Editorial: Pressure on aged shameful

It is a glum portent of things to come, to see that almost 20 per cent of Manawatu's over-65s are still working, not through choice but because they have to support their families.

Age Concern Manawatu manager Sue Gould says older people are often subjected to neglect and emotional blackmail by family members who harangue them into providing financial support.

This trend has forced many to remain in the workforce long after retirement has become a viable option.

These are proud people who want to leave their families something after they die but it appears some of their children are refusing to wait.

If this is as prevalent as Mrs Gould describes then it is a shameful state of affairs indeed. Parents should provide for their children when they are young, and while many are in the position to leave money or property behind after they die, this should not be a prerequisite.

But adults who cling to their parents like leeches need to seriously consider the implications of their actions, especially as many older people are too embarrassed or afraid to admit their own children are putting such pressure on them.

The Older Persons' Profile released by the Palmerston North City Council this week shows that financial and family pressures are not the only problems facing the more-than-9000 over-65s in the city.

This age group is projected to make up more than 20 per cent of the population by 2031, but finding them appropriate housing is likely to be a concern.

The Housing Forum Palmerston North report released last year found that the pressure on small-unit housing would be greater in Manawatu than in other centres. It also raised concerns that students and retiring baby boomers would be competing for the same accommodation.

Outside of retirement villages and some council-owned flats, there will be fewer of these types of houses for older people in 20 years. With such an increase in numbers, the over-65 set is likely to hold a fair amount of political clout, so it might be advantageous for city leaders to investigate the projected lack of appropriate housing.

The problem has been identified and well documented but so far there have been few ideas about how we might fix it.


Two of Manawatu's high-achieving athletes, cyclists Jesse Sergent and Simon van Velthooven, will be at a public event in Feilding tomorrow. Anyone keen on a quick chat or photo with the medal-winning Olympians should be at Manchester Square between 11.30am and 1pm.

Manawatu Standard