Age Concern Social Connection Advice
Age Concern NZ extend our deep condolences to the family, friends and neighbours of an older woman who was found, by
police, deceased in her home in Palmerston North last Wednesday.
The neighbour who was concerned for the older woman (who she had not been seen for a few days) did the right thing by
calling the police. Police had the authority to enter the house.
The article states that the neighbour called Age Concern and didn’t get a response.
Age Concern would like to remind that we are not a crisis service- if you need immediate help call the police. We do our
best to respond as quickly as possible and an Age Concern representative did respond to a message left on their phone in
this case.The neighbour eventually called police, who then entered the house to find the older person had passed away.
This case reinforces the need for strong community ties. Social isolation can be a major problem for older people and
can lead to loneliness and depression.
Here is our advice to encourage strong community connections:
-Check up on your older neighbours, especially if they are living alone. Like the neighbour had in this case, make an
effort to get to know them- say hello, have a cup of tea with them.
-If you or someone you know may be feeling lonely, Age Concern’s Accredited Visiting Service may be a good place to
start. This service matches an older person with a volunteer who will visit regularly to provide company/ someone to
discuss any problems with. St John’s offers a similar “caring caller” service.
-Involve your older family and friends in your plans and activities.
-If you notice something out of the ordinary. I.e. you haven’t seen your older neighbour coming in and out of their
house as normal and they aren’t answering the door- call the police. They have the authority to enter the house.
-If you suspect an older person is being neglected (either self-neglect or otherwise) contact your local Age Concern. In
most cases they can deploy a Neglect and Abuse Prevention social worker.
-It is the responsibility of everyone to care for the people around them older people can be particularly vulnerable.
Take responsibility and think about the well-being of older people in your life. Make sure they have someone to express
their concerns to.