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National Seniors recently invited members to suggest topics for future National Seniors Social Surveys. Here is what you said.
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The National Seniors research team recently invited members and supporters to suggest topics we might include in our future National Seniors Social Surveys (NSSS).
We also asked why some members do not participate in the annual NSSS.
Thank you to those who responded – we very much value your time and input.
Here is what you told us and how we will use that information.
If you would like to find out more about the NSSS, we have written a companion piece on the National Seniors website because some of you said more information about it would be valuable.  
Our first question invited ideas for survey topics, and 268 people responded. Popular topics included:
All these will be considered when we design NSSS questions in the future. We were already considering some for the next NSSS, so your suggestions affirm our thinking.  
Some members suggested topics we have recently included in the NSSS that could be expanded in future research:
Several people suggested other topics we will take on board, including seniors’ leisure activities, attitudes to religion, views on political issues, relationship satisfaction, alternatives to retirement, financial knowledge, relationships with adult children, and societal pressure to appear affluent.
Some respondents suggested we target those over 75, seniors still working, culturally and linguistically diverse seniors, and returned ex-pats. We appreciate the suggestions because part of our rationale for this mini-survey was to continually improve our responsiveness to the diversity of older Australians. We will consider how we can better translate these needs into survey questions.
Finally, some topic suggestions were more appropriate for our advocacy, communications, or member services teams, so we have forwarded them on for action.
Our second question acknowledged there are many reasons members may not participate in the NSSS. We invited you to share your reasons.
Of the 241 people who responded, 145 (60%) said nothing prevented them from participating.  
Ninety-six people gave one or more reasons for not participating. The primary reasons were feeling their answers will not make any difference (17%) and being concerned about privacy or confidentiality (11%). Here is a graph of the main reasons people gave:

Other reasons for not participating included finding questions repetitive, clarity on the survey purpose, worrying about receiving marketing spam later, having difficulties with technology, and having physical disabilities prohibiting participation.
In our overview of the NSSS, we address some of your concerns, such as whether NSSS responses make any difference, questions of privacy and security, and how we use your data. Your responses do have an impact on policy and society, your participation is anonymous, your data are secure, and we are prohibited from using the data for any other purpose than research. 
Regarding online communications, we offer a paper version of the NSSS, but in 2022 none of the paper surveys we distributed to members were returned, and in 2021 only a handful were.
We also take on board your feedback about survey length, and in future will be clearer about the amount of time it will likely take.
Participants can skip any NSSS question they do not want to answer, can navigate ahead to the sections of interest and relevance, and can stop at any time. So, lack of time need not be an obstacle if you have something to say.
Thanks so much to all for your valuable feedback and ideas. National Seniors is nothing without its members, and we appreciate the time members give to support our organisation’s research. 
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