What Seniors Need and Want Market Research


Project snapshot

Project contact

Stephen Shotton
Regional Development Manager

Alignment with RDA strategy

  • Health and wellbeing

McGregor Tan was engaged in 2016 to undertake market research on “What Seniors Need and Want” across the Fleurieu Peninsula as part of Tapping the Demographic Dividend.

Project Summary

The underlying issue of this study is whether older people retiring from full time employment, and/or retiring to live in a regional town or district, want to immerse themselves in the life of their community. It is clearly down to the personal disposition of individuals whether they want to get involved or not.


Currently 51% of the population in the Fleurieu Peninsula are aged over 50 years, and those over 65 represent 27% of the population, compared to the state average of 16%. This age cohort is also staying in the family home longer before moving into aged care facilities.

Rather than seeing this as a problem, Regional Development Australia (RDA) is keen to identify where and how the region can benefit socially and economically by tapping into the requirements of this older age group. RDA consider the potential benefits to include:

  • utilising the talents of this age cohort for social and economic benefit by keeping older people engaged and active within the community
  • engaging older people with requisite skills and experience to act as mentors to younger generations seeking to make progress in their chosen fields of enterprise

To achieve this may require focusing on the needs of this older cohort in the region and customer dynamics for this age group.

Research is therefore needed to gain a better understanding of the senior population in the region to enable RDA to target these areas of action. What services are needed to support older people in the region and how can they be encouraged to make their own positive contribution to the local community, especially as volunteers.


Three focus groups were conducted of this age group in Yankalilla, Victor Harbor and Goolwa (the latter including people from Strathalbyn and Port Elliot) during mid July 2016.

Further research was conducted in August and September through interviews with 20 senior individuals and by 10 aged care workers in the Fleurieu Peninsula region, who have been asked for their input in relation to the products and services available for older people in the region.

Executive Summary

Some feel personal fulfilment by offering themselves as volunteers for local projects or to help others in need. Some are motivated by a sense of duty. And, yes, some have no desire to undertake community service.

The first step for most newcomers to a regional area is to join a club or society associated with their own areas of interest – sport, gardens, books or the arts more generally. Usually, one thing leads to another, and they soon find themselves involved in a number of organisations or ventures.

The first challenge for these individuals is to discover what opportunities exist in their community for them to become involved and how to actually get involved. For some, taking the initial steps towards getting involved constitutes a further challenge. They need encouragement.

It is fundamentally incumbent on the community, both as a collective and as individuals, to make a concerted effort to welcome newcomers to the area by providing them with information about all the opportunities available within the locality and to encourage them to join and get involved.

Retiring from the workforce can be a major challenge in several respects: the impact on personal relationships including marital harmony; losing the shelter and companionship of the workplace with its attendant disciplines and support base; and finding one’s feet in a new environment. For some, continued self-esteem may be at risk, especially if they had experienced enforced retirement or did so reluctantly. Finding a part-time or voluntary role in their local community may well constitute a valuable lifeline.

As to personal motivation, we feel the following comment made by one of the focus group participants is of exemplary value:
“My philosophy about retiring is you need just the right amount of money to live on, not a huge amount but enough to manage. You need an engrossing hobby to keep you busy. You need to belong to a strong social group, and really feel you belong. And you need to give back. If you do all those things, you’ll be fine.”

About The Group Participants

The groups which met in Yankalilla and Goolwa comprised, in roughly equal proportions, recent arrivals, people who had settled in the area a few years ago and those who had been living in the area for several decades. The Victor Harbor group had a higher proportion of recent arrivals. There was one person in each group who had been born in the area.

It was noteworthy that the Yankalilla and Goolwa groups included the fact that they were active volunteers when introducing themselves, and in both cases virtually all the participants played an active role in their communities. The participants in the Victor Harbor group did not seem to be so involved, and they were noticeably less vibrant or enthusiastic than the other groups.

Very few of the participants in these groups were still working – only a couple on a full-time basis and a couple doing part-time work.
A few participants were actively skill-sharing or fulfilling in some way a role of mentor to others. These were doing so by participation in school activities.

Research Report

Follow the link to view the full research report