Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
When it comes to shops, older people like sticking close to home because it gives them a sense of community.

Larger shopping complexes received the thumbs down from some of the older people who participated in the research who felt they were too big, impersonal and not conducive to older people shopping there.

These are among the intriguing results of a study focused on a shopping strip in Melbourne by researcher Joan Stewart from Monash University.

Speaking today at the Regional Conference of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Melbourne, Ms Stewart said shoppers and shopkeepers enjoyed a collaboration.

“If the service is poor or goods not up to scratch it is made clear to the shopkeeper. Both are aware, that they each need the other; for the shopkeeper to stay in business and for the shopper to have available services,’ she says.

She said that shopkeepers also looked out for some of the vulnerable elderly and saw it as part of their service to the community.

The findings also showed that shoppers and shopkeepers took an interest in their neighbourhood shops. She noticed that some of the the shoppers, most of whom were aged around 79, were quick to voice opinion and exercise rights as to new shops being introduced.

“Shops that did not keep a good variety of goods went out of business because the shoppers exercised their rights to shop elsewhere,” she said.

“While they select to shop at supermarkets and other shops as it suits them, they support their local shops enough to ensure they stay in business. This may maximise their options for the future when they may be less mobile or can no longer drive as far,” says Ms Stewart.

She says the survey findings coincide with the Government push to enable older people to remain independent and to actively participate in their communities.

“Local shops are playing an important role in older people’s lives and government and planners should work towards ensuring that local shops remain a feature of neighbourhoods.

Contact Profile

Penny Underwood

P: 03 9818 8540
M: 040 99 252 99
W: www.aging2011.com


Shopping, older people, Monash, Melbourne, Ageing Conference, Joan Stewart



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