Older Women In Financial Stress: Experts

The peak body for older Australians, COTA Australia is calling on governments to address factors that are forcing more and more older Australian women into poverty and homelessness.

The issue will come under the spotlight at the COTA Australia National Policy Forum today when key experts meet in Canberra to look at policies that bridge the gaps between the genders in older Australians.

COTA Australia Chief Executive, Ian Yates, said the financial security and well being of people as they age is related to policies around income and wealth, housing, health and caring. It is more acute in a generation where, historically, fewer women worked, or had broken careers.

“In general, women live longer and have better mental and physical health but they are often much less well prepared financially – particularly if they are single,” he said. “39% of women who live alone are over 70.

“Men tend to be better off financially but are often in poorer health and are more likely to experience social isolation and mental health issues. As well, people’s experiences are influenced by culture, language and where they live.

“With 14% of the Australian population now older than 65 – a 19% increase in just five years and growing rapidly – as a country we need to address the issues impacting seriously on the quality of life for a very large and growing section of our society.”

The COTA Australia National Policy Forum will include panel discussions on workforce participation in an aging population; income and wealth and wealth gaps between older men and women; homelessness, particularly among older single women; and the differences in health and well-being between older Australians.

Keynote speakers at the forum will include:
Renee Leon PSM, Secretary, Australian Government Department of Employment
Helen Dalley-Fisher – Director, Equality Rights Alliance
Adrian Pisarsky – Executive Officer, National Shelter
Ara Cresswell – CEO, Carer’s Australia
Dr Anthony Brown – Men’s Health and Information Research Centre, UWS
Professor Hazel Bateman – Professor Of Economics, University of NSW
Dr Cassandra Goldie – CEO, ACOSS
Cate Wood – National Chair, Women in Super.
The COTA Australia National Policy Forum will be held at the National Press Club, Canberra on Thursday, July 2. The full program is at https://www.cota.org.au/australia/Achieving/national-policy-forum-2015-program.aspx.

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774.

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.