INDEPENDENT NEWS

Budget answers some senior needs

Published: Thu 19 May 2011 05:34 PM
Age Concern New Zealand media release
Budget 2011
Budget answers some senior needs
19 May 2011
"Age Concern is all about serving the needs of older people, and we’re pleased this year’s Budget also meets some of these needs," Liz Baxendine, national president of Age Concern New Zealand says.
"Older people tell us their “Big Four’ major concerns are income, health, safety and being able to participate in their communities.
They’re used to shouldering some of the burden when times get tough and, although the Budget includes some set-backs, they’re pleased to see some action on the most pressing of their needs, especially in health.
Health
"Older people are especially concerned about health care and this sector appears to have done well in this year’s Budget,” Age Concern's Liz Baxendine says.
“Minister Tony Ryall says he’s committed to protecting and growing our public health services and we welcome that assurance.
“Extra health funding, especially support for our hard-pressed DHBs to maintain and hopefully improve disability services, dementia care, medicines and to take action on waiting lists is welcome.
Social Isolation and Loneliness
Social Isolation and Loneliness is also a serious health issue. Its good to have support for the newly established services designed to reduce social isolation and chronic loneliness.
Elder Abuse
“We see there’s a little extra money under health for elder abuse and neglect detection. That’s welcome, but to really protect older people, it needs to be backed by support for a nationwide specialist elder abuse and neglect network. It is disappointing that Social Development has not found money to provide services in areas where there are gaps. Age Concern's Liz Baxendine says.
” Currently older people in Thames-Coromandel, Rotorua, the Far North, Marlborough and Grey District, along with parts of the main centres and rural communities are unsupported.
“It's urgent that elder abuse and neglect prevention services expand into parts of the country that currently have no cover.
Income
“Older people depend on secure and ethical investment and savings to augment their basic Super income. We welcome the new Financial Markets Authority and the Budget financial support given to it to get it established. Older people will be relying on its effectiveness to help them keep their retirement savings safe.”
However, people are living longer, and many want to keep learning and contributing to society. There’s a whole new need for education and training in later life, so cutting access to student loans for over-55s is a blow, “Liz Baxendine says. “It’s a shame that older people who want to improve themselves through education are having the path made so much harder. ”
Ends

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