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Editor's view ....
We are really on the Titanic sailing quietly but steadily towards the iceberg.
The mass of ice has been built from:
So many of us; 5 million to retire in the next ten to twenty years thus creating a Skill Shortage as there are not enough young unemployed to replace such numbers and there will be more aged than young Australians for the first time in history
Lack of future employment- baby boomers face the real prospect of never working full time again as many of us take redundancy and leave our secure jobs. Part time or casual maybe the best we can get. Only around 50% of jobs in the current workplace are full time. The rest are part time or casual
Many of us still have financial commitments such as mortgage and education expenses but no income
Our children are still being educated because some married later and some are reluctant to leave the nest as things are too good at home
We will live longer as the average age of death for males and females is now in the early to mid 80s
We will need to draw upon our life savings and superannuation before our golden years so we can live comfortably thus depleting our assets
We will need government benefits earlier than previous generations
We will need more health care, hospitals and nursing homes to cope with our numbers in our old age. Double the pace makers and the artificial hips for instance
Our children will not get their inheritance and will be asked to pay more taxes to provide for us or at least look after us at home but our children are not having as many or any children to pay these taxes
We will have to work longer- OZ PM has already introduced a retirement of 67 in 2023 and now 70 in 2035. Is this the thin end of the wedge? Will the Federal govt force baby boomers to work longer by cutting pensions to those younger than 70 and by hitting self-funded retirees with hefty superannuation taxes until they reach that age?
When we withdraw our investments to live on after retirement, the baby boomer market value will be strong and some will spend large amounts
We will be unable to draw upon our superannuation at the age we choose
Our fitness levels will drop, as we cannot afford gym fees and health will deteriorate
Trillions will be spent on our health by governments yet our teeth are rotting and affecting our health. Free or subsidised dental health is needed
Older age groups do not participate enough in organised sports
There will not be enough age care homes for us so our children will have the privilege of looking after us (pay-back time for us perhaps)?
Bonza will endeavour to address these problems and what we can do about them through research and involvement of government and private bodies that can inform us of which is the best way to go with our lives.
Bonza will have some answers but we would like your opinions and ideas as well. We will then relay them to state and federal leaders.
Founded in 2001 BONZA is all about Baby Boomers who are aged 50 to 68 (born between 1946 - 1964) with over 5 million in Australia (ABS).
We have always been aware of our generation and our uniqueness in that we are a constant worry for our governments due to our numbers and the predicted cost of our ageing process to them.
I don't want to be a burden- do you? Let's prepare ourselves so that does not happen if we can prevent it.
In 2011, the first of the Boomers became eligible for aged pensions and the numbers doubled from the previous year. In the next couple of decades aged care becomes the focus.
Increased health problems will also dominate the annual budgets every year for the next 40 years and the security of single aged females will be another challenge to solve.
We are living longer so governments are encouraging us to work longer, stay healthier and invest our money wisely by planning for our futures.
The Boomer generation is strong on self-help and community spirit and the Boomerang Centres will embrace this culture by coordinating volunteers with those who need assistance. In addition they will provide a meeting place for boomers left in retirement away from family and friends. Further, they will provide affordable (some at no cost) classes and recreation activities to keep retirees healthy and mentally stimulated.
BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER
Most boomers who have just reached retirement age are fitter and stronger than their counterparts in previous generations. Many are looking to a fulfilling retirement, volunteering to help others less fortunate or participating in community projects. But where do you start if you want to volunteer?
Other less fortunate seniors who are not as robust and find themselves away from traditional support groups, such as family and friends when they retire, need help with the basics. Where do they go if they need small chores done that their own health now will not allow them to do themselves?
Boomerang Centres will bring these two groups together.
People in the community who cannot mow or tidy their yards, shop for themselves because of mobility problems or perform many basic tasks without assistance, will be able to register with their local Boomerang Centre for assistance.
Similarly, those seeking to help their retired community members will be able to contact the Boomerang Centre to register their willingness to help.
COMMUNITY LEARNING AND GATHERING HUB
In addition to the self help facet of the Boomerang Centre, the venues will be a real community hub, hosting events and courses which will keep retirees healthy and active.
For those who have no transport to such centres, there will be coordinated volunteer transport to and from the centres.
Courses offered will include:
· Nutrition and Healthy Cooking
· Finance in Retirement
· Computer skills for seniors - getting started and more advanced
· Seniors Fitness – from easy exercise to bootcamps
· Dance and Zumba for fun and fitness
· Introduction to Lawn Bowls or other outdoor activity
· Indoor Bowls
· Coffee Mornings and Chat Groups
BONZA is suggesting to all tiers of government that community clubs (Bowls /Sports /Social / Croquet) be encouraged to become Boomerang Centres.
Community Clubs will be eligible for a State and/or Federal Government Grant to be a Boomerang Centre through their local government Councillor. It is envisaged that these set-up grants will be in the vicinity of $2,000 - $5,000. The grant will be applied for by the Local Councillor in conjunction with a host club to set up a Boomerang Centre in the most effective location within their Ward/District. Where the Councillor sees the need to split the grant to establish more than one Boomerang Centre within the Ward/District this will be allowed.
We are aware of the need to keep costs to government at a minimum and by using three tiers of government through already established networks, there will be little bureaucratic wastage in setting up the scheme.
Initial funding would be used for:
· Purchasing mowers, tools, cleaning equipment etc.
· Promoting the Hub within the local community
· Hiring professionals to provide classes involving seniors
· Purchasing equipment such as indoor bowls mats etc.
Clubs successful in establishing a Boomerang Centre would need to raise their own funds for ongoing running costs of the centre. Their application would outline fundraising measures and would include a five year plan to show how the centre would be funded and grow.
The Boomerang application will need:
· A current established community club which has a strong financial and community base.
· A local committee to plan for the identification and development of a local activities and practices that will enhance the lives of the local Boomers and other retirees.
· Be willing to be accountable for the plan and the administration of the funds to achieve set outcomes that will benefit and engage as many Boomers and retirees as possible.
· The ability to host activities and practices as social events or health and fitness classes, music, craft, community gardening or wider ranging such as engaging security companies who will check on the local retirees who are seen as vulnerable or coordinating the maintenance the properties of retirees who can no longer physically look after their homes.
· Activities will reflect local culture and be flexible in their thinking and planning.
· Ability to raise funds from the community and business sector at large to support ongoing projects in concert with all tiers of government.
BONZA wants to engage Boomers and give them a purpose to stay fit and healthy and support each other through the next four decades.
There will be a tremendous saving for all governments as Boomers spend time and money that they generate whilst supported by small grants in the initial establishment process or a few follow ups if the club is struggling to raise funds due to low socio economic demographics.
They should become self sufficient and set the pace for the Ageing world in successfully engaging the Baby Boomer ageing phenomena that is causing so much angst as it is a developing problem without precedent.
Being engaged keeps you healthier and you will live more comfortably in old age rather than waiting anxiously for death. This is a great opportunity to allow us to help ourselves.
We need to work together to make sure that we have a BONZA life as we age, enjoy each other’s company and leave a positive image of our time on this earth but a partnership with government is essential for accountability and marketing.
Mr Keith Blake of the Red Hill Community Sports Club, 22 Fulcher Rd, Red Hill has offered to be the first Boomerang Centre and in conjunction with Brian Murphy from BONZA will record and monitor the process of establishing a viable Boomer centre so that a package of practices developed and outcomes produced can be shown to other potential Boomerang centres throughout Australia.
Your support of this project would be appreciated by 5 million potential members of Boomerang Centres.