Seniors Newsletter
  Te Tari Kaumatua | Office for Seniors
From Minister for Seniors Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall

Welcome to another Seniors Newsletter. I hope you are all keeping warm this winter.

As part of our ongoing efforts to prevent elder abuse, we have allocated $250,000 to eleven projects to tackle elder abuse across our older population. This is in addition to the $6.3 million for new prevention initiatives for older people announced in Budget 2022. These initiatives will contribute to delivering Te Aorerekura – the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence. The Government is firmly committed to promoting a society where older people are highly valued and recognised as an integral part of our families and communities.

As we continue to navigate COVID-19 this winter, we have ramped up access to free flu vaccines and a second COVID-19 booster which is available for people over 50 but recommended for everyone over 65 years of age. This season we ordered 40% more vaccines and already seen more than half a million New Zealanders over 65 get their flu shot.

The other important thing that will keep you and those around safe is to wear a mask when out and about, testing and staying home if you’re sick. These are incredibly effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, influenza and other winter illnesses.

To help more people wear masks, we will soon be providing masks free with RAT kits at all existing collection sites, if you need some extra RATs or masks then you can use the request a RAT website or call 0800 222 478 from 8am to 8pm.

We’ve also made COVID-19 antiviral medications more widely available as pharmacy-only medications. Pharmac have expanded the eligibility criteria allowing anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and over 75 years of age able to access antiviral medication from their local pharmacy.

I hope everyone stays safe and takes extra precautions making sure to keep up good mask use as we get through a tough winter. 

In other news I want to extend a big congratulations to Jennifer Andrews and Dr Beverley James who were both recognised this year in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their services to seniors. Your contributions to our sector have not gone unnoticed and I congratulate both of you
Queen’s Birthday Honours: Services to Seniors
The Queen’s Birthday Honours recognises the unique achievements of New Zealanders from all walks of life. Those who were honoured this year include two people who have made significant contributions to seniors.

Jennifer Andrews has received the Queens Service Medal (QSM) for services to seniors and local government. Mrs Andrews has supported older people in the community for 23 years, volunteering her time beyond her paid employment to advocate for seniors.

Mrs Andrews has been on the Marlborough District Council since 1998, with four terms as Deputy Mayor. She has been involved with a range of committees including the Older Person’s Forum since 1999, and chaired various sub-committees for housing, accessibility and mobility for seniors. She has been a Trustee of Marlborough Housing for the Elderly Trust since 2004 and a member of Alzheimer’s Marlborough. She is Patron of Age Concern Marlborough and Senior Citizens Marlborough.

Dr Beverley James was named a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to seniors. Dr James has more than 30 years experience in social research, evaluation, policy analysis and service design and has been Director of Public Policy and Research Ltd since 2004.

Dr James has made significant contributions to research on older people’s housing needs, including older tenants, and retirement village residents in culturally responsive ways. She has applied her research findings to support planning and policy development, enable organisations to understand and meet the needs of older people, and enable older people to make informed decisions about housing options.

Embracing today’s technology and skilling up for the digital age can open up a world of possibilities, from sorting out your finances in seconds, to storing photos to having video chats with family.

Read the full 2022 Honours List below.
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Age friendly Fund opens
The 2022 funding round for the Office for Seniors Age friendly Fund is now open.

The Age friendly Fund supports projects that promote the inclusion and contribution of older people in community life and support their community to prepare for an ageing population.

The programme makes one-off grants of between $5,000 - $15,000 to a select number of projects that demonstrate innovative approaches to age friendly communities and projects that support intergenerational connection and participation.

The fund also helps to support the development of age friendly strategies and plans.  

The Age friendly Fund is open to any New Zealand local council, community organisation, or registered non-profit organisation. All proposals must be supported by their local council.

Applications for the 2022 funding round are open from August 1 and close on September 23.

For more information, including eligibility criteria, go to the Office for Seniors website below.
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Elder Abuse Prevention Fund
$250,000 has been allocated to 11 projects as part of the Governments efforts to prevent elder abuse. The Elder Abuse Prevention Fund supports programmes that tackle and prevent elder abuse across diverse groups in the older population.

Here are some of the successful projects:

Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura will be distributing a national survey and undertaking interviews to understand more deeply how elder abuse, neglect, exploitation are experienced by Takatāpui and Rainbow Elders in New Zealand.
The Porirua Kapiti Community Law Centre will be hosting a series of talks on elder abuse and the value of having Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA).
Family Focus Rotorua will be offering an abuse awareness and prevention programme to older people and their carers. The programme will comprise of an abuse prevention education session followed by an activity to help reinforce learning and build relationships with other participants.
Age Concern Hamilton will be undertaking a partnership project with the Hamilton Settlement Centre to create awareness of safe ageing in place and prevent elder abuse towards older migrant and refugee communities.
Kilbirnie/Lyall Bay Community Centre will be developing a dedicated Connection Office space where older people can connect, seek advice and share. There will also be a particular focus on early contact and engagement with older people that enables prevention of abuse and harm.

