The Government has set aside $7.7 million for seniors in its Wellbeing Budget, which will see an ‘upgrade’ of the SuperGold Card, digital literacy training, and provide for ACC changes. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Seniors Minister Tracey Martin made the announcement on Monday, at the New Zealand Grey Power Federation Annual Conference.
They’re billed as retirement resorts – lakes, lifestyle, low stress and a bloke’s shed to boot.
But unravelling the complexity of retirement village contracts is anything but low stress.
Continue reading on Stuff. A good thing to swot up before our talk by the retirement industry speaker on 27 July.
“Looking at care another way: flip thinking in care for the elderly” was the title of the talk given by Marian and Jan Westlake on 11 March at the City Gallery. Grey Power Wellington was invited as we are a lobby group for the elderly.
- with the increasing number of elderly people need care we need to think differently. Be driven not by what we think they want but by what they think they want.
- Autonomy, the elderly have not lost their minds
- Reciprocity. the elderly still want to contribute
- Dignity, we all want this
Differences between Netherlands and New Zealand
They discussed the differences between the Netherlands (NL) and NZ acknowledging that not everything was transferable which then led into outlining some of the approaches used in the NL.
One key difference was that the NL government will not provide funding to private providers which means that only 2% are private. Another is that the government funding goes to care and the space is paid for by individuals. The is based on the assumption that everyone had a house or paid rent for space so they can continue to do so. All aimed to enable social engagement in the doing of ordinary things. All were also organised to ensure the clients only needed to relate to 16-20 people. This was managed even in larger facilities.
Examples of approaches
- singles living together with shared facilities, including gardens
- multi-generational living which had been set up using run down parts of the centres of towns which they could repurpose
- 50+living: acknowledging the rise in divorce so people end up alone. This also had shared facilities
- Students living in the same place as elderly and getting free board for 30 hrs a month engagement with the elderly, This was an initiative by a care provider who because of changes in government policy had space spare.
This was covered separately though there is considerable overlap in the was the care occurs.
They reiterated that groups of no more than 20 are best
The guiding principles of dementia care are:
- focus on opportunities not challenges
- in the community- several examples were in the centre of cities close to childcare and schools
- $ follow person
- regulations written to benefit the people
You may have noticed that in the latest national Grey Power magazine there’s a survey of our members. We are always being asked by politicians what our members think, or how policies affect you. We would like your help in making sure we can tell them by filling out this survey. Doing it online will make our job easier.
What happens to older people in an earthquake? Ichiro Kawachi talked about this recently at the Otago Medical School in Wellington. His study in Japan took advantage of the good data on older people in Japan, plus a more detailed study 7 months before the 2011 Japanese earthquake that was followed by the Fukushima nuclear station disaster.
He was surprised to find that the main long term effects were not PTSD or depression, but dementia and metabolic syndrome (a catch-all encompassing diabetes, blood pressure, and diabetes). However, the people with lots of social capital (friends, good neighbours, participation in groups, trust in others) were the least affected. Severe damage to your house, especially if you had to move out, made you more prone to these problems. One of the conclusions he made was that people whose houses were uninhabitable should be moved to temporary and permanent housing that tried to preserve neighbourhoods and groups, and more controversially, be settled away from fast food places as these led to increased obesity and related problems. There was even a “herd immunity” where people with low social capital moved to new places together with their high-capital neighbours benefited.
You can view the talk (slides & audio) at https://youtu.be/5LE02b42Y1g
From the Wellington City Council:
I thought I would let you know about our backdoor rubbish and recycling collection. This service is for people with a disability or health condition that prevents them from taking rubbish and recycling to the kerbside and don’t have anyone else available who can help. Depending on the financial situation of the person, this may be provided free of charge.
We have been offering this service for some time, but the income threshold has now been updated, which may mean some people qualify for the free service, who did not previously qualify.
“The purpose of this email is to provide you with early notification that we’re making changes to some NZ Post and Kiwibank branches in the Wellington region.
