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Conference On Caring For Elderly Opens In Napier


Experts on justice and compassion for older people meet in Napier

A two-day conference on services for older people began in Napier today with speeches by academic experts Dr Satya Brink, of Simon Fraser University (Canada), Dr Matthew Parsons, of Auckland University, and Lin Hatfield Dodds, President of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).

The conference is being held by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) under the title ‘Justice and Compassion in Action’.

“This event sits neatly alongside our recently launched programme for promoting a just and compassionate society, ‘Let Us Look After Each Other, Aroha tētahi ki tētahi’,” said NZCCSS conference organiser and policy advisor Paul Barber.

“This is an opportunity to bring people closely involved across the spectrum of provision of services to older people to look for new ideas for service innovation and best practice,” said Paul Barber. “Our particular concern is for the older people with fewer means and high needs. Without additional sources of income such as private savings and mortgage-free housing, older people remain extremely vulnerable to poverty and hardship”.

Michael Greer, chair of the NZCCSS Services to Older People Policy Group said a key focus for the conference is how best to meet the demands that need to be faced as New Zealand’s population ages.

“Our ageing population is a significant social change and social change always challenges each of us to think about how we relate to one another. What attitudes do we have to older people: as individuals, as workers, as communities and societies? In what way do these attitudes shape services, policies, even the built environment in which we all live?” said Michael Greer.

“These are questions that arise from compassion and which are shaped by issues of justice based relationships between us all. And let’s not forget action, because the time is long past for us to sit on our hands”.

NZCCSS Vice President Shaun Robinson: “As the numbers of older people grow it becomes more and more apparent that people have a wide range of expectations and needs. Needs for choice and control of their own decision making about their lives. Cultural needs. Social needs. Clinical needs. Spiritual needs”.


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