Rhonda Parker

Rhonda Parker


    Community urged to use Seniors' Week to help dispel myths about ageing

    1/11/1999 11:26 AM

      Seniors’ Minister Rhonda Parker has called on the community, business and the media to use Seniors’ Week to help dispel the myths and stereotypes surrounding ageing and to focus on positive ageing initiatives to improve the quality of life for our seniors.

      In launching Seniors’ Week in the city today, Mrs Parker said the International Year of Older Persons had been very successful in raising the awareness on seniors’ needs and the ageing of our population.

      “Many commonly held beliefs about seniors are wrong and disproved by research,” she said.

      “In Western Australia 37,178 seniors (14.7 per cent) are employed either full or part -time. More than three in four seniors own outright, or are purchasing, their own home and only around one in 20 seniors live in a nursing home or hostel for the aged.

      “Nearly one quarter of volunteers in WA are aged 55 years or more.

      “Seniors own 74 per cent of the nation’s wealth and those over 50 represent more than 33 per cent of the voting population.

      “Seniors make an incredible contribution to our society and the commonly held myth that older people are a burden on society is clearly false.

      “The State Government has a vision of a society where age is no barrier, where there is acceptance and respect between people of all ages, where seniors are valued and where ageing is a positive and rewarding stage of life.”

      The emphasis of Seniors’ Week this year is on activities that reflect the State theme for the International Year of Older Persons - a Western Australia for all Ages.

      “More than a quarter of the 570 events in Seniors’ Week promote communication and understanding between the generations,” Mrs Parker said.

      She said the Awards of Excellence in Art at the launch of Seniors’ Week involved school children portraying their grandparents.

      “The children who submitted the 320 entries gained a great understanding of their grandparents by thinking about them and expressing that understanding in art,” the Minister said.

      “Later in the week, the Premier will open the Positive Ageing Centre, which will be a centre of excellence conducting research into all aspects of ageing with the aim to improve the quality of life of seniors.

      “The 1999 Senior of the Year will be announced on Friday at a special Gala ceremony at the Duxton Hotel.

      “To enable seniors to attend as many events as possible during Seniors’ Week, the State Government is for the second time providing free travel for seniors on public transport within the Perth metropolitan area and within other cities and towns in rural and regional WA.

      “I urge seniors to take advantage of the free public transport during Seniors’ Week, for example to take part in activities on the popular Perth City Trail.

      “A feature of the trail is the ‘Awards of Excellence’ and ‘Images and Memories’ art exhibition in the foyer of the Bankwest Tower.

      “As major sponsor of Seniors’ Week, BankWest has kindly allowed seniors access to Level 42 of the BankWest Tower to enjoy magnificent views of Perth and to have some refreshments while taking in the panoramic sights.”

      A new event on the Seniors’ Week calendar is the inaugural Seniors Hypothetical to be held in the Alexander Library Theatrette.

      The hypothetical will be hosted by Channel 7’s Gerry Gannon and should prove to be an interesting and serious look at issues affecting seniors and their families.

      Regional WA is also offering a range of seniors’ activities. The Peel Region Seniors’ Expo in Mandurah promises to educate and inform with a myriad of displays and entertainment.

      Official Seniors’ Week towns Port Hedland, Pinjarra, Katanning, Dongara, Merredin and York have also planned a variety of special events and celebrations for Seniors’ Week.

      Mrs Parker said other events in the week included lifestyle lectures, information days, computer courses, a special day at Ascot Racecourse with a seniors’ fashion parade and recreational activities.

      Activities will also be held in more than 20 towns around the State.

      Media contact: Owen Cole 9481 7810