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With a growing population of over-65s in New Zealand, Age Concern, the national service for older people, is facing ever more demand for its services. Those demographic changes are reflected in the Manawatu region, observed Greg Thorburn, a local allocation team member for United Way, one of The Tindall Foundation’s Funding Managers.
“This is also due to older people leaving big cities for smaller cities and towards the Kapiti Coast for an easier and more affordable lifestyle,” Greg said. “But in doing so they may lose support from family and friends and become isolated.”
From its Levin office, Age Concern Horowhenua is reaching some 700 older people, plus their families, carers and allied professionals. It is the leading provider of services for the elderly in Horowhenua, but with a staff of only 2 full-time workers and 26 volunteers, its resources are stretched.
To help address this demand, The Tindall Foundation donated $6027 to extend employment of its part-time Manager to 20 hours a week. Anna Auty, Social Worker, acknowledged the difference this has made: “The increasing need in the community for our services had become difficult to manage without having the Manager working longer hours.”
Age Concern Horowhenua’s office in Levin is now open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., enabling it to reach more clients in the region. Key deliverables are the Accredited Visitor service for isolated older persons, a Staying Safe programme for older drivers, and information and advocacy services.
In one area of growing need, Age Concern Horowhenua offers the Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Service (EANP), working closely with older people and their families. EANP services extend to education around elder abuse and neglect for people working with and caring for older people, plus public awareness activities to encourage early identification and prevention.
At the time of its evaluation by United Way, Age Concern Horowhenua was dealing with 56 cases of elder abuse. Nationwide, EANP services receive over a thousand referrals a year relating to alleged abuse or neglect of older people.
At The Tindall Foundation, we hope to support and enhance the lives of the most disadvantaged people in our communities. Age Concern Horowhenua is improving the prospects of older people by connecting with those who are vulnerable, then empowering and supporting them.
Alan Birrell, Age Concern Horowhenua Board Member, said that the additional financial support has enabled a lift in service delivery to the current level. “With significant demographic changes and larger numbers of people over 65, there is going to be a greater call on the services to prevent elder abuse and neglect,” he said.
For more information contact:
Anna Auty, Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Worker
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