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Council Column – 22 April 2021 – Councillor Margaret Roles

Apr 21, 2021

The number of older people in the world is the only natural resource that’s actually growing (L Carstensen)

Last week was Youth Week and the transition to Seniors Week saw a merging of these two groups – learning together, playing together & enjoying each other’s company. Tech savvy youth mentored the senior citizens of Hilltops and talented youth and budding entrepreneurs delighted all at the Madd Youth Show and Youth Market Stalls in Young.

It seems that the definition of a senior citizen tends to be a ‘moving target’.

The World Health Organisation believes that most developed world countries characterise ‘old age’ starting at 60 years and above and indeed one can access the NSW seniors’ card if 60 and not in fulltime employment.
For Australia, becoming a senior citizen is most probably tied to the age for a pension; from 1 July, 2021, it is 66 years and 6 months.

But there’s more to age than just a number and our perception of age has changed over time. In practical terms, we are more biologically fit than our great-grandparents and a population of emotionally stable, knowledgeable and relatively healthy older people, which is staying active and connected, is a great resource for any community.

There is growing recognition that older Australians are a vital part of the economy; through continued engagement in the workforce and through their incomes and assets. They (we) also make a valuable contribution to society by volunteering, community work and caring for family.

Seniors, from volunteering at the visitor centre in Murrumburrah, to the community gardens in Boorowa and the Food Hall in Young, are the backbone of most of our cultural, sporting, social and charitable organisations.
We are living longer and everyone has the expectation of becoming a senior citizen. Indeed, it is a tragedy when a life is unexpectedly cut short.

As a community, we need to plan for a continuing senior population – what resources are optimal (perhaps a heated swimming pool?); how can infrastructure be adapted /modified to integrate the needs of senior citizens so that resources are equitable shared; what support services might be needed.

Senior citizens are also those who caretake the stories of our past.

As ANZAC Day approaches there are many seniors who will reflect on close relatives – parents, grandparents and friends who fought in the two great wars of the 20th century.

We are honoured to still have a few WWII veterans to cherish in Hilltops. Their number includes Russell Price, who joined the Royal Australian Navy as an 18yr old and as a senior citizen, contributed greatly to the social capital of our area.

We also acknowledge with respect, the many seniors who served during the Vietnam War and all personnel who have served and continue to serve, in the name of Australia.

On Sunday at all the memorials in our region, wreaths will be laid and as a community that is made up of all ages, we will meet to remember:


Marg Roles