We are the aged. Hear us

Sunday columnist Peter Leith is 89 and says he is ‘half-deaf and half-blind’. He faces daily challenges but he makes every day – and every word – count. He is offended by reports that older Australians are “a burden on the taxpayer”. This is his response to that statement and his manifesto on how to treat older Australians.


Hear us. We are the more than three million Australians over the age of 65.

Hear us: We are taxpayers and have been ever since we were old enough to work, earn and spend money.

Hear us: We may be in a retirement village or low-care hostel from choice or because of increasing frailty or some physical limitations, but we are not necessarily mentally or intellectually handicapped in any way, so, please, do not treat us as if we are.

Hear us: We do not care for the booming, loud-voiced helpers who sweep into the day room and bellow, “How are we all today dears!” Nor do we like those who do not actually say that but adopt a similarly condescending manner.

Hear us: We ask for and insist on resident representation on the management committees of every aged-care facility.

Hear us: We all have skills, talents and life experiences that can benefit the community environment in which we now live.

Hear us: We neither like being, nor want to be, treated like backward children.

Hear us: The most common form of ‘elder abuse’ is not sexual or physical but disempowerment.

Hear us: We are the shape of your future, if you live long enough.

Do you have anything to add to Peter’s manifesto? Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Peter’ in the subject line.

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