Australia ranks low for retirement income security

February 4, 2014 | Aged Care Management

The elderly populations of most countries depend on financial support during retirement, for everything from bills to transport. A new HelpAge International index has found that Australia ranks substantially lower than other nations.

On October 1, the UN International Day of Older Persons, HelpAge launched the Global AgeWatch Index 2014. This new database ranks 96 countries according to both the social and economic well-being of seniors.

Australia came 13th overall, but the country came 61st for income security for older Australians. This is the lowest possible ranking in the region.

In addition, Australia is near the top for old age poverty in the region, with the pension rate below average.

"The launch of the GlobalAge index should be a wake up call to the Australian Government – especially on their proposals for the age pension," Council on the Ageing Chief Executive Ian Yates stated.

"While it is pleasing to see we rate well on health and employment, the income security of Australia's older people is comparable to that of Thailand (58th), Ecuador (56th) and Bolivia (55th)."

It's essential that the government take action now, in order to ensure the elderly population have the correct level of care.

Taking action

Action is going to need to change in the near future, especially as the aged population grows with no sign of slowing down. An older majority will require strong financial support.

Living on a small income could mean sacrifices in not just day-to-day necessities, but medical products as well.

Aged care providers will certainly play a large role in the sector over the next few years, providing the necessary care and support for residents. New facilities with flexible care and accommodation options could be the best alternative to living on a small pension outside of a home.

"What's needed is an overall strategy and responsibility for ageing policy at the Federal level," Mr Yates said.

"[This is a] pretty poor reflection on how we are managing retirement incomes in this country."

It's essential that appropriate planning is undertaken now to prepare for the rapidly growing elderly Australian population, so providers can offer the necessary level of care. Failure to do so could result in further drops in the Global AgeWatch Index.

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