Proof Australia treats over 60s badly; help us send a message 296

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Do you want to know the top 10 places in the world to grow old? So do we, because Australia doesn’t even get a look-in.

A new global index has ranked 96 countries according to the health and wellbeing of its older people, and how well the state cares for them. Australia scraped in to the top 20 at 17th place.

Considering our beautiful natural assets, our egalitarian culture and relatively wealthy economy, you’d think Australia would be a marvellous place in which to grow old.

But there’s one enormous problem that holds us back…. According to the Global AgeWatch Index 2015, compiled by HelpAge International, one in three older Australians are living below the poverty line.

According to the report’s methodology, this is defined as living on less than half of the national median income. Countries were ranked on 13 indicators in four areas: income security, health status, capability and enabling environment.

Shockingly, Australia ranks 94th for the worst rate of old-age poverty, ahead of only South Korea and Venezuela. We were listed 94th again for relative welfare, which compares the living standards of older and younger people in the community.

Ian Yates, chief executive of COTA, says Australians on the age pension and also other benefits were doing it extremely tough.

“If you are trying to live just on the aged pension, then you will have difficulty making ends meet. It falls below an OECD standard of poverty,” he said.

Australia did poorly on income security and for access to public transport, physical safety and social connectedness, coming 62nd in both categories.

There is some good news: we performed better on health of older people, measured by life expectancy and mental well-being, ranking 5th, and capability, which is measured by employment, and education (8th).

If you want to live a cruisey life in your later years, pack your bags and move to Switzerland, Norway and Sweden.

This report is proof that over 60s in Australia are being treated badly. We’ll be going on The Today Show tomorrow to stand up for you – tell us, why do you think we’re in this situation and what needs to be done?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. We are in this situation in my opinion because when we were young and promises were made that our taxes would help us to live decent lives when retired, everyone believed this. Then came the next generation and compulsory super and our generation was forgotten. We aged better and had no means of supporting ourselves in our older years. We are the forgotten generation.

    12 REPLY
    • Yep, and then suddenly, our pollies get greedy and want to use our super. Super, many moons ago, was invented as a method of having some of OUR own earned money put aside for old age, and also help not drain the public purse…something which seems to be lost on Mr. Hockey and friends!!! To any conservative voters, I don’t. and won’t apologise for my comments.

    • well said Fran Spears thats what these younger ones dont understand , we were conned to pay all these taxes in NZ for our old age so for 50 years I have worked I sure as hell expect something back. x

    • No we are not the forgotten generation at all….we are the stupid generation who has told their children that they are entitled to an inheritance inside of working hard, living within THEIR means and going without….. so consider yourself FIRST and maybe we will get to the end of the road.

    • Exactly Anne=Keogh=Casey totally agree we are the forgotten generation, always worked, scrimped, there was no such thing as superannuation, so for all of us in our 60’s alot of us who stayed at home for children and had part time jobs there was no super, were promised that if you worked hard and paid taxes then you would be looked after when you got older, was wondering if all the people who pay into a super fund – what percentage does the government get

    • Bryan Smythe When is the Govt going to take your super. Those with huge amounts , may lose a pension, Labor want to tax ALL big super , Not too many with over a million or 2 in Super I doubt they want a pension,

    • I totally agree with Fran ,I had one child in the fifties and another in the sixties ,worked full time most of my life ,no help from government ,no super ,so very dissatisfied ,life just keeps getting harder ,,Thank You ,

  2. This comes with no shocks to me. Many 60+ couples have been living on one minimum wage, long before they even qualify for the pension. Meaning, you don’t get a health card, rent assistance, discounted power and gas or discounted medical treatment. It’s an appalling situation especially when our pollies keep ramming it down our throats, ‘get a good well paid job’ or ‘ work till you drop’ and ‘we’re looking at changing the super regulations’, added to that our super has gone down the proverbial gurgler thanks to Greece and China.

