The future of older Victorians will look much brighter, following a recent state government commitment to a 10-year plan which embraces more age-friendly housing, better access to services, improved transport and greater protection of the rights of older people.
The plan, Ageing in Victoria: A plan for an age-friendly society 2010-2020 which was issued this week, outlines key actions the Brumby government will take over the next decade to ensure that the state provides a good quality of life for every older person, now and in the future.
The plan state’s that its vision is to create “an age-friendly society inclusive of people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds where older Victorians play active and valued roles, age with dignity, maintain independence and have their rights respected and upheld”.
Its three key outcomes aims to help older residents to stay active and healthy; live in are age-friendly communities where housing, services and transport meet their needs; and easily participate in work, families and the community.
Most importantly, the Victorian government has promised to prepare a Status of Seniors report every two years to assess how well it is meeting the three main outcome areas.
The state government said that the plan contains “common sense and practical actions to build age-friendly homes, workplaces and communities.
“While Victoria’s response to population ageing is shared across a range of portfolios and service sectors, the Ageing in Victoria plan articulates a single vision for an older society to guide coordinated whole-of-government planning and investment.”
The state government made a commitment to provide support for local councils to help seniors live independently in regional and rural Victoria, and get involved in community life and volunteering. It also promised to provide an extra 2,000 hours of interpreter services to be funded through Home and Community Care.
Premier of Victoria, John Brumby introduced the plan by saying: “Despite our hard work and achievements to date there are challenges ahead. The number of older people is growing and this will increase demand for services and opportunities for our ageing population.
“Accessibility of information and services will become increasingly important. We must also encourage and foster the expectations that many older people have about leading healthy and active senior years.”
Other initiatives committed to include free weekend public transport in Melbourne and regional town centres for Seniors Card holders and a $1 million investment to expand state Community Registers to ensure that local health providers can assist vulnerable seniors during heatwaves.
CEO of Aged & Community Care Victoria (ACCV), Gerard Mansour, has welcomed the state government’s announcement of free weekend travel for senior Victorians from 1 January next year.
“There is no doubt older Victorians value the access to public transport so they can be active and involved citizens in their local communities,” said Mr Mansour.
“This announcement…will give a greater opportunity for our seniors to travel on public transport and at times when many local and wider community activities such as arts, festivals or sporting events.
“Older Victorians value their independence and access to public transport is an important part of building and maintaining strong community connections.”