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Ocean Shores Retirement Village redevelopment

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister of Health

Ocean Shores Retirement Village redevelopment

Good morning and thank you for inviting me here today to celebrate the $10 million redevelopment of your apartment complex.

The redevelopment work has been completed to ensure Ocean Shores Retirement Village in Mount Maunganui is a safe and healthy place to live.

Overseeing the 10 month long redevelopment, while still ensuring the wellbeing of your residents, must have been no easy task and I congratulate you on this achievement.

Ocean Shores is owned by Lend Lease who is the largest owner and operator of retirement villages in Australasia.

In addition to Ocean Shores, Lend Lease owns and operates four other retirement villages in New Zealand.

The Challenges Ahead

Research suggests around 5 per cent of New Zealanders over the age of 65 and 9 per cent over the age 75 live in retirement villages.

Our rate is less than other Western countries – the US for example has 12 per cent of over 65 year olds living in seniors’ villages.

If rates in New Zealand stayed constant, demand for retirement village units would nearly double by 2031 from 24,000 today to 44,500 because of the baby boomers. And if they increase to a rate similar to the US, it would quadruple demand.

This government is working hard to ensure we make the right decisions now so our health and support systems can meet this increased demand.

This approach is also crucial in the private sector. And I commend the management of Ocean Shores for making the decision to invest in the future of your facility.

Health initiatives for active and independent older people

We know that we have an increasing population of older people. But we also know older New Zealanders are working and remaining active members of their communities well past retirement age.

Recent Census data shows 40 per cent of 65 to 69 year olds and 21 per cent of 70 to 74 year olds were in fulltime or part-time employment in 2013.

As older people remain independent for longer, we want to make sure they are also fit and active, to help maintain their physical and mental health.

The Ministry of Health has nutrition and exercise guidelines for general practitioners to use, to help them support their elderly patients to eat healthily and exercise safely.

These guidelines work well alongside initiatives like Green Prescriptions, where a doctor prescribes exercise as a way to improve a person’s health.

I see here at Ocean Shores you have a wide range of facilities available, from a swimming pool to bowls, to help keep you active.

But we also know that many older people do need extra support. This is why the Government is investing in a health and support services for older people, from community services to rest home care.

Health initiatives for older people

A person’s first contact with the health system is usually through their general practice. So the Government is working to strengthen and support primary care to provide the best possible care, closer to home.

For example, in 2012/13, the Government invested $50 million in the Care Plus programme, which helps people who have multiple long-term health conditions. This programme gives people extra support and reduces the cost of health services. There are approximately 86,125 people over 65 years of age benefitting from Care Plus.

Many older people also benefit from the Community Services Card scheme, which reduces the cost of some services such as after-hours doctor visits, emergency dental care, and home help for those who are eligible.

Similarly, the Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card ensures that no person or family pays more than $100 a year for prescriptions. This scheme is a real help to older people with multiple or long-term conditions.

Thanks to this government’s commitment to increase the number of people receiving elective surgery, more older New Zealanders are receiving elective surgery, such as hip operations and cataracts.

Elective surgery makes a real difference to patients and their families – it reduces pain, increases independence and improves their quality of life.

Since 2008, the number of people aged 65 and over receiving elective surgery has increased by 18,707 people, or 39 per cent. In 2013, 42 per cent of all elective surgery was performed on this age group.

We recently announced we are investing an extra $10 million to provide more New Zealanders with elective surgery. This funding will mean over 1,800 extra patients will receive elective surgery by the middle of this year

In addition to these national initiatives, district health boards are also working to make sure that primary care can provide the best care to older people. For example, district health boards are using the expertise of geriatricians and nurse specialists in primary care, and are working to up-skill general practitioners in areas such as diagnosing dementia.

Together, all of these initiatives show that our whole health system is working to support older people.

Investment in health services for older people

The Government is also committed to funding health services specifically for older people who have increasing needs for care and support.

Since taking office in 2008 the Government has continued to invest in initiatives to support older New Zealanders.

Approximately $928 million was spent on aged residential care and $269 million was spent on home-based support services last financial year.

In Budget 2013, the Government dedicated an extra $70 million to aged care and dementia. This new funding has gone towards initiatives such as rest home bed subsidies, home-based support services and dementia care.

These funding commitments are important in ensuring we meet the increasing demand that our ageing population will place on our aged care services. So far, we are keeping up with demand, which is good news.

In addition to new funding, we are also working to improve the quality of services people receive.

Changes to the auditing and reporting regime for rest homes and home support services mean that we can be more confident that these providers are providing safe, high quality care to our most vulnerable older people.

We have also introduced the interRAI assessment system for home-based support services and aged residential care. This system provides an older person with a comprehensive assessment of their needs so that they receive care and services that work best to increase their independence.

We have also made supporting people with dementia a real priority. District health boards are currently coordinating services for these people into a clear supportive pathway, from diagnosis to the end of life, to make the health system easier to use and navigate for older people with dementia and their families.

The Government is working hard to support all our older people, including active and independent older people like yourselves, and our older people who need more intensive support.

Once again, I would like to thank the staff and residents of Ocean Shores Retirement Village for inviting me here to celebrate the redevelopment of this facility.

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