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Elderly Care

New Zealand - Elderly Care

There is an older people’s health strategy in place in New Zealand which was designed with a number of objectives in mind. These include giving people the opportunity to make informed decisions about their options as they get older and giving them information on the type of care that is available to them, that the authorities will plan health services and support programmes with the elderly in mind, that services will ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in access for these services, that there will be initiatives which will promote healthy living for the elderly, that the elderly should have access to any hospital care that they might need in addition to home-based care and that services will take into account the needs of the family by offering flexible services.

Each district health board has committees which carry out needs assessment and arrange the services required by each individual. If there is deemed to be a need for residential care, the committee is responsible for ensuring that the transition is smooth. These committees have also reduced the number of elderly people who need to be placed in residential care by ensuring that there are more ‘at home’ services available to them such as home helps and nurses visits. The majority of funding available for elderly care is spent on residential care, with other funding being spent on care at home and assessment and treatment services.

It is now the case in New Zealand that it is mainly those who are highly dependent who go into residential care, although there are a number of retirement villages where people live active lives. These are usually available to the over 55s. The accommodation is usually an apartment with access to a wide range of activities and facilities. There are some which have their own clinics and care services if needed although the vast majority of residents in retirement villages do not need every day care.

Those who do need to go into residential homes can often get financial assistance too, although these are based on personal circumstances and applications will need to be made, giving details of income and savings to determine if you qualify.

In recent years due to the economic problems, the care home sector has been badly hit. A number of care homes have been sold off and in some areas there are no residential care facilities. The problems are being dealt with by promoting home care and organising care homes under the umbrella of the New Zealand Aged Care Association. This organisation is responsible for looking after more than 600 residential facilities.

Most care facilities in New Zealand are private but receive government subsidies. These are relatively low in relation to the costs of care and in recent years there have been significant increases in the cost of employing staff. There are also concerns for the future of elderly care in New Zealand as it is expected that some residential care providers will not expand their existing facilities in the next few years. The government has pledged more funding for the elderly care sector over the next few years in order to ease the problem as well as focusing on elderly care generally.

The New Zealand Aged Care Association is an organisation which operates nationally and oversees many residential care services for the elderly. These include residential care such as rest homes, hospitals and specialist services such as dementia care. Short term residential care includes respite care and support for carers. This is the only organisation of its kind in New Zealand and is currently overseeing more than 80% of the residential care options available. The organisation is run by a board of elected officials, all of whom have extensive experience in elderly care and there are 12 branches throughout the country.

The standards of care within care homes are generally very good. All staff must be qualified and experienced and most of those in residential care will have their own room and bathroom, with shared dining and recreational facilities.

Useful Resources

Eldernet (listing of care home and other elderly care services)

New Zealand Aged Care Association
Level 8, Petherick Towers
38 - 42 Waring Taylor Street
Tel: 04 473 3159
Fax: 04 473 3554
Email: office@nzaca.org.nz

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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