OLD people desire to lead active, respectful, productive and independent, secure, dignified lives and enjoy relatively good health.
However, financial and health security in old age are the two major problems faced by Fiji's seniors.
This was the conclusion after two months of extensive nationwide consultations by the Fiji Council of Social Services' Help Age Centre under its Age Demands Action program.
During Senior Citizens Day celebrations in Suva on Monday, FCOSS presented its report on the ADA consultations to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
"The voices of the senior citizens in all consultations were unanimous that it was time for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Older Persons," the report said.
"It was necessary because of the growing number of elderly, the weakening state of their inadequate allowances and pensions and in the case of rural seniors with absolutely no pension of any kind.
"There was unanimous agreement on the fact that all seniors who are not on any pension, that they be given a minimum of at least $1000 per month and those on some sort of pensions be given at least $500 per month as 'social pension' with immediate effect."
The report said there was a further call for total exemption of Value Added Tax and all forms of taxation on the income of seniors.
The findings revealed that the dramatic ageing of the population presented the family, the community, civil society and the government with both challenges and opportunities.
"Older people of all ethnicity have similar needs and expectations to those of other older people, though language, religious, cultural and dietary needs may require additional provisions," the report said.