The Australian Seniors Series: Seniors and Resilience

It’s no question COVID-19 has tested us in ways we never thought possible. At the same time, the pandemic has reminded us we can handle whatever is thrown our way.  As we are starting to see the light at the end of the 2020 tunnel, how will we continue to show resilience with uncertainty still looming?

The Seniors and Resilience report is part of the Australian Seniors Research Series and explores how we’ve adjusted to the current state at play yet remained resilient through it all. We furthermore draw comparisons with some findings gathered earlier in the year in the Connectivity in the Age of COVID-19 report.

Optimism wins

Despite the tumultuous year we’ve all had, one third (28.7%) believe our glass half full approach to life has helped us cope through the past few months. In fact, we plan to carry this mentality with us through the festive season and into the New Year.

More than half (51.6%) of us are looking forward to saying farewell to the past year and are hopeful for what 2021 will bring. Although we are still facing uncertainty, two-fifths (41.5%) of us are content just carrying on.

With the festive season fast approaching, we know that our celebrations will likely look different this year – with fewer ‘work Christmas parties’, smaller family gatherings, less in-store and more online Christmas shopping. However, regardless of potential plans being compromised, nearly two in five (36.8%) of us will make the best of the situation we’re served.

As social distancing restrictions are easing more and more these days, we are looking forward to gathering with our loved ones at Christmas. Compared to the Connectivity in the Age of COVID-19 report conducted earlier this year, the percentage of us unable to gather with our friends and family members this Christmas has dropped by more than 20 per cent when compared to Easter (19.2% vs. 42.6%). As a matter of fact, two in five (38.8%) of us will make efforts to catch up with family in person over the holidays whilst practising safe social distancing, compared to only one in 10 (10.0%) who were able to do so at Easter.

Changing perceptions

The pandemic has been a catalyst for changing our views on things like telemedicine, travel, work and income.

Let’s start with telemedicine: More than two-fifths (44.8%) of us view telemedicine more positively now, even though in-person consultations are still preferred (48.7% vs. 4.9%). We agree the greatest advantages with this healthcare method are saving time on travelling and waiting (65.2%) and avoiding exposure to illness from other patients (63.6%). Whereas, our top concern with telemedicine is the possible compromise on the level of consultation, treatment and misdiagnosis (62.2%).

Moving on, it seems having something to look forward to has helped us get through these uncertain times. Although we might have had to cancel overseas holiday plans, we are excited and grateful to travel within our state (33.9%) and spend time with family (19.8%) as the year comes to a close.

Finally, technology has been our saving grace, not only connecting with loved ones due to social distancing and border closures, but with our jobs too. One in nine (11.8%) of us are using technology to overcome barriers with attending work in-person. And when it comes to work, we are looking for opportunities to generate additional income (9.6%). On top of this, less than one in 10 (5.9%) are generating this stream of income online.

The Seniors and Resilience key findings show us that making lemons out of lemonade is something we are pretty good at doing, and we will continue to stay strong moving into 2021.