Age Concern presents 4 people with Dignity Champions Awards
Media release – October 2, 2013
Age Concern presents four people with Dignity Champions Awards
Age Concern New Zealand's 2013 Dignity Champion Awards recipients, from left, Dunedin's Jan Christie, North Shore City's Gordon Michie and Auckland's Bronwyn Groot of BNZ. Absent: Kay Chapman of Nelson.
Making a positive difference to the lives of older New Zealanders has earned four people national acknowledgement by Age Concern.
At an event in Wellington on Tuesday’s International Day of Older Persons and also to mark the first anniversary of the charitable organisation’s Dignity and Respect Campaign, Age Concern’s Patron, Judge Ken Mason, presented the four Dignity Champions Awards for actions reflecting the values of the campaign.
There was one national category award, presented to BNZ security and fraud coordinator Bronwyn Groot, of Auckland, as well as three community awards, for Dunedin’s Jan Christie, North Shore City’s Gordon Michie and Nelson’s Kay Chapman.
Judge Mason said that it was while Bronwyn Groot was employed as a teller at BNZ that she became concerned at the number of older people being financially abused.
“She began helping people to avoid financial abuse and scams by talking to groups of older people in her own free time. The value of Bronwyn’s voluntary work was recognised by BNZ, which created a new position for her as Financial Elder Abuse Prevention Specialist. Since then she has moved into her current position and recently spoke at Age Concern New Zealand’s 2013 conference.”
Nominated by Age Concern Otago, Jan Christie is a peer leader of two Strength and Balance falls prevention classes, after starting one herself in 2007.
Judge Mason explained that Jan has been very active in promoting these classes with individuals, medical centres and researchers.
“Jan is also a member of the Otago Partners for Elder Care, helping review printed material for use by older people. She has also been a Meals On Wheels driver for over two years and most recently took on a role as a conversation assistant for Age Concern Otago’s English For Elders programme.”
Judge Mason said Gordon Michie, who was nominated for his award by Age Concern North Shore, has given outstanding service within the organisation for more than 20 years and is now a life member.
He has also served his community through the Hearing Association, a Neighbourhood Support, Tinnitus Association, Arthritis Association, COGS, Disability Information Advisory Group, Disabled Persons Assembly, and the Prescott Club.
“I am told that Gordon is a person who models dignity and respect every day,” Judge Mason said.
And, nominated by Age Concern Nelson, Kay Chapman’s involvement with the organisation has been paramount in ensuring strong and viable services to older people in the region.
Judge Mason said Kay had used her business experience and volunteered to help restructure and re-establish Age Concern Nelson to ensure its vibrant future.
Age Concern national president Evelyn Weir said the aim of the Dignity and Respect Campaign is to engender social cohesion around a set of basic principles.
“These are to value and respect people of all ages, that everyone is able to grow old with dignity, and that a healthy society looks after its most vulnerable members,” she said.
“One year on the work continues and throughout the country we have been recruiting a network of Dignity Champions to become part of Age Concern’s extended community. To date, our campaign has been extremely well-received and the number of Dignity Champions is increasing steadily.”
Mrs Weir said Dignity Champions pledge to reject stereotypes and focus on the uniqueness of every individual; speak up when they hear people speaking negatively about growing old; question practices they feel are disrespectful to older people; never patronise older people; be patient, polite and friendly; have zero tolerance for abuse or neglect; and be relationship builders and get to know the older people in their life.
For more information on the campaign, visit ageconcern.org.nz/dignity