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Research Report: The legal needs of older people
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The legal needs of older people  ( 2004 )  Cite this report



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Chapter 2. Methodology


Definition


For the purposes of this study, older people were defined as those aged 65 and over. This age limit was selected because much of the available statistical material for older people is based on a definition of those over the age of 65. However, most of the issues identified as associated with ageing can arise earlier than that, and some relate more often to the very old than to people aged 65 to 75.

During the research, some exceptions to this definition were allowed. In particular, the process of exclusion from paid employment through age discrimination is more apparent among people below age 65, because by that age few people are still in employment or seeking it.

An exception was also made for Indigenous people, where consideration was given to those aged 45 and over. The reason for this was because the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is significantly younger than for the population as a whole. In 1996, only 2.5 per cent of the Indigenous population was aged 65 or over (compared to 13 per cent for the population as a whole), and only 13 per cent were aged 45 or over (compared to 36 per cent for the population as a whole). ‘Age-specific death rates were higher for Indigenous people than for the total Australian population in every age group, but the largest differences were observed among males and females aged 35–54 years old, when the rates were 6–7 times higher’.1



Australian Bureau of Statistics, Occasional Paper: Mortality of Indigenous Australians, Catalogue n.3315.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, 1997, p. ix.

 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Occasional Paper: Mortality of Indigenous Australians, Catalogue n.3315.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra, 1997, p. ix.


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Ellison, S, Schetzer, L, Mullins, Perry, J & Wong, K 2004, The legal needs of older people in NSW, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney