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Women with Lower Incomes Live in Fear

Women with lower incomes often live in fear after the age of 50 and experience increased feelings of vulnerability, says a new study.//

Jan Lovie-Kitchin and colleagues at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, conducted a nationwide study where they studied 2,620 adults over 50 years of age. They looked at how different elements of a person's life contributed to active ageing.

The researchers analysed older women's perceptions of vulnerability and their expressed need to learn to protect themselves against violence, according to a release on the university's website.

Women on lower incomes reported feeling vulnerable when managing their money, accessing transport, and ensuring their homes were safe and secure, the study found.

"Older women might experience feelings of exposure to danger because of their smaller size and lesser strength," Kitchin said.

"But they could also feel vulnerable because of their limited finances and lack of knowledge which might force them to depend on people they don't necessarily trust."

She said some ideas to alleviate women's perceptions of risk and fears of violence included providing them education and information about money management, access to safe transport, and assistance with home security and safety."

"There also needs to be recognition of the influence of media in generating feelings of exposure to danger due to age," she said.

"Sensationalised crimes in the media are often the only form of contact with the outside environment for many older and isolated people. This can heighten their sense of defencelessness," she said.

"While the media may negatively impact on older women's perceptions of violence, it also has the capacity to educate and inform about protective measures for older women."

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