“Older people can and want to be major contributors going forward. They shouldn’t just be seen as an economic cost. If you look at bringing up children as a purely financial issue, why would you ever do it? It’s an investment. Just because a person’s older doesn’t mean they’re not worth investing in.”
Ian Yates, chief executive of COTA, previously known as the Council on the Ageing.
New Zealanders are living longer, healthier and more active lives. While this is a great reflection on New Zealand as a whole and the standard of living we have, the ageing of our population is often portrayed negatively. This is especially true when you come to look at money. There are far more headlines that are worried about increased costs; including costs of health care, residential care and New Zealand Superannuation and the praise of our public health system that has allowed people to grow old.
There is a negative perception that older people do not make any positive contributions to society however this is far from the truth. The positive contribution that is made by older people to our public, families, employment, volunteering and community, deserves much wider recognition and respect. Older people work, volunteer, provide care and participate widely in community and family life. Many families, communities and organisations depend on older people for their skills, knowledge and experience; older people provide care and support to thousands of others who benefit from their assistance.
With one of the highest rates of over 65’s workforce participation, older New Zealanders are significant economic contributors through taxation, spending and saving. Older people form an important, growing market for the providers of goods and services. Every aspect of New Zealand life is greatly enriched by the active involvement of those over 65.
Let’s value ageing
Information from Age Concern’s Valuing Age research has been republished here. For the original document click here.