OLD people prefer to live in their own homes or within the family system.
However, there is a growing number who are being forced to live in private accommodation or in some form of institutional care home because their immediate family care givers have migrated or they have been deserted as a result of internal family disagreements.
For those in good health, with adequate income and suitable housing, the main need is the knowledge that assistance will be available should it be required.
These are the views of older people made known to the Fiji Council of Social Services in its Aged Demands Action (ADA) 2012 Fiji Consultations.
The consultations report, which is a cornerstone for the proposed United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Older People, was presented by FCOSS to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau in Suva on Monday.
"Older people are likely to have special needs," said the report.
"As they provide a focus for the strength and security of the community and are critical in the transmission of cultural heritage to future generations, it is important that support services be available locally, enabling all elders to remain within their communities.
"This is important to both the older people and to the wider community. The cost of housing is a major determinant of the economic security of older people."
The report said the ADA consultations had once again flagged the issue that the older people's financial security had been shaken to the core and had seriously reduced because of the recent cuts in pension.
"Home ownership provides a substantial buffer against poverty as related by the focused group discussions that, after paying for housing, the incidence of poverty is far lower for older home owners than for renters.
"Housing is a very critical and sensitive issue in old age and strong views were expressed that all public housing projects must be culturally and elderly friendly, that is, enough rooms for aged parents to live independently with dignity and free of abuse within the family."