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Wellbeing Index release article

Australians are happiest when they’re in retirement. The results for the 2019 Australian Unity Wellbeing Index have been released and provide a barometer of Australians’ satisfaction with their lives.

Conducted by Deakin University, this iteration of the Wellbeing Index studies the influence of retirement on Australians’ personal wellbeing, finding retirees reported their wellbeing at an average of more than 80 points – significantly higher than non-retirees at 76 points.

Retirees reported higher or equal levels of personal wellbeing across six out of the seven domains of wellbeing: relationships, community connectedness, future security, personal safety, sense of achievement, and standard of living. The only domain in which retirees reported lower levels of wellbeing was health.

“This positive connection with others would tend to offset their lower satisfaction with ‘health’, which declines as age-related ailments set in,” according to the report’s author Associate Professor Delyse Hutchinson, from Deakin University School of Psychology.

While the survey doesn’t examine the reasons for the responses, personal wellbeing appears to increase with age, with some of the happiest Australians aged 65 and over.

“It would seem that retirees’ wellbeing is closely connected to their relationships and interactions with others,” Associate Professor Hutchinson explained. “As individuals remain in retirement and continue to age, promoting wellbeing through ‘health’, ‘personal safety’ and ‘community connectedness’ becomes more critical.”

Beverly Smith, Australian Unity Executive General Manager, said the survey results confirm much of the feedback from many older Australians living in the company’s retirement communities.

“We know that older Australians want to experience their retirement to the fullest and they want a great lifestyle,” Beverly said. “The survey results show wellbeing continues to increase after retirement age as long as physical health is maintained.”

Examining the latest set of results, it could be likely that older Australians will need a care system based on holistic services that optimise their years of activity and minimise their years of care – a system based on prevention in the earlier years of retirement.

The full 2019 Wellbeing Index report can be viewed here