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PSS welcomes Government attention to dementia needs

PSS welcomes Government attention to dementia needs

Presbyterian Support is pleased to note that in announcing an additional $70m allocated to aged care and dementia services in its Budget, the Government acknowledges the coming tidal wave of senior citizens. In the next 15 years the number of New Zealanders aged 65 or older will double.

Robin Campbell, Chair of Presbyterian Support New Zealand, said “The $20m over four years for home support services recognises that fewer people are spending a long time in residential care and need support at home. But with the wide variation in approach taken by DHBs, it is hard to assess how much of the money will find its way to providers so that the chronic underfunding in the sector can be alleviated.”

The focus on dementia care is commendable and $12m increase in bed subsidies over 4 years is also helpful. However, the Grant Thornton review articulated the gap in current to future requirements in bed numbers to be 20% short for dementia care alone, so this additional funding will cover only some of the need.

As advocates for older people, Presbyterian Support staff are seeing increasing numbers of older people living in homes that are not suitable for ‘ageing in place’. These older people are unable to afford to move to commercial retirement complexes because they are only available to those with significant means. As a result people who don’t meet council housing criteria and don’t have sufficient financial resources for a retirement village are forced to remain in unsuitable housing.

“Presbyterian Support is one of the largest non-governmental providers of social services in New Zealand. We work with older people, disabled people, distressed families and young folk. “Our staff see people in great difficulty every day and this money is welcome, but across the whole spectrum of need, I question how significant are the changes that it will fund.” Robin Campbell said.

ENDS


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