Future plan for ageing population

WITH almost one-in-five people aged over 65, Ballina was the ideal location to host this year’s Australian Association of Gerontology Rural Conference.

The conference, which continues today at the RSL Club, was opened by State Minister for Ageing Paul Lynch yesterday.

He said the Government was ‘getting on with the job’ of planning for the State’s ageing population by designing appropriate housing.

Mr Lynch said the Towards 2030 plan would also link housing assistance programs to relevant support services.

“Commitments include the construction of 2800 new dwellings for older people by 2011,” he said.

“So far, 660 homes have been completed and a further 625 are at various stages of construction.

“As well, more than $42 million has been spent to modify and upgrade public housing to make it more suitable for older people and people with mobility related disabilities.

“Towards 2030 also outlines strategies to help keep people healthy, reduce social isolation and build community harmony.”

Professor Julie Byles, president of the NSW Division of the Australian Association of Gerontology, said this week’s conference had attracted health and aged-care practitioners, policy-makers and researchers.

“The conference will provide the opportunity to discuss some key issues relating to housing and communities for older people,” she said.

Today’s sessions at the conference will cover topics such as mental health, living in retirement villages, dementia and social sustainability.

Keynote addresses will be given by Professor Colleen Cartwright, of Southern Cross University, and Dr Catherine Bridge, an Associate Professor at the Centre for Health Assets Australasia at the University of Sydney.

Prof Cartwright will give a regional perspective on affordable rental housing options for older people.

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