Covid is highlighting some of the on-going issues we have with our older population, says Age Concern’s Havelock North-based National President, Wayne Bradshaw.
“A lot of our older people are living in isolation already and now they have ongoing apprehension about Covid: they want to know what they can and can’t do, who is vaccinated, if they can ask someone if they are vaccinated or not.”
A recent survey by Age Concern Wellington of 450 seniors found two out of three people across the region were staying at home because they are worried about catching Covid.
Only one in three were leaving the house to be social, the rest only for essentials such as groceries, the doctor or the pharmacy.
“Many of our elderly in Hawke’s Bay are not in retirement villages,” says Wayne. “They are still renting, or have mortgages and some are not as well connected into the community as they could be.”
He urges people to get in touch with Age Concern centres in Havelock North, Hastings, Napier and Central Hawke’s Bay – all offering home visitation programmes, and all sorts of resources and activities. He also highlights Age Concern’s on-going national driving programme to enable older people to keep driving safely and retain their licence for longer.
“Losing a licence at any time is a big factor in people becoming isolated.”
Wayne, a former Hastings Councillor, lobbies Government on behalf of Age Concern and keeps track of 33 federated organisations countrywide. At the moment he is leading a re-branding of Age Concern that will focus on the value and contribution the older population make to our communities, and the positives that come out of that.
He says elder abuse is a prevalent and often hidden issue in New Zealand and our treatment of elderly generally “is a part of society we need to fix”.
“The research shows that the more connected and valued the older person feels, the less health issues they will have, with less hospitalizations, and the better lives they will enjoy.
“All people respond positively to being valued and having more interaction with other people; this is no different for all ages.”