News & Events

Having our say on health strategies

November 13, 2018

While healthy ageing is a priority in both the Australian women and men’s draft health strategies, neither strategy specifically mention older people.

The oversight, together with the lack of specific mention and strategies dealing with elder abuse for both women and men, are part of OCAV’s submissions into the issues.

“There are many thoughtful aspects to both strategies, including the need to remove the stigma of ageing, align Medicare Benefit Schedule fees and primary care with older Australians’ need and to apply a gender equity lens to women’s health,” CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

However, the lack of detail around elder abuse for both men and women, as well as the growing incidence of older women’s homelessness and the impact both have on mental and physical health is concerning, OCAV’s submission says.

Sexual health is also omitted from both strategies, despite the rise in relationships emerging from online websites and an increase in STIs among older people.

“We also support the standpoint that healthy ageing should begin from a young age, while healthy, to cement a health approach to life,” Phillip Wohlers said.

He said the importance of wellness was something OCAV promoted throughout its villages, as is evidenced by the many initiatives that each village’s activities committee present for residents.

“There is a heavy emphasis on activity and wellness whether it is armchair exercise, walking groups, or Tai Chi, each of which breaks down potential social isolation, and helps prevent disease and falls. Our recently opened Men’s Shed at Leith Park highlights once again how our residents, staff and volunteers work together on projects that break down barriers and build up mental health,” he said.

OCAV has called on the Federal Government to ensure both strategies are appropriately funded if they are to deliver improved health services, and health outcomes.

Initiatives that address the health needs of one gender should not occur at the expense of the other. Nevertheless Phillip Wohlers emphasises that more initiatives are needed to address the reasons why men are reluctant to engage with GPs, and the consequences of that reluctance, and invest in innovative models of care that overcome these barriers.

Key facts

·       87% of women aged 65 and over have a chronic disease
·       61% of people living with dementia are women, however dementia is the third leading cause of death of men.
·       Men aged 85 years and over have the highest rates of suicide across Australia

Evon makes it a priority to help people make the move into a village as easy as possible. She also works to ensure the new residents feel a strong sense of welcome and belonging.

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