    4 REPLY
    • Try living on a SINGLE pension, you still have to pay the same as COUPLES for all your bills.

    • With you, Trish Daley. It is a struggle but I am also thankful for what I get. Single pension is not easy to live on.

    • I think all POLITICIANS should have to live on a what PENSIONER lives on for at least 12 months, then they might appreciate what a struggle it is.

    • @Trish Daley…..totally agree. Maybe it should be a compulsory part of EACH term of office for ALL pollies……it would certainly sort them out.

  3. I was shocked when I read this.. having been back to visit family and friends in the UK a number of times and stayed there for a few months I always thought pensioners in Australia got a much higher and better pension.. but on reflection, although the UK pension is lower the pensioners if renting get all their rent paid, all their council tax paid, discounts on all utilities, prescriptions are free, doctors are free, a free bus pass to be used between 9.30am and 11pm.. As I was on an Australian pension it was far higher than my sister-in-laws UK pension but considering what she got free and I had to pay she ended up with more in her pocket each week than I did..

  4. if you think your in a bad way now wait till the refugees get here

    10 REPLY
    • Oh please, keep to the topic. Refugees will help the economy grow…think about it!

      1 REPLY
      • Dr. Really Julia? Are you aware that of all the Afghan refugees we brought in 3 years ago, 96% are still on Centrelink benefits? Also, I’m divorced, 62, and worked until 3 years ago until I did my back Nursing. I’m now trying to live on a disability pension. When trying to sign up, I was “gob-smacked” walking into my local Centrelink office. I thought I was in Syria, so please DON’T ASSUME that most of these people will be contributing financially to this country.
        Note: Have you checked the “employment stats” for asylum seekers in the UK lately?

    • we have a moral obligation to help these people due to humane actions of our race but because we are complicant in the bombing of a lot of their countries following the american corporate juggernaut and the whole dirty show that has been orchestrated by the shadows in the pentagram im not having an oldtimers rant but for all this rot to be going on for so long for no reason that is obvious makes me mad a hell i want this all to cease fire and everyone sit back and take stock of whats been going on in the world amen

    • Do you really think that the money would go to pensioners , homeless & handicapped if the refugees were abandoned? Of course not. It would go to subsidising the super wealthy & buying more war toys & even improving the benefits for politicians.So please don’t demonise the people who are the most vulnerable.

    • Lynette Miles I voted Liberal , seems it was a waste of time, Labor ,Greens, Senate all want more & more , PM said NONE, Media & opposition forced him to take some.

    • What have Labor got . someone who has a shady past, maybe could have a criminal record , Give me Mr Abbott every time By the way I do believe any one in Parliament deserves to be called by their correct name, Just shows your lack of respect.

  5. Look to the Scandinavian countries to see how well they care for the elderly.

    4 REPLY
    • Julia, I not interested in Scaninavian how their treating their seniors…………..I very interested in how the Australian government treats retired pensioners………also asked yourself just what nationally in PM and hockey are???

    • Maria you may not be interested but you should still check it out. Julia makes a very valid point as they are very well looked after in Scandinavia and we could learn a lot, an awful lot, from them.

    • Elderly in Scandinavian countries retire with pride & are treated with respect, here in Australia we hide in shame as we are constantly blamed by our government for being an economic burden to our nation. Our government forgets who has been paying their taxes for the past 50 yrs – RETIERIES / PENSIONERS.

    • Let’s hope it can stay that way for them…….they are also being invaded as well……in much greater numbers than here. Being geographically isolated may not be such a bad idea atm.

  6. Yes it’s true work till you drop. Australia does NOT care about Australians we just have to keep on paying taxes so they can have all the benefits and perks, and give money to people that come to this country with NO intention of working or being park of Australia.

    2 REPLY
    • My 72 year old husband did exactly that, worked until he had a cardiac arrest at work earlier this year. He was doing 80 hours a week driving a B-Double interstate. He survived, then had to deal with Centrelink. That was fun!!

