26 October 2021
Better Later Life - He Oranga Kaumātua
The Government recently launched Better Later Life Action Plan purports to set out “a pathway for a better future for older New Zealanders,” but what does this mean for you, and why is it needed?
The main foundations behind Better Later Life - He Oranga Kaumātua, are based on seniors living valued, connected and fulfilling lives. With a population that is ageing, and an expected 1.2 million people, or a fifth of the country, who will be aged 65 and over by 2034, planning for the related challenges is certainly needed. Add in a global pandemic, and those challenges become more sharply in focus.
Better Later Life sets out the Government’s commitments for implementing the strategy, and their vision, over the next three years - with a particular focus on employment, housing and digital inclusion. It has been constructed using the guiding principles of valuing people as they age, keeping people safe, recognising diversity, taking a whole-of-life and whānau-centred approach to ageing and taking collective responsibility to plan for later life.
The five key action areas of the Better Later Life are:
- Achieving financial security and economic participation.
- Promoting healthy ageing and improving access to services.
- Creating diverse housing choices and options.
- Enhancing opportunities for participation and social connection.
- Making environments accessible.
Each has a series of indicators to track their implementation and desired outcomes, which can be found here.
In a media release when the strategy was launched, Minister for Seniors, Dr Ayesha Verrall said older workers deserve to be supported to use their skills and experience, and that we need to see suitable housing that meets the diverse needs of older people. The plan also aims to empower older people to embrace technology, while ensuring those who aren’t online are still able to access essential services.
“This work has already begun, including a pilot for older entrepreneurs, research on shared living arrangements, support for Māori to manage and develop housing for whānau as they age, and the successful Digital Literacy Training for Seniors programme,” she said.
“This plan is a collaborative effort, bringing together agencies across central government to deliver better outcomes for older people and contribute to the Covid-19 recovery”.
The plan has been a long time coming, and the onset of the pandemic changed how it would look. Work began on He Oranga Kaumātua in 2019, but when Covid-19 arrived shortly after, it brought with it a major impact on Aotearoa’s older population. This meant a focus on actions the government calls “building back better” and contributing to the country’s recovery. Funding of just under $2 million over four years was allocated in the 2021 Budget for the implementation of the Better Later Life strategy.
In practice, the strategy means seniors will be in a stronger and more supported position as they age, particularly in the key areas mentioned above. It is an effective way to understand the expectations you should be able to confidently hold about living well both now and into the future.
For more information about Better Later Life, visit www.officeforseniors.govt.nz/better-later-life-strategy
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