Urgent Rethink Of Retirement Living Needed
A crisis is almost inevitable for New Zealand’s aged care sector. As early as 2035, the number of people aged 65 years and over is expected to double to around 1.2 million - nearly 25% of the population, according to SuperSeniors.
In 20 years, there will be 370,000 over 80 years of age, an increase of 130 percent, which will put enormous strain on the health and aged care sector who will be supporting those people.
New Zealand's rapidly changing demographics bring into question how traditional models of care will adapt. Currently, our older people often have to leave behind the home they love, their belongings and a lifetime of memories just because they need extra care and support.
Challenging the status quo of traditional care models is Josephine Gagan, a third-generation nurse and Chief Executive of the largest group of Home & Community Support Service providers, NZ Health Group, which supports over 30,000 people across the country.
"Some people intentionally downplay their health condition to family members in an effort to avoid moving away from the comfort of their own home," says Josephine.
"Moving to a new and unfamiliar environment can be very hard and unsettling for older people, especially for the more vulnerable ones such as those living with dementia or going through the end of life (palliative) care. It is vital to people's wellbeing that they are in a familiar place where they feel safe and secure, and therefore feel more in control of their lives. You don’t have to retire from the comfort of your own home just because you need extra care or support," adds Josephine.
To give people more choice and freedom about how and where to retire, Josephine is leading the launch of Private Care NZ. Created by two leading industry providers, Private Care NZ can support anyone with health and wellness needs, to affordably stay in their own home for longer with homecare, clinical support, social engagement and other home service packages.
While home support services are well established in New Zealand's healthcare system, Private Care NZ’s new model of care provides for almost anything that can help make every day easier at home with tailored packages that are as unique to each Client as their fingerprint. They have a much more extensive range of services than traditional home support organisations, and all services are provided by experienced and qualified professionals who meet Private Care NZ’s high quality standards.
Clients can purchase homecare packages such as cooking, cleaning, medication pick-up and delivery, food ordering and preparation, and more. There is also a full range of clinical care services such as cancer care, dressing changes, personal care, dementia care, respite, rehabilitation and mental health support, through to 24-hour end of life (palliative) care.
A critical part of keeping people healthy is social engagement. According to SuperSeniors, "older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation or loneliness due to loss of friends and family, health, mobility or income." To keep older people engaged with their community and socially active, Private Care NZ has also created a range of social engagement services such as help with shopping, companionship, technology assistance, as well as transport to medical appointments and social outings in the community.
A loss of mobility can also affect older people's ability to do the tasks they once did with ease, such as home maintenance and other small jobs around the home. Private Care NZ can help with handyman services, plumbing, electricians, pet care, pest control, gardening, minor home renovations, beauty services and more.
"Staying in the comfort of your own home makes a lot of sense with Private Care NZ's flexible and easy pay-as-you-go packages. There are no minimum term contracts, unlike in some retirement facilities which can require minimum stays and expensive fees - Private Care NZ can fit any budget and be as flexible as needed," adds Josephine.
"There really is no place like home. We aim to give our Clients all the choice and the flexibility they want, while also giving their family and loved ones the peace of mind of knowing that mum and dad will be well taken care of," she concludes.
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