Aged care is a feminist issue. Not only do women make up most of the aged but we make up most of the paid and unpaid carers of the aged. As a result with a few exceptions, we have limited means and are dependent on pensions and government financial support of aged care services.
Areas which require research and advocacy are the pension, financial and living conditions in nursing homes, the abuse of the elderly, the need for financial advice independent of children, eg. re reverse mortgages as well as community support.
A major concern for WEL is the abuse of older people. CLICK on “Financial Abuse of the Elderly“
Financial Security and maintenance of living standards.
Most women who are now in their sixties worked in low wage jobs and had little time in the workforce. Most of their work in the home and family was unpaid but subsidised the paid work of their partners or children. As a result many older women, who are now alone are facing a longer life than men but have less saved in superannuation schemes to support themselves in their old age.
WEL will be lobbying for maintenance and increase in the old age pension and making sure that the needs of women are not overlooked in the worldwide move to make superannuation the source of maintenance in old age. WEL will also give voice to older women and raise their profile from their current invisibility, particularly in regard to economic issues and living conditions.
WEL will lobby for older women as we did for younger women in the 70’s.
On 24 February 2005 the Taskforce on Care Costs launched its report: Creating Choice – Employment and the Cost of Care. The Taskforce found that the high cost of care (for children, elders and people with a disability) has a direct relationship with levels of workforce participation and:
one in four workers is likely to leave the workforce because of the cost of care;
- one in four workers has already reduced their hours of work because of the cost of care.
The Taskforce has called on the Federal Government to address these issues, and implement five key recommendations. If you would like to add your voice, go to www.neeopa.org, download the Taskforce’s e-card (with the five key recommendations) and send it to the Prime Minister, Treasurer and/or Minister for Family and Community Services. You can also download the Taskforce’s report from the neeopa website.
The Australian Women’s Coalition produced a survey. CLICK on “The Caring Sandwich–Caring for Young and Old–The Price Women Pay” for its conclusions and recommendations.