Today, on the UN International Day of Older Persons The Benevolent Society has launched a website to help organisations, governments and key decisions makers identify and improve wellbeing for older Australians. The website is called The Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians (the IWOA), a project developed with the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra.  

What is the Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians and who can use it?

The IWOA provides insights into the drivers of wellbeing for Older Australians by mapping out the relationships across five key domains. This index assists policy makers, researchers and social planners by showing how these relationships interrelate and compare within small areas within our communities. 

The five domains are which are measured;

  1. Participation
  2. Education 
  3. Health
  4. Housing
  5. Resources and Wealth 

The data collected and represented in these 5 domains provide insights into what strengthens – and weakens – wellbeing in specific communities. 

The IWOA can also be used to compare the wellbeing the outcomes across different communities, whether they are adjacent or across the country, and looking at the specific factors that might be creating strong wellbeing – or the absence of wellbeing – and designing specific policy and program responses based on the needs of the individual communities.

Why was the Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians website created?

According to Joel Pringle, from the Older Australians campaign team at The Benevolent Society, the website is part of a broader project to engage with potential users, make the index readily accessible and model the application of the index on various projects.  

“Wellbeing is an important part of a fulfilling life, and while indicators of wellbeing for the overall population are increasingly available, there are otherwise few indicators of wellbeing specifically exploring the experiences of older people. When presented on a community level, the information can be used by policy makers, researchers and community workers, and by communities themselves, as the basis for decisions that impact on the wellbeing of older Australians.” Joel said.

Joel also reiterates that “The data in the index, which are presented down to the SA2 level, can be explored through the interactive maps on the IWOA website, providing insight on the suburban or even smaller level.”

How the Index assists The Benevolent Society and other providers

Andrew Collins, Executive Director of Ageing & Carer Services at The Benevolent Society, said that "We're looking at how we can make better use of the data layers to improve the lives of our clients. For example, when we're working with people in an area like Blacktown, we provide the best care we can to people and make sure people know what we can help them with. But the IWOA might tell us that there's a broader issue on a community level, such as housing or transport. Or maybe the IWOA could tell us that high levels of volunteering help individuals, but there aren't many opportunities? We can then advocate with and for the community in a way that benefits the lives of the clients we are working with.”

The Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians website can be accessed at