Budget 2021 – A C+ For Many Older People?
The Grey Power Federation has welcomed the inclusion of an aged care commissioner in the Government's budget release last week and it supports a better service for people who receive Home and Community Support Services (HCSS).
Federation president Jan Pentecost said that, although she has yet to see any details, fair work conditions for support workers can only benefit their older clients.
She said she was hopeful that an aged care commissioner would be able to put right numerous issues related to home care for seniors, particularly as it has long been government policy for older people to live at home, with the necessary help, for as long as possible.
Grey Power has lobbied for many years for a Seniors’ Commissioner who would not only concentrate on services provided in the home and care facilities but would be modelled on the NZ Children’s’ Commission, the Aged Care Commission in Wales and partially the Australian model. They are all examples of a one-stop shop which we believe is desperately required to comply with the UN’s ‘Principles for Older People.
"With our seniors’ population expected to make up 25 per cent of the population by 2051 we need an effective voice across all senior’s issues, but it does not appear that the budget announcement encompasses this view," she said.
Pentecost said “it was disappointing that the free annual doctors’ visit for SuperGold card holders had been ditched. "This was promised by the last coalition government but was never implemented."
She said Grey Power had been informed that this policy was not cost-effective and would not achieve its aim which the federation had understood to be an annual health warrant of fitness for our older population which would have "coincided with our health policy to prevent illness rather than the ambulance at the bottom of the hill approach.
In the final analysis there is no mention in the budget of help for vulnerable older people."
Pentecost said there were many older people with inadequate income, poor housing, and they were suffering from loneliness and loss of independence, “We have an ageing population, many of whom are living solely on their pension. They don’t own their own homes so aren’t able to move into a retirement village and can’t pay sky-high market rent for their accommodation."
"Grey Power only asks for a fair share and we agree with the Human Rights Commissioner’s comment to us recently that “Each and every one of us deserves the right to thrive.
This must include seniors.