OLDER PEOPLE - SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
Having the opportunity to spend time on recreation and leisure, and social and community interaction, enriches older people's lives and it is important for older people to feel included and valued within their community.
In 2012, almost all older Australians had participated in one or more social activities at home (97%) or away from home (93%) in the last 3 months. The majority of older people interacted with their family or friends through telephone calls (91%), being visited at home (90%) or visiting them (86%). Around three quarters (72%) had participated in at least one cultural or physical activity, away from home, in the 12 months prior to the survey. Most commonly, older people had participated in physical activities for exercise or recreation (45%) or attended a movie, concert or theatre performance (42%). (Table 31)
Around a quarter of older Australians (26%) had been actively involved in a community group in the last 12 months, with more than a third of those involved with a service club (9.8% of older people). Approximately one in ten (11.3%) had been actively involved in a governance or civic group, most commonly with a body corporate or tenants' association (5.0% of older people). (Table 31)
For older people, the ability to move around independently may be an important factor in determining their social or community interaction away from the home. This can be particularly difficult where a disability is present. Most older people with disability could use at least some forms of public transport (80%). Of those who reported the ability to use at least some forms of public transport, 39% found it difficult to do so, with steps reported as the most common problem (21%), followed by a lack of seating or difficulty standing (8%) and pain or discomfort (7%).