  7. If you dont like it leave…not sure what everyone expects…of course we get Health care card and many discounts…trouble is no one thought they may have to contribute to their retirement….as a single with 2 children I scrimped and saved…moderate super now ….downsized for $ .brain washed people expected their taxes to pay for retirement…that was never going to happen…just look at the wekfare payments…we cannot afford it….complain…and then move on

    25 REPLY
    • What are you talking about Kaylene Gerster.I was born in Australia 63 years ago,and after working hard all my life,the last 36 years concreting,and now to f<""d and can hardly walk due to severe arthritis,this government does not want to know about me.We can afford Welfare Payments,but the government is giving it to the wrong people ie illegal refugees,and people who don't want to work.And now they are bring in more and forgetting about the REAL AUSTRALIAN. NOT HAPPY.

    • Kaylene Gerster – I didn’t say I didn’t like it – I’m just agreeing with the others that Aussies don’t always come first. I raised two kids as a sole parent too and there were no benefits then – I’m not complaining about that I just don’t see why thouands of refugees need to take precedence over people already needy.

    • Kayleen……arrogance and belittling others is not right. ..this is our country also and you have no right to tell us to leave. ..poor you a single parent. you got a lot of government payout for that. ..some of us had to work also without the family help. a lot of us through different circumstances have little super to help us and I’m not going to give my personal reasons for this. ..the fact is. ..we worked and survived but now we have to live below the poverty level’s not right. ..we don’t need arrogant self centered people like you putting us in a box or telling us to leave. …how dare you

    • My understanding was the money put aside for “old age” by governments of the past, was redirected to the “general revenue” barrel sometime in the late ’60s by incoming gov’t & stayed in that “pool”, where it’s being accessed for anything. Consequently, the barrel is now “half empty”, to the detriment of the “golden oldies”! So, please don’t tell anyone to leave, just because they say it as it is! That’s the reality, our most vulnerable members in the community, who have done the “hard yakka”, including me & my hubby, are being “discriminated against” by this present gov’t!

    • You wouldn’t be the only one thats not happy Neville im furious can’t believe how we get treated by the government don’t let anyone try to tell me we are the lucky country because its not our country any more we have been taken over

    • Worked non-stop for 55 years, paid high taxes and took no welfare payments during that time. Had private super I was paying into which scammed two thirds of the capital out when it came time to cash-up. Now I am reliant on the pension mostly to live. In response to Gerster, one of her big business buddies ripped me off. IT IS NOT MY FAULT. The last thing I need at the moment is a right-wing rant from a brainless LNP disciple. I am not a boat person or a refugee. Don’t smoke or drink, don’t use drugs. Please get real.

    • I love your words. I agree and I retired never taking a single cent from the government. I look after my self and my family from all the hard wait I did and I never complained. I do not vote Labor because I am not a socialist. I believe you get what you work for and no more. Take a risk in life, invest, work hard and take care of your family.

    • Donald Rogers. – I have a self managed super fund and I never trusted super funds of any kind. My self managed superfund has quadrupled under my management. Your money is your responsibility not someone else’s. Never abdicate your personal responsibility to others, or they will rip you off. Now the tax payers have to support you. Any loss is your fault usually attributed to greed. When you admit it’s your fault, then you can get back onto your feet. I still invest at my age and while retired.

    • I m 64 on a disabilatry pension didnt ask for depression anxiety and stress but I got it anyway . I paid taxes all my working life,Pity the people I worked for didnt do the same most of them failed to pay my super and the tax dept didnt bother checking this ment i had bugger all super. And know the s/a labor govt takes my pentioner concessions, including rates.then sends me a letter telling me they are going to give me$200.00 to help with this ,my rates where due 1/9 still nothing so do I leave the country I was born in and love NO I stay and battle on because Im a True Blue Aussie.