In response to increasing numbers of customers accessing banking services in different ways, Kiwibank has decided to create a standalone Kiwibank branch in Lower Hutt and withdraw services from our Johnsonville and Petone branches.
We regularly review our locations, looking at two things; firstly, the number of customers using the services in the region and secondly, other available Kiwibank services in close proximity. Unfortunately, we’re unable to sustain a presence in Johnsonville and Petone.
To meet the needs of our customers in the Wellington region, we’ve invested in standalone branches in Kilbirnie, Lambton Quay, Manners Street and now Lower Hutt. These standalone branches create an environment for a more specialised banking service, an innovative customer experience and a sustainable brand presence in Wellington.
New Zealand Post will remain in the area and is seeking a local business to deliver postal and bill payment services. Until a postal partner is secured the branch will continue to operate as usual.”
See a paper written by Peter Harris CMinstD FRICS in:
This is a (very) brief extract from that paper:
4.9 As others see us…
American academic Kent Weaver has produced a “hypothetical report card” on New Zealand’s retirement income system.
The highest mark (A) is given to the “administrative effectiveness and cost of NZS”. “Exposure to market risk” rates an A-, which is possibly why “poverty prevention” also rates highly at B+.
“Income replacement” is given a C, which in light of the Cullen comments (quoted earlier in the paper), would be seen as a good grade!
The fail grade (D), is “exposure to political risk”. This paper argues that on the historical record that risk – at least for the first pillar – has been more theoretical than actual.
On the other hand, the record shows that the political risk around support for second and third pillar savings is very real.
New Zealand’s retirement income policy history has steadfastly avoided both compulsory individual contribution and any attempt by the government to replicate in retirement incomes that which people earned during working life. State guarantees of returns to private savings have been limited and are now historical. State subsidies of private savings have never been extensive. “Needs based” policies and programmes–like health, disability and housing support and provision of residential age care facilities – have lifted the pressure on the need to generate more substantial retirement income “in case”.
The universal pension has meant that overall, elder poverty is confined, and lower than that of the population as a whole. Inflation and longevity risk have been collectivised, so the regime is relatively advantageous for women.
It is generally seen to be equitable, effective and cost-efficient. The durability of the basic settings implies a high degree of public acceptability. Whether these historic settings are financially sustainable remains the major matter for policy makers to determine.
How does our pension system compare with those elsewhere? And what changes have there been? Kent Weaver, an international expert on pensions, spoke mid-August 2018 at the Wellington Law School. His summary: lots of change, but most things stay the same. New Zealand has become an outlier for its non-contributory (well, not a direct contribution), universal, and flat rate scheme. Some countries had elements of these but most have moved to a mixture of means testing, contributory, non-flat rate, and other schemes, usually as a result of financial cutbacks.
New Zealand has had no real changes since 2001, so the question is why? Kent suggested there were a few factors. First off was the collective trauma of the 1990s, which politicians are very reluctant to repeat. Then there is MMP, which makes collective action by parties to agree on unpopular measures very difficult, mainly because of the numbers of parties. And of course Grey Power! Kent also talked about there being “windows” for the introduction of big changes, which NZ has probably missed. There’s also the factor that the NZ birth rate has not fallen as much as a lot of countries. Perhaps the biggest barrier to change is the universal and uniform nature of the pension: it creates a big constituency that would fight against cutbacks. Politicians like to deal with crises by doing unpopular stuff in less visible areas (eg the Kiwisaver contribution cutbacks by the last government), and the present system doesn’t have many edges.
Possible changes? Kent thought there seemed little official appetite for changing the qualifying period for full pension (currently 10 years) though I do notice there’s a proposed Bill to up this figure. My thoughts are that the 1990s trauma will gradually fade from memory, and Winston must leave the stage sooner or later, but even so it will be hard (but not impossible) for any government to make changes in this area. By Owen Watson