Older women have been given the opportunity to provide their insights and share their experiences about living in Melbourne as part of research conducted by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

The newly launched Vital Conversations with Older Women Living in Greater Melbourne research highlights seven key themes important to older women as they age, including social connectedness, neighbourhood development and infrastructure, financial security and housing, family and generational change, ageism and abuse, volunteering and advocacy, information and technology.

Vital Conversations complements the findings of the Greater Melbourne Vital Signs 2017 research which indicated that older women were facing challenges and, in some cases, extreme disadvantage across diverse aspects of their lives.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation wanted to hear more directly from older women about their lives, the challenges they face and potential solutions.

The Foundation commissioned Dr Susan Feldman and Dr Harriet Radermacher to conduct the research which has provided real insight into the issues women face as they grow older, especially with regards to their health and wellbeing.

The Foundation’s chief executive officer Catherine Brown said that the research provided an opportunity for women to voice their opinions and promote their ability to actively participate in society by sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise.

“We need to become better as a society at including and valuing the views of older women. Their expertise and knowledge is incredibly valuable for policy development and planning for a more inclusive, age-friendly city.

“As a society we are quick to dismiss the life experiences and wisdom of older people. We need to be more proactive in consulting with older women when making decisions for community initiatives and urban development projects, as well as increasing opportunities to enhance financial independence.”

As part of the research, 18 conversation groups were conducted with a diverse range of women aged between 50 and 91 years, including women from multicultural backgrounds, and from across 22 local government areas.

This report also provides some concrete recommendations for the philanthropic, not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors to action.

“We now have a deeper insight into the issues of older women ageing in Melbourne which will help the Foundation to inform our grantmaking in areas such as affordable housing, and to make better decisions for a growing and ageing population.

“We look forward to developing collaborations to help make sure older women continue to be a vital part of our community,” said Catherine.

Read CEO Catherine Brown's blog »