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ACC takes older people’s wellness to heart


4 August 2015

ACC takes older people’s wellness to heart with a series of new initiatives


The safety and wellbeing of older New Zealanders is a significant priority for ACC.

ACC has been working with Age Concern and other partners on practical ways of supporting older people avoid injury.

Gill Hall, Manager Rehabilitation, announced a series of initiatives intended to help older New Zealanders live safer, healthier lives.

From now on all New Zealanders receiving the SuperGold card for the first time will also receive a brochure that puts together advice on staying active and safe, from ACC, the Ministry of Health, Sports New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development.

This is a new wellness resource that will help new SuperGold Card holders to make the most of the health and wellness discounts the card provides.

“Turning 65 is a time when people take stock of their goals for the future, and this brochure provides advice on how to keep active, well and healthy to help achieve them,” says Ms Hall.

However, the SuperGold card initiative is just one of several initiatives to be introduced in the coming months designed to improve older people’s health and safety.

Falls are the most common cause of injuries in older people. Particularly for those over 80, they can have serious consequences. The risk of this can be reduced by taking up a programme that improves strength and balance.

Most falls actually occur at home so ACC is partnering with St John, Wellington Free Ambulance and the Freedom Medical Alarm Service to offer education and training around about falls risk and home safety assessment when they install a medical alarm. This will start in February 2016.

At the same time we are looking at improving services for older people who have had injuries to help them recover better. This is based on a pilot programme in Christchurch ACC Branch called ‘Enabling Independence’. This programme has been helping older people get back to the things that are important to them after an injury but also helping to prevent further falls.

ACC has been supporting Age Concern to provide the Steady As You Go programme in Otago more than 10 years. This year we have extended this to Wanganui and Tauranga. In the future we are looking to see programmes like this available in more communities.

In October, ACC is also sponsoring a rehabilitation conference in Wellington that will bring together a number of international experts and includes a focus on the needs of older New Zealanders. This conference will coincide with World Osteoporosis Day, and will highlight the importance of falls prevention, as well as recovery in caring for older people.

“As we all know, our population is ageing, and that means that ACC, alongside our government and NGO partners in the sector, must ensure that keeping older people safe, healthy, and enjoying life is - and remains - a top priority”

ends

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