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Disability Strategy Of Benefit To Older People

Disability Strategy Of Special Benefit To Older People


“High rates of disability among older people have been created by the policy vacuum within which health and disability support services have had to operate for many years,” says Minister for Disability Issues Ruth Dyson.

"The Government is filling this vacuum with a range of complementary strategies, including positive ageing, the national health strategy, as well as the disability strategy.

“An ageing population does not inevitably mean a more disabled or less healthy population. However, lack of action can cause this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

While most of people with disabilities (84%) had their disability before the age of 65, she said, the likelihood of having multiple disabilities increased with age. Severity of disability was also likely to increase.

Ms Dyson launched the discussion document on the New Zealand disability strategy at Parliament today.

"The discussion document emphasises the need for people with disabilities to have the opportunity to lead active, fulfilling lives. Not only will this improve the quality of life of thousands of New Zealanders, it will help to reduce dependency in later life."

“To achieve improved quantity and quality of life, we must begin to address the relevant issues early on. This means that any policy relating to older people must also relate to tomorrow’s older people.

“The Government's strategies emphasise wellness and independence, both because of the personal benefits to people and because such an approach will reduce costs for disability support services and health care.

“The disability strategy will ensure that the complex needs of older people are recognised. It will also ensure that we develop better ways of funding the multitude of services for older people provided by all government departments and agencies.

“There is no doubt that the current funding arrangements result in missed opportunities to reduce older people's dependence on health and disability services,” says Ms Dyson.

Ends

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