OPINION: Older people are knowledgeable and skilled

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By Jo Luxton

I believe that all societies should be measured by the way in which they look after the interests of their youngest and oldest citizens.

Our ageing population is a great achievement.

A growing number of older people are healthier, more educated, and more skilled.

These skills, as you’ll well know, don’t just disappear overnight once you turn 65.

I had a conversation with Nigel Davenport, chief executive of Aoraki Development about this recently – our older people are knowledgeable and skilled and the valuable contribution they make to our society does not cease to exist after reaching retirement.

Throughout South Canterbury there are many older people doing amazing things.

Contributing as leaders, volunteers, mentors, caregivers, parents, grandparents, employers, workers, friends and colleagues . the list goes on!

I had a wonderful visit at Methven House at the beginning of this parliamentary recess.

We didn’t talk politics or legislation or policy, we just chatted about this, that and everything in between.

It was wonderful to learn that Mrs Body had the first rotary milking shed in Ashburton!

The Coalition Government’s Wellbeing Budget delivered a focus of improving the wellbeing of all New Zealanders and their families – and that includes you.

Along with the Winter Energy payment, which started earlier this year, previously we had made doctors’ visits cheaper for around 310,000 superannuitants who have a community services card, and increased the maximum amount paid to the 42,000 more experienced Kiwis who receive an accommodation supplement.

You will also see benefits from our improvements to the SuperGold card.

By the end of 2019 we will have improved access to the SuperGold card, and an easy-to-use app and website, showing you exactly where the card is accepted.

We are committed to helping seniors on fixed incomes to stretch the dollar further, so you can buy the goods and services you need.

If the thought of an app or website scares you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

We are aware that our ageing population and increasing technology change means that some older people who no longer work are getting left behind.

That’s why the Wellbeing Budget is investing in ensuring all senior Kiwis can keep up with their friends and family via digital media.

We are doing this by funding more community organisations to help seniors use and keep up with digital technology, and also ensuring that you are not at a disadvantage as over-the-counter services are reduced.

These are just some of the ways that this Coalition Government is looking after the interests of our older people.

Jo Luxton is a Labour list MP based in Rangitata