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Wellington initiative aimed to help older people

Wellington initiative aimed at helping older people

Social Development and Employment Minister Ruth Dyson today announced government funding for a pilot programme for the Wellington region that will establish a counselling service for older people.

The Ministry of Social Development and Capital and Coast District Health Board are jointly funding the $327,000, three-year WellElder trial which will offer counselling for older people going through life changes to try and prevent the onset of more severe depression. The project is also supported by the Wellington City Council and several other community organisations.

“International and New Zealand experience highlights the difficulties many older people face in dealing with the often traumatic changes associated with ageing including disability, the deaths of loved ones, shifting homes and social isolation,” said Ruth Dyson.

“WellElder is aimed at reducing the number of older people developing severe depression who then require in-patient care.

“It will be overseen by a broad based management committee including Age Concern, the NZ Association of Gerontology, South East and City PHO, Wesley Care and pastoral-based and private counsellors.”

There will the three options offered to participants including individual counselling at the centre, individual home-based counselling and group based therapy.

“It is expected up to 290 older people will access the pilot over three years with each client receiving up to six counselling sessions.

Wellington MPs Annette King, Marian Hobbs and Peter Dunne have welcomed the new programme, saying it provides a valuable new service for older Wellingtonians.

“WellElder is an innovative community initiative that supports the government’s ‘ageing in place’ strategies to help older people remain in their communities for as long as possible,” said Ruth Dyson

ENDS

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