CAB offers support for older persons

Napier CAB manager Jenny Pearce.

There is no doubt people are living longer.

In 1900, the average life expectancy was 47 years old and as recently as 1950, it was only 58. Today, it’s a completely different story.

According to Worldometer the average life expectancy for a man or a woman living in New Zealand is nearly 83. This is great news but it means there are more and more people needing support and care because they are unable to do everything for themselves.

So, what is this support and where can you find it?

A major decision for some elderly people is about the opportunities and constraints provided by their current home. Does this mean it is better for an elderly person to stay in their current home or move? This could mean downsizing or moving into 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 which can help older people 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 family or whanau, a friend, a service provider or needs assessor. The opportunities given can be for anyone living anywhere in New Zealand whether they rent or own their own home.

Many older people 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 are about people contacting Citizens Advice asking for help regarding the care of an elderly relative or friend.

A man phoned wanting options for his elderly parents getting to the shops, as driving is becoming stressful. They are nervous and anxious about using something new.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has a Total Mobility Scheme which, after an assessment, will give a book of travel vouchers which entitle the person assessed to a 50 per cent discount on passenger service fares.

There are guidelines on the conditions of use of the vouchers, including service providers and many of the common questions people ask. A photo ID card is given to show the driver each time required.

The assessment can be organised by several agencies including Age Concern Napier, phone 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 phone 06-83592200 and ask for Total Mobility, look at the website hbrc.govt.nz. or contact Citizens Advice Bureau Napier, 06-835 9664.

An email arrived one morning from a client enquiring about gardening services for her mother who is now 88 and cannot manage.

A secure neighbourhood website called Neighbourly designed for everybody and their neighbours was given. This connects people with small businesses, such as gardeners, who can help and assist. Email neighbourly.co.nz and put in the location required.

The following link to our CAB website gives more general information if you are finding it hard to look after yourself. https://www.cab.org.nz/article/KB00001605

A caller phoned wanting help with choosing a phone that could store pre-programmed numbers and suitable for seniors. The lady also wanted to know where she could get help with her mobile phone. She doesn’t use it very often and has forgotten a lot. Different phones were discussed looking at her specific needs.

She was advised to go into Harvey Norman or Noel Leeming to talk to a salesperson and explain to them what she was looking for. To help the client use her mobile phone, she was advised to call senior net or look on their website seniornet.nz/profile/Napier/

There are many agencies who can support elderly people.

Age Concern manage an Accredited Visiting Service, which is a befriending service matching older people who are lonely or socially isolated to volunteers who would like to get to know them.

All the volunteers are police checked, trained, and have time to spend in conversation or activities with an older person. To find out more phone Age Concern Napier 06 842 1346.

If you, or someone you know, is finding it increasingly hard to look after yourself or themselves there are options.

There are many support organisations and agencies that provide home support for older people to help them manage as safely and independently as possible. Home support services can include:

• Help with showering, dressing, taking medication

• Help with cleaning, meal preparation

• Equipment to help with safety at home

• Help for the person’s carer

For people who qualify, home support services are funded by the Ministry of Health or the district health board and are available through approved providers. The Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination assesses eligibility and needs of individuals and, if appropriate arranges for suitable home support services.

If you, or someone you know, is not eligible for publicly funded home support, you will need to organise and pay for the services yourself. The cost will vary depending on the provider and what services are required. You can search for a home support provider:

• On the internet using terms such as elder care, home care, home support, senior care

• On the Home and Community Health Association’s website.

Citizens Advice Bureau Napier can also help find a suitable provider.

If you want more information or advice on any of the above, please contact us by phone or email.

■ Anyone who wants to ask for advice can contact the Napier Citizens Advice Bureau in Bower House, Bower St, Monday to Friday 9am-4pm on 06 835 9664 or 0800 367 222 or send an email to [email protected] Currently, we are not taking face to face clients. Confidentiality is always assured.