The ageing of our population and the increase in life expectancy is a profound social change.
People are more active than ever, with unprecedented opportunity to enjoy productive and fulfilling later lives.
There are also challenges faced by seniors such as social isolation or complex health issues that need to be addressed.
This week the Victorian Government released Seniors Count! – the Seniors Participation Action Plan 2014-2019 developed by the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Senior Victorians, which I chair.
I am delighted the government has endorsed this plan and will support its delivery with an additional $5 million in funding.
Seniors Count! sets a new course for ageing well in Victoria and over the next five years will:
Address the digital divide of many seniors not connected to the internet:
• Support the mature age workforce;
• Improve understanding of health and ageing;
• Create more age-friendly communities; and
• Promote life planning for seniors.
In addition, those continuing in full-time work beyond the age of 60 will be able to apply for the new Seniors Business Discount Card in 2015.
The Seniors Business Discount Card will provide access to seniors card business discounts (excluding public transport concessions), extending these benefits to older workers.
The government is supporting the delivery of these priorities with new funding of $5 million over the life of the plan.
Seniors Count! is a great opportunity to inspire change in our community – change in how we approach the issue of ageing, inspiring more positive attitudes and greater respect for the contributions of older people; and change in the way government and agencies address population ageing.
There is much to be excited about.
Whether it be providing IT training, , providing leadership for more flexible workplaces, or developing age friendly communities.
Much can be done to support seniors to age well and maintain their valuable roles in our communities.
Copies of Seniors Count! are available from www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au.
I encourage you to have a read and see how we are making sure seniors really do count.
Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians