Jenny Pearce, manager of the Napier CAB.
There is no doubt that people are living longer.
In 1900 the average life expectancy was 47 years and as recently as 1950 it was only 58 years. Today, it’s a whole different story.
According to Worldometer, the average life expectancy of a male or female living in New Zealand is nearly 83 years. This is great news, but it means that there are more and more people who need support and care because they are unable to do everything on their own.
So what is this medium and where can you find it?
A major decision for some seniors concerns the opportunities and constraints offered by their current home. Does this mean that it is better for an elderly person to stay in their current home or to move? This could mean downsizing or moving to a care or retirement home.
There is a website called mychoices.goodhomes.co.nz. This site has a lot of information, including stories about some people’s experiences.
There is also a decision support tool that can help seniors think about the future. The future for many can be very complex and confusing.
The website says this tool can be used by individuals, or those working with their family or whanau, friend, service provider, or needs assessor. The opportunities offered can be for anyone living anywhere in New Zealand, whether they are renting or owning their own home.
Many seniors decide to stay in their own home for a variety of reasons. For these people, there is plenty of support if you know where to find it.
The following examples relate to people contacting Citizens Advice for help with caring for an elderly relative or friend.
A man phoned to ask his elderly parents to go shopping because driving is becoming stressful. They are nervous and anxious about using something new.
Hawke’s Bay Area Council has a Total Mobility Program which upon assessment will provide a travel voucher booklet entitling the assessee to a 50% discount on passenger service fares.
There are guidelines on how to use vouchers, including service providers and many common questions people ask. A photo ID card is given to the driver whenever necessary.
The assessment can be arranged by several agencies including Age Concern Napier, telephone 06-842 1346; Dementia Hawke’s Bay, phone 06-834 0417 or Stroke Central Regional Napier, 0800 298 858.
For more information on this scheme, call 06-83592200 and ask for Total Mobility, see the hbrc.govt.nz website. or contact Citizens Advice Bureau Napier, 06-835 9664.
An email arrived one morning from a client requesting gardening services for her mother who is now 88 and cannot cope.
A safe neighborhood website called Neighborly designed for everyone and their neighbors was provided. It connects people to small businesses, like gardeners, who can help and help. Email neighborly.co.nz and provide the location required.
The following link to our CAB website gives more general information if you are struggling to take care of yourself. https://www.cab.org.nz/article/KB00001605
A caller called asking for help choosing a phone that can store pre-programmed numbers and is suitable for the elderly. The lady also wanted to know where she could get help with her cell phone. She doesn’t use it very often and has forgotten a lot. Different phones have been discussed depending on his specific needs.
She was advised to go to Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming to speak to a salesperson and explain to them what she was looking for. To help the client with her mobile phone, she was advised to call senior net or visit their website seniornet.nz/profile/Napier/
There are many organizations that can help seniors.
Age Concern runs an Accredited Visiting Service, which is a friendship service connecting lonely or socially isolated older people with volunteers who want to get to know them.
All volunteers are police vetted, trained and have time to spend in conversation or activities with an older person. For more information, call Age Concern Napier on 06 842 1346.
If you, or someone you know, are finding it increasingly difficult to take care of yourself or themselves, there are options.
There are many organizations and support agencies that provide home support for seniors to help them manage as safely and independently as possible. Home support services may include:
• Help with showering, dressing, taking medication
• Help with cleaning, meal preparation
• Equipment to help with home security
• Assistance to the person’s caregiver
For those eligible, home support services are funded by the Department of Health or District Health Board and are available through licensed providers. Needs Assessment and Service Coordination assesses individuals’ eligibility and needs and, where appropriate, arranges appropriate home support services.
If you, or someone you know, are not eligible for state-funded home care, you will need to arrange and pay for the services yourself. The cost varies depending on the provider and the services required. You can search for a home help provider:
• On the Internet using terms such as elderly care, home care, home support, elderly care
• On the Association for Home and Community Health website.
Citizens Advice Bureau Napier can also help you find a suitable supplier.
If you would like more information or advice on any of the above points, please contact us by telephone or e-mail.
■ Anyone wishing to seek advice can contact the Napier Citizens Advice Bureau at Bower House, Bower St, Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm on 06 835 9664 or 0800 367 222 or email [email protected] Currently, we do not take clients face-to-face. Confidentiality is always assured.