Healthy ageing is key — Simmons-Wade
A failure to deal with the problem of ageing population will have social, political and economic impacts that far outweigh the cost of keeping seniors healthy, a senator warned yesterday.
Ianthia Simmons-Wade said: “Supporting and encouraging healthy ageing makes the healthcare system more sustainable.
“Healthy ageing can delay and minimise the severity of chronic diseases in later life therefore saving health costs, reducing hospitalisation and also reducing the need for long term care.”
Ms Simmons-Wade was speaking as she gave an update on the Ageing Well Committee at a virtual Senate sitting.
The junior health minister and chairwoman of the committee outlined five areas that needed “more action”.
She highlighted the need to encourage physical activity and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle, social connectedness, healthy eating, falls prevention and tobacco control.
Ms Simmons-Wade said that the Ageing Well Committee was working on a framework of strategic planning with “action items” in areas of healthcare, health insurance, psycho-geriatric services, rehabilitative services, geriatric care, end of life care and chronic disease management.
She added: “Government stakeholders and non-government stakeholders have been identified based on these specific action items in order to encourage, support collaboration, coordination and actions across government and the community.”
Marcus Jones, an Opposition senator, asked if the committee would play any part in the provision of meals to seniors over the pandemic, as had been done by organisations including The Loren Hotel, Butterfield Bank and churches.
Ms Simmons-Wade said it was not part of the committee's remit to organise meals, but that it supported the continuation of food programmes for the elderly.