Age Concern New Zealand

Serving the needs of older people
-A +A

Age Concern's SeniorWatch

SeniorWatch includes recent media coverage about older people and ageing issues

Elderly told not