To find out more about the six other projects visit the Office for Seniors website below.
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Carolyn Cooper
Aged Care Commissioner – Carolyn Cooper
My first few months in the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner has reinforced the importance of my role to ensure older people’s rights to the best and most appropriate health care services are upheld.

We must value our older people and I am committed to giving you a voice and greater confidence in the quality and safety of health and disability services.

As we move to living with COVID-19 in the community, the ongoing impact of the virus continues to put the aged care and home and community workforce under further pressure as our older population increases in size and complexity of needs.

The effects of the nursing shortage on the aged care sector is very topical. I have serious concerns about the pressure the aged care workforce is under. However my expectation remains that there should be an appropriately qualified workforce with the numbers necessary to care for older people wherever and whenever this is required.

I recently provided a submission to the Health Select Committee on the petition to legislate for safe staffing levels in Aged Residential Care (ARC) facilities. While I understand the petitioner’s desire for targeted legislative change, I feel this would not provide the flexibility required at this time. Staffing numbers are important but in the aged care environment, where people’s acuity and support needs are evolving, the right skills mix of staff is also important for patient safety.

We need to ensure providers have access to tools that allow them to match capacity and capability of staff to the needs of people in their care. Rather than focusing on legislative change, we should focus on improving the sustainability of aged care services.

Work around the aged care workforce and planning for adequate and sustainable levels of staff to care for older people needs to be prioritised, especially the retention and recruitment of nurses in ARC facilities.

I will continue to work hard to advocate on behalf of you and your whānau, so you have confidence in the quality of care and quality of life ahead of you.

It’s been great getting out and about to meet with the individuals, communities and providers in the aged care sector, to see and hear about the issues and your needs for better health and disability services.

As we head into winter, please be sure to take care of yourself and others. Stay safe and seek help if you need it.
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Free bowel screening
The National Bowel Screening is a free programme to help detect bowel cancer.

Bowel screening is now being offered to people aged 60 to 74 years. Approximately 500-700 cancers are picked up each year through the programme, and thousands of polyps which might have been cancer are removed.

The bowel screening test is quick and simple, and is done at home.

More about the National Bowel Screening programme can be found on the Time to Screen website below or you can phone 0800 924 432.
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COVID-19 Second booster
A second COVID-19 booster is now available for everyone over the age of 50 and recommended for anyone over the age of 65. This also includes:
  • Māori and Pacific people over 50
  • People who are severely immunocompromised
  • Health, aged-care and disability workers over the age of 30
Individuals of these groups will only be eligible for a second booster after 6 months from their previous dose. The second booster is available through: The Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group will continue to review new information on COVID-19 and vaccines and will make further recommendations on eligibility criteria as necessary.

For more information visit the COVID-19 website below.
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Age friendly urban places and business guides
By 2048, there will be 1.4 million people aged 65+ living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Addressing the needs of our diverse older people requires a whole of society response.  The Office for Seniors Age friendly Aotearoa New Zealand programme provides guidance and support for communities that are exploring or committed to becoming age friendly.

The Office’s latest resource is the Age friendly Urban Places Guide. This is a technical resource targeted at local and central government urban planning practice to help improve outcomes for older people, through the design of public places, land use, and spatial planning.

The Age friendly Urban Places Guide outlines the practical steps practitioners can take when considering their urban planning and design and is broken down into four sections: Streets and spaces, Accessibility and movement, and Housing and community connections.

Currently our urban places are generally not well designed to meet the needs of older people, and often do not enable older people to participate or be included in daily life. Designing streets and spaces with older people in mind helps foster community connections and can have health and wellbeing benefits for everyone.

Age friendly, Programme Lead Jo Rae said “making a community age friendly doesn’t just benefit older people- it benefits everyone. It means that as people age, they can continue to live the lives they want and stay connected to the people and things that matter to them.”

Age friendly business
New resources to make businesses age-friendly has been released through a collaboration with Gore District Council’s Ready for Living programme, local businesses and its older community members and was facilitated by Partners in Change with support from the Office for Seniors. The Gore District has Aotearoa New Zealand’s first local Age friendly Business programme. This local programme recognises businesses and organisations in this area that are aspiring to be age friendly

Globally an increasing number of cities and communities are recognising that businesses, government agencies, not for profit and professional services organisations also need to become age friendly.

The ageing population presents a significant opportunity for businesses and service providers to innovate, enhance existing products and services and develop new product lines suitable for the older consumer.

The guide is a valuable resource for those that are aspiring to be age friendly to get started, develop a plan and continue momentum to deliver long term change. It can also be used in conjunction with the range of other age friendly resources available on the Office for Seniors website.

Find out more about our Age friendly resources below.
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MyMSD / Seniors Services 0800 number
We know some clients are experiencing delays being able to call the MSD Seniors line. Did you know you can do a lot online?

MyMSD is a great option for some services such as:
  • Checking upcoming payments
  • Updating contact information
  • Viewing letters
  • Applying for NZ Superannuation
  • Requesting help with one-off costs
Information about the services MSD offers to Seniors can be found at the Work and Income website here. To register for MyMSD visit here.

If you can’t find what you need online, you can call MSD. The New Zealand Superannuation team are available Monday-Friday, 7am to 6pm. 

Phone: 0800 552 002

When you call, ensure to key in your 9-digit client number and answer any security questions that may be asked. This allows faster handling of your call and allows them to offer you a call back when the service is operating. The call back service provides callers with the option to either wait in the queue, or to automatically be called back by a Customer Service Representative (CSR) when their call would have been answered.

For other enquiries, such as Community Services Cards, SuperGold Cards, Veteran’s Pension or how to contact MSD if your deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, you can find the contact details on the Work and Income website below. 
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Warmer Kiwi Homes
The Warmer Kiwi Homes grants for insulation and efficient heaters is available for lower-income homeowners.

Grants cover 80% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation and/or an efficient heater. Heater grants are capped at $3,000.

EECA’s Warmer Kiwi Homes Manager Eddie Thompson says a warm, dry home is especially important New Zealanders who may spend more time at home.

“There’s evidence showing a warm and insulated home helps protect you from respiratory disease and reduces hospitalisations and the number of GP visits.” he said.

To find out if you are eligible free call 0800 749 782 or complete the easy online tool on the EECA website below.
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Cycling for seniors
As more older kiwis are finding freedom on two wheels, cycling-related injuries for those aged over 65+ have increased according to Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

New figures from ACC show injuries among this group have increased by more than 100 per cent in five years – from 2256 in 2016 to 4526 in 2020. Cycling claims overall have risen by 30 per cent in this time, reaching a five-year high in 2020 of more than 36,000.

ACC injury prevention leader James Whitaker said ACC wanted people to continue to ride bikes but wanted them to be safe while doing so.

He said it was important for all road users to look out for each other and give each other space, so everyone felt comfortable. There were several things cyclists could do to help themselves keep safe.

“This could mean taking a moment to get the basics right, like checking you’ve got the right safety gear and that it fits you properly, or taking time to practise in a quiet, traffic-free area," he said.

“If you’re getting into e-bike riding for the first time, we’d recommend taking a course – e-bikes are very different to traditional bikes.”

Cycling Action Network project manager Patrick Morgan is also a tutor at adult cycling training programme Pedal Ready and said more people were rediscovering the convenience, freedom and joy of riding a bike.

“The current generation of over-65s are much more inclined to get on their bikes,” he said.

“Riding a bike has incredible health benefits – it cuts your risk of heart disease and diabetes and improves mental health. Cycling is the new golf.”

The development of e-bikes, which flattens hills and defeated headwinds, had contributed to increasing cycling numbers, he said.

These are some of the top tips from the Cycling Action Network:
  • Make sure your bike is in tip top shape. Get a mechanic or skilled friend to check it over
  • Get the skills you need. Join a club, ride with experienced people, or take a class such as Bike Ready
  • Choose streets and trails that are right for your skill level
  • Nothing in life is without risk. Ride within your abilities.
Read more on the Cycling Action Network by visiting their website below.
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Medicine change for Accuretic users
Anyone using Accuretic, a medicine generally used to manage blood pressure, must see their medical prescriber to change to an alternative medicine due to a supply issue caused by the detection of an impurity. The cost of the appointment and prescription will be free. People should change medicines before September but not stop taking Accuretic in the meantime. Book your next appointment with your medical centre now.
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SuperGold offers
Click here for more offers in August
Caltex Fuel
Challenge Fuel
npd Fuel
The Warehouse - Discount day first Tuesday of the month get 5% off
Smiths City
Torpedo 7
Pet-n-Sur -15% discount for SuperGold cardholders
Melo Yelo E-bikes
Mobility Centre -20% off all walking sticks
Laithwaites wine - Award wining reds just $10.99 a bottle
Vesta Health Insurance
Over 50 Insurance
Click here for more offers in August
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