$27 million boost to surgery for seniors to improve quality of life
$32.4 million for community-based mental health care for seniors
Napthine Coalition Government caring for the community
A re-elected Napthine Coalition Government will provide an $85 million package to support the health and wellbeing of senior Victorians, Premier Denis Napthine, Minister for Health and Ageing David Davis and Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge announced today.
“The Coalition Government understands that a key ingredient of staying healthy and happy in older age is to remain active in the community and engaged in the activities that we enjoy,” Dr Napthine said.
“This package for seniors will address a full spectrum of services, including community participation and wellbeing, mental health services, targeted support for Victorians with dementia and their family and carers and increased access to elective surgery and other health care.
The package includes:
$12.1 million to support community participation and wellbeing, including funding for Men’s Sheds and University of the Third Age (U3A) organisations;
$32.4 million to boost community-based mental health care for seniors, a new hotline and information service for children and carers of older people with a mental illness;
$13.5 million to provide better research, early intervention and support for Victorians with dementia, their families and carers; and
$27 million to significantly increase access to specific elective surgeries for seniors, including procedures on hips, knees and cataracts.
Dr Napthine made the announcement at the Alamein Men’s Shed, which will be awarded a grant of $20,000 to allow it to open on Saturdays.
“Men’s Sheds have proven to be a fantastic way of providing men, particularly seniors, with a safe and friendly environment to meet, talk and learn new skills,” Dr Napthine said.
“They are an important way for local communities to combat the challenges of isolation and depression often faced by men.”
Mr Davis said that the package would significantly support the roll out of the Seniors Count! participation action plan launched in October this year.
He said that $4 million would be directed towards the University of the Third Age (U3A).
“This funding will boost the good work and reach of U3A organisations, which help seniors keep brains and bodies active with regular education, social and physical activities,” Mr Davis said.
Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said more than $31 million would be invested in intensive community-based mental health care for older people to be available state-wide.
“People experiencing a mental health issue should be given the opportunity to receive care in the community, rather than having to be admitted to hospital,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“This is particularly true of older Victorians, who often wish to remain in a familiar environment and close to the support of their family and friends.
“Supporting an older relative or friend in managing a mental illness can be a challenging task and the Coalition recognises that an information service will provide assurance and comfort to children and carers of the options available.”
Mr Davis said a re-elected Napthine Coalition will provide a dedicated $6 million dementia research fund.
“This fund will specifically target research for earlier diagnosis and treatment and will position Victoria to leverage additional funding from the Commonwealth’s $200 million dementia fund,” Mr Davis said.
“To support Victorians living with dementia, their carers and families, the Coalition will also provide $7.5 million to boost diagnosis, treatment and support services.”
Mr Davis said a re-elected Napthine Coalition will deliver $27 million to boost surgery places for the most common surgeries accessed by senior Victorians.
“Of this, $25 million will be provided as a once-off, competitive funding pool to significantly increase the number of hip and knee surgeries, and $2 million will be provided for cataract surgery,” Mr Davis said.
Mr Davis also said that a re-elected Napthine Coalition Government will continue its cost of living measures for eligible seniors initiated during the current term of government, including year-round energy concessions, discounted energy plans through energy retailer AGL, stamp duty relief and the introduction of a new Seniors Business Discount Card in 2015 for senior Victorians who are still working full time.
Member for Burwood Graham Watt welcomed the initiative, particularly the $20,000 grant to the Alamein Men’s Shed.
“The Alamein Men’s Shed is a valuable community asset that gives local men a place to meet, establish social networks and work on projects for the good of the community,” Mr Watt said.