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Australian Government called on to consider the needs of blind and vision impaired people aged 65 and over

Media Release

Vision 2020 Australia has today called on the Australian Government to address barriers to services it has identified for those aged 65 and over who are blind and vision impaired.

CEO of Blind Citizens Australia Emma Bennison said, “People who are blind or vision impaired and aged over 65 are being written off.

“We are locked into an aged care system which has been established to focus on the health-related needs of frail Australians as they age.

“Yet the vast majority of us are still healthy, active and contributing members of our communities when we turn 65.

“There is no doubt we are at serious risk of economic and social disadvantage unless the legislation is amended so that the specific needs of people with disability are prioritised.

“After all, people who are blind or vision impaired have the same right as anyone else to lead a full and productive life whether we are 25 or 75.”

CEO of Vision 2020 Australia Carla Northam agreed, stating, “As the population ages, the number of those affected by low vision and blindness will also grow.

“We encourage the Australian Government to ensure forthcoming Federal Budgets accommodate these needs as a matter of urgency, as this age group is not eligible for support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).”

The Vision 2020 Australia position statement published today outlines the specific measures which are needed for those who are blind or vision impaired in the aged care system.

“These measures are in keeping with the recommendations made in the Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017, led by Mr David Tune AO PSM, which was tabled in Parliament in September, and which the eye health and vision care sector supports,” said Ms Northam.

In its position statement, Vision 2020 Australia called on the Australian Government to implement these measures:

  • Amend the Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Act 2013 to include people with disability, including people who are blind or vision impaired as a special needs group.
  • Appropriately resource and inform aged care assessment to identify and respond to the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired and people with disability more broadly.
  • Ensure that co-payments do not create a barrier for people who are blind or vision impaired in accessing the most appropriate supports and services they need to remain independent and engaged in their community.
  • Develop a nationally consistent aids, equipment and assistive technology program for older Australians to redress the current inequitable access to aids and equipment and assistive technology.

You can read the Position Statement on Aged Care here.

ENDS

For more information: Angela Yin at Vision 2020 Australia 03 9656 2020, 0421 214 710 or ayin@vision2020australia.org.au

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