Sunday, February 17, 2013

Issues for seniors Canada vs. Australia

In an earlier post I talked about issues and concerns for Seniors in Canada, while I was in Australia I was interested in seeing what the main issues facing seniors are to see if they were the same in Canada. In Australia, there seemed to me that the following were of interest and concern:

Employment, Superannuation (Pensions), Health Reform, Global Financial Crisis, Public housing and rent

In Canada, some of the issues facing seniors include: Working and participation in society, health and wellness, safety and security and income security discrimination and negative stereotypes, social participation and ethno cultural diversity, living arrangements, transportation, and social isolation and loneliness, family/informal caregiving 

In both countries, there are distinctive barriers faced by older workers, which outweigh the perceived disadvantages to employers, but in both countries, little is being done to help. In fact, seniors who cannot get by on the Superannuation they receive are not treated well by society. For example, a headline in a paper I saw in Australia was this: “The best form of welfare for seniors--get a job” Not all seniors may need to work for the money (but every little bit helps) I suspect that many of us work to participate in society and to feel useful. Older workers should be afforded equal treatment in the workplace and better access to retraining opportunities. 

Pension or Superannuation has long been an issue of major significance to seniors in both countries, and in the current period of reform this should be of major concern. The Canadian government and the Australian government as are other governments around the world are willing to reform .benefits to seniors, which means reducing benefits not increasing them.

Health and wellness is a major issue and the governments with short-term thinking have not yet tackled the issues of health reform that would benefits including greater access and more holistic approach to medicine use and awareness amongst seniors.

The impact of the global financial crisis on seniors across both Canada and Australia aged 50 and over is still being felt. Many of us have not yet recovered from the loss and it will take appropriate and timely action to provide assistance

Many seniors have to rely on public housing and assistance because they cannot afford the rents they once did.  In Australia, they are taking steps to help seniors who need this help, yet in Canada the issue is not being addressed.

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