64 years (23%) to participate.

    The top three types of social activity reported were going out to a cafe, restaurant or bar; attending movies, theatre or concert and taking part in or attending sport or physical activities.

    Going out to a cafe, restaurant or bar was the most common social activity for all age groups. All persons, except those aged 65 and over, reported attending movies, theatre or concert and taking part in or attending sport or physical activities as their second and third most common social activities.

    Persons aged 65 and over were more likely to visit a library, museum or art gallery than take part in or attend sport or physical activities. They were also the most likely to take part in community or special interest group activities (19%).

    When compared with all the other age groups, persons aged 65 and over were least likely to take part in or attend the top five activities reported by all persons and it is interesting to note that they were much more likely than any other age group to take no part in any of these social activities (14%).

    Persons most likely to attend church or religious activities or recreational or cultural group activities were persons aged 35-54 years.

        4.4.5 SOCIAL ACTIVITIES, By age, 2002 - Queensland

        18-24 years
        25-34 years
        35-44 years
        45-54 years
        55-64 years
        65 years or over
        Total
        %
        %
        %
        %
        %
        %
        %

        Had participated in organised sport or physical recreational activities in last 12 months(a)
        45.2
        42.9
        34.2
        29.9
        22.5
        24.7
        33.7
        Type of social activity in last 3 months (b)
        Recreational or cultural group activities
        17.6
        10.0
        16.8
        17.9
        12.3
        12.2
        14.5
        Community or special interest group activities
        *10.6
        10.3
        15.0
        15.8
        12.7
        18.6
        13.8
        Church or religious activities
        23.2
        20.1
        24.6
        25.0
        21.0
        21.6
        22.7
        Went out to a cafe, restaurant or bar
        89.1
        86.3
        84.2
        82.2
        78.5
        68.1
        81.8
        Took part in or attended sport or physical activities
        72.0
        64.3
        64.4
        61.1
        48.2
        32.1
        58.0
        Visited library, museum or art gallery
        46.3
        35.2
        49.8
        45.4
        35.2
        34.3
        41.4
        Attended movies, theatre or concert
        82.8
        69.5
        63.9
        58.8
        45.9
        36.3
        60.3
        Visited park, botanic gardens, zoo or theme park
        55.1
        64.2
        60.9
        52.0
        40.5
        32.2
        52.3
        None of these activities
        **2.5
        *3.2
        4.5
        6.1
        *7.9
        13.9
        6.1
        All persons aged 18 years or over
        100.0
        100.0
        100.0
        100.0
        100.0
        100.0
        100.0

        Number of persons aged 18 years or over ('000)
        363
        537
        551
        502
        359
        390
        2,703

        * estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
        ** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.
        (a) Participants comprise those people who physically undertook a sport or physical recreational activity, as well as people involved in 'non-playing roles', such as coaches, officials, umpires and administrators.
        (b) Categories are not mutually exclusive.

        Source: ABS data available on request, General Social Survey, 2002, (cat. no. 4159.0).

      FEELINGS OF SAFETY
      The feelings people have of safety or lack of safety when alone at home often relate to their: perceptions of crime levels in their vicinity; previous experience as a victim of assault or household break-in; relationships with people living nearby; sense of their own strength and capacity to be in control; and their level of trust in their local community.

      Communities which are facing problems such as high crime rates, or where levels of trust and goodwill are low, have the potential to negatively influence individual wellbeing.

      Wellbeing can be strongly affected by the fear of crime as well as the direct experience of it. People who witness crimes, or come across evidence of crime in their local area, can suffer anxiety and may feel demoralised or powerless. People may adjust their behaviour (e.g. stop going out at night) or take actions to secure their house and property. All these actions can affect the physical and financial wellbeing of those involved, and result in a loss of confidence and freedom.

      Results from the 2002 GSS showed that the majority of people felt safe or very safe at home alone during the day and after dark but more felt safe at home alone during the day (92%) than after dark (82%). This difference varied slightly for different age groups. Persons aged 55-64 years and persons aged 35-44 years felt less difference than other age groups.

      Feelings of safety at home alone during the day were similar for all age groups. Persons aged 35-44 years and persons aged 18-24 years were slightly more likely to feel safe or very safe at home alone throughout the day than any other age group (94%) and persons aged 65 and over were the least likely (89%).

      The level of feeling safe or very safe after dark varied slightly more across the age groups from 87% of persons aged 35-44 years to 78% of persons aged 65 or over.


      4.4.6 FEEL VERY SAFE OR SAFE AT HOME ALONE, 2002 - Queensland
      Graph: FEEL VERY SAFE OR SAFE AT HOME ALONE, 2002 - Queensland



      Return to Ageing Well, Queensland highlights page.

      Return to Ageing Well: Family and Community Life, Queensland introduction.

      FURTHER INFORMATION


      ABS Sources
      Australian Social Trends feature article - Crime and Justice: Crime victimisation and feelings of safety
      Social Capital Theme page
      Culture and Recreation Theme page

      The data on this page were last updated on 21 July 2005.

      Previous PageNext Page