Hello sixty somethings. We now have a new government, or should I say, the old one back again. I have to say it is not the outcome I had hoped for, but living in Tassie, I can say we did our best to improve it. Recently, my best friend’s father passed away. He had been transferred from hospital to a nursing home. The day before he was walking around and seemed OK, just old and suffering from early dementia. He had a couple of falls previously so it was decided it was time. My friend was worried about him as he had seemed to deteriorate literally overnight. I was worried because I think the health system in this state and indeed this country is also deteriorating, especially aged care. We need to fix it; we need to get this health system back on track.
Over the past weeks we all had our own views over who would and should lead this country. I had been worried about what we, as over sixties, would have to endure next. In my opinion, this current government have done little for the ageing population or for the younger generation for that matter. Quite frankly, none of the major parties had done much lately for the older citizens of Australia. At least one was trying to make our Medicare system safe. But this is not enough. Making the country better for the next generation was talked about. Superannuation was a topic and so was extending the retiring age, BUT, none of the major parties had told us how superannuation really was going to improve our lives; the lives of a generation that had mostly not been able to accumulate enough super. Where the jobs were actually coming from for our young was not mentioned, so where were they going to find jobs for the older generation and how would they make employers hire us?
The immediate problem? Those of us over fifty five who were out of work, had little or no super, were alone and had nothing but a pittance to live on from the government, through no fault of our own. Circumstances change over a lifetime and some don’t come out on top like others. This country has a very fast growing population of retirees. We have paid our taxes and sometimes extraordinarily higher interests for a long time. What, if anything, will be done for us? We allow our country to be run by people who more often than not are approaching our age, but they seem to think they are immortal and we are of no consequence.
A large portion of these disadvantaged over sixties are women. Over sixty women are the ones who stayed home with their children, looked after their families and had little or no opportunity to work long enough to have a superannuation nest egg. But we worked damn hard. We raised our children to become the future, we worked long hours and never received much thanks and in those days, didn’t receive big baby bonuses maternity gratuities. We didn’t worry about it. We just got on with it. Now many of us are alone and trying to cope. Singles pay the same rent as a couple and the same price as it costs a couple to turn on the light switch. Singles get less than a couple on a pension. I’m not saying couples on a pension only don’t have it tough, because they do. It costs them more for food, for hot water etc, but I know couples who are on a pension and, by their own admission, they are better off than a single pensioner, especially a single female pensioner.
So, what major party will finally take notice of us, will try to fix this? What party will not only try to fix the problems the young will encounter, but will look at the immediate problem? Us, the pensioner, whether it is a man, a woman, a single or a couple, we are here now and in dire straits. I don’t want a handout, but I want a fair go. I don’t want to have to live in poverty, in badly run or overcrowded nursing homes. I don’t want to be put in bad and sometimes unsafe public housing. Politicians don’t worry about us because it doesn’t affect them. It never will with their retirement perks. They will not have to worry about the rent or the power money so they don’t worry too much about fixing it. After all, we will all be dead soon right? Then we won’t see the botch up they will make for our future generations.
So does it matter which party governs? Will anything change? Will they ever listen to us? I suspect we are just not important enough. I for one say start listening to us. I want a future, yes, a future. I and many others like me, plan on being here for a long time to come. How hard is that to understand?
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