Melville seniors forum with Minister for Seniors and Ageing focuses on safety, inclusion and aged care services


Council of the Ageing director Bob Kucera, Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley and Minister for Seniors and Ageing Mick Murray. Picture: Jon Hewson
Council of the Ageing director Bob Kucera, Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley and Minister for Seniors and Ageing Mick Murray. Picture: Jon Hewson

SAFETY, inclusion and aged care services were all in the spotlight at a seniors forum attended by Minister for Seniors and Ageing Mick Murray on Tuesday.

Close to 100 people packed Kadidjiny Park Hall for the event, which brought older residents face-to-face with Mr Murray, Palmyra Police Station officer-in-charge Gavin Radice and Council of the Ageing (COTA) chief executive Mark Teale and director Bob Kucera.

Mr Kucera, a former police officer and Labor minister, spoke primarily about safety and crime prevention.

He said statistically seniors were far less likely to fall victim to crime than other segments of the population but advised elderly people to leave their wallets, keys and other valuables in an easily locatable place in their homes to minimise the risk of confrontation and burglaries turning violent.

He also advised seniors to catch public transport and complete their weekly shop in a group if possible, as well as to use the ATMs inside shopping centres rather than out on the street.

One area where seniors are disproportionately targeted for crime is online scams and Mr Kucera said seniors should exercise extreme caution when using the internet.

“Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is,” he said.

“You might think that you’re speaking online with a handsome widower but it’s far more likely to be a Nigerian scammer.”

He finished by suggesting everyone get to know their neighbours and set up a “telephone tree” so that everyone in the suburb is quickly alerted and turns on their outside lights whenever there is an incident.

Senior Sergeant Radice said the perception was far worse than the reality when it came to crime against seniors and that there had been a 19 per cent reduction in offences in the Palmyra sub-district, which covers the majority of the City of Melville, in the past year.

Mr Murray said the days of society ignoring people aged 60+ were over and that the State Government had an important role to play in helping to provide access to physically and mentally stimulating activities for seniors.

He also praised the City of Melville as one of the councils leading Australia in the establishment of age-friendly communities.

Responding to a question about the lack of information provided to recently diagnosed dementia patients and their carers, Mr Murray said he was working on addressing the lack of cohesion between medical and aged care services.

Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley organised the forum and said that seniors were a vital part of any community.

“I have been out talking to seniors in the electorate and I look forward to more opportunities to engage and learn more about the issues that are important.”