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In a rapidly developing world, social institutions, markets and policy must be modified to address the issues that stem from population ageing. Socioeconomic inequities across the life-course will affect how individuals and societies age, and impact current models of national and international economic sustainability.

The UNSW Ageing Futures Institute will focus on how the structure of social institutions, government, policy, and regulation inhibit or facilitate individuals and societies to optimise ageing.

Current Projects

2020 Ageing Futures Seed Funding Projects

Lead investigator: Dr Patricia Hill | Co-lead investigators: Dr Myra Hamilton, Prof Carmelle Peisah

Equitable access to quality aged care is an essential component underpinning optimal and inclusive healthy ageing in any society. While there is now widespread recognition of extensive unmet aged care need in Australia, there is a lack of comprehensive and systematic data about which aged care needs are unmet, in what ways needs are unmet, and why. This project will conduct a critical review of measures of unmet need, informed by an interdisciplinary approach encompassing social science, health, gerontology and human rights perspectives. Building on the review, the researchers will draft a discussion paper and host a workshop with key academics and stakeholders to develop a holistic approach to measuring unmet aged care need in Australia.
2019 Ageing Futures Seed Funding Projects

Lead investigator: Dr Edgar Liu

The project will look at the social infrastructure and policy needs for an active ageing Australian society. It aligns with the Institute priority area of Economy and Policy, specifically on housing, aged care and related planning policies. It will achieve this by extending a Population Ageing Matrix methodology developed by Atkins (based on 2001-2011 Census data). It consists of a spatialised Census and public services data on aged care to identify recent and likely future ageing dynamics across local areas and allow more targeted policy responses. This will be further enhanced by a qualitative policy review focusing on housing, transport/connectivity, and care/welfare policies at the state/territory levels and three local government case studies.
Lead investigator: Zhiming Cheng

In Australia, the provision of informal care for older adults has been increasingly pushed onto family members who serve as informal carers. Informal carers also play a major role in managing formal community care services. In 2015 there were 306,500 households where primary carers lived with someone aged 65 years and over (ABS, 2015). By 2025, the demand for informal care is set to significantly outstrip its supply (Deloitte Access Economics, 2015). Informal caregivers often face disadvantages in labour market and suffer from stress and strain. However, simple cross-sectional analysis may provide a misleading picture of the causal impact of informal eldercare provision on carers’ wellbeing. Analysing Australian panel data, Cheng, Jepsen and Wang (2019) (note: Cheng and Wang are investigators in this proposal) find that informal eldercare provision has a positive effect on caregivers’ subjective wellbeing a year later. Yet, in Australia there is little causal evidence on the longer-term impacts of being an informal caregiver for older adults on informal carers’ wellbeing, as measured by happiness, mental health, occupational performance, family life and other indicators. In this project we aim to address two research questions to fill this gap within the tight timeline of seed research grant: (1) How does informal care for older adults affect the wellbeing of informal carers over their life course? (2) How can public policy and service be improved to better support the wellbeing of informal carers?
Lead Investigator: Economy and Policy
Professor John Piggott is Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) at the University of New South Wales, Australia, where he is Scientia Professor of Economics. His Australian policy experience includes membership of both the Henry Tax Review Panel and the Ministerial Superannuation Advisory Committee. Internationally, he has worked for nearly a decade with the Japanese Government on pension and ageing issues, and in 2004 was tasked with evaluating the World Bank assistance on pension reform in the Asian region for the Bank's Operations Evaluation Department. He has been a consultant to several foreign governments on pension issues, including Russia and Indonesia. In 2007 he was appointed Visiting Professor, Zhejiang University, China, and from 2008-2010 was Visiting Scholar with the Department of Insurance and Risk Management, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.