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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.
4.4.1 SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT, By age, 2002 - Queensland
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
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
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
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
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
Return to Ageing Well, Queensland highlights page.
Return to Ageing Well: Family and Community Life, Queensland introduction.
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.