What we can learn about support from Third World nations

Sunday columnist Peter Leith is 92 and angry. We’ll let him explain why.


Within 500 metres of where I sit, there are seven three- and four-bedroom homes occupied by one, or at most, two, elderly people. 

Several who live alone are a danger to themselves.

With similar scenarios playing out all over Australia, we’re told that there is a housing shortage! House prices continue to go through the roof and the urban sprawl accelerates at an ever-increasing pace.  

What is wrong with us, as people and as a nation?

Do we have no responsibility to our society, our country and, indeed, to ourselves. For we, too, will one day be old!

Read: Nana and the family home

In many other – in my view more advanced countries – shared housing, for all ages, is a fact of life. In Australia, share housing is commonplace, but only among the young, single or economically hard-pressed.

In Third World countries, shared and multi-generation housing is a fact of life. But it seems we are too smart to learn from them.

A couple of our neighbours who live alone are a serious danger to themselves. But no-one, not even their children who hope to inherit the valuable real estate, actually do anything to help and support them.

What is wrong with us that we care so little, and do even less, about a problem that exists and is growing exponentially throughout Australia.

Read: A packaging pandemic

All round our huge coastline there are ‘retirement regions’ that have two things in common – they are under-populated and have an ever-increasing and ageing population.

We really are a terribly wasteful nation – not satisfied with wasting our skills and natural resources, we are now wasting the land itself. We would have done better to leave this country to the Indigenous people. They did not waste it as we do and took pretty good care of their elders.

Do you agree with Peter? Would share housing be the answer to many issues? Are older people abandoned? Why not have your say in the comments section below?

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