Measuring the value of unpaid household, caring and voluntary work of older Australians
As the populations in many countries age, the direct financial costs to governments are expected to rise due to the income support and health costs associated with an older population. A focus on these financial costs has led to an unduly negative, problem-oriented view of population ageing that neglects the contribution of older citizens to the social and economic wellbeing of the nation. This paper explores just one aspect of the contributions of older Australians and demonstrates that, as an age cohort, older people make valuable economic contributions to Australian society through the time they spend in voluntary work and in unpaid caring in their own household, to their family members in other households, and to non-family members in the wider community. It is estimated that Australians aged over 65 years contribute almost $39 billion per year in unpaid caring and voluntary work and, if the unpaid contribution of those aged 55 to 64 years is included, this contribution rises to $74.5 billion per annum.
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