    • Kaylene, you’re obviously too young to remember that back in the 50’s we paid an extra 1% in tax to pay for our retirement.

    • Kaylene Gerster, you don’t seem to be very happy, maybe you need to talk to someone, you have just lashed out at everyone when you don’t know their personal circumstances.

    • You are a disgrace to Aussie pensioners. I raised 6 children to struggled to pay for school uniforms. Uni books. My husband and I are selling out beautiful home which we paid and struggled to buy now we are down sizing to make ends meet. So they should make the pension the same as the wage.

    • Probably lee but I told the truth and did not swear and did not say anything against facebook tos

    • I actually think it’s quite funny that Kaylene says ‘of course we all get a health care card and many discounts’. Not in our day we didn’t Kaylene. No such thing as Medicare then, we paid full price for doctors visits and prescriptions. There was no family benefit payments either, part A or B. From memory I got $2 a month for the 2 kids

    • Shelagh Hampson I don’t want them either, BUT Labor keep wanting more & more AND promising $450 Million to UN. . That is tax payers money, for Aussies

      1 REPLY
      • Dawn I wouldn’t say the current Fascist LNP Govt have done any favours for pensioners. Super was meant to help retirees along with the pension. But the current Govt want all us oldies to drive off a cliff to save them money!! They make retirees feel like leaners while the Govt live it up on well paid tax funded pensions as soon as they get voted out. No waiting till 65-70 for them- after all they are the lifters aren’t they?

  8. Please stop making this all about refugees, this has been happening long before and besides, if we continue to bomb their homes what can you expect?

    1 REPLY
    • Oh….you mean the ones who leave their “families” & flee to Europe with their mobile phones, laptops & designer clothes & then abuse population of the countries foolish enough to accept them? Sure.

      1 REPLY
      • Here, here Bronwen! These “bleeding-heart do-gooders” do my head in! The UK, well all of Europe is “on its knees” trying to cope with all these so called refugees with their enormous brood of kids and refusal to work! Now it’s our turn to be bled dry! There’s so many Australian people struggling to make ends meet…..pensioners, single parents, return serviceman. How does it make sense to bring MORE in? People here in Melbourne are waiting 10 years plus for public housing. I used to be a “Support Worker” and go to public housing blocks. I found it astounding at the lack of Australian people in these places. They were predominantly Muslim and Sudanese. To all you refugee supporters……..shame on you for handing our country over to these people who have made it quite clear they will NEVER assimilate!

  9. I believe that never in its history has a government of Australia caused such divisiveness about us over sixties. The name calling,”leaners”, and the blaming and chiding us,making us feel responsible for a slack economy,telling us to keep working till 70! It’s caused the younger generation to look at us with disrespect and impatience and set one against the other. They say they haven’t got the money to increase services which have been drastically cut back,yet they manage to find money for their own junkets. So,what I’m saying is,it’s not just needing increased services and lifting the pension to where one in three of our older Australians is not living beneath the poverty line. It’s a total change of attitude towards us that is needed!We do not deserve this disrespect from our government!

    6 REPLY
  10. Pensioners were told there was no money to support them in old age, that the age of entitlement was over. The press makes us feel like we are leeches. Then it is announced that we are taking in(I don’t begrudge them this) thousands of refugees! We found the money? Are the rich Arab countries contributing to the safety of these poor refugees?

  11. It is hard living on the aged pension maybe a couple would find it easier but single pensioners some are living on the poverty line

  12. We in N.Z. are a little better off but still get the label that we are living off the State. I am 70yrs old and have been working since I left school at 16yrs,of age. We at that time paid into a superannuation scheme so we could retire at 60 and live off it. The preceding Governments changed it all lost it twice through bad investing and changed the retirement age to 65. We still get a pension that we paid for since starting work but people think we are living off the State which is wrong it is a super scheme we paid into and now we are collecting it and it is what we paid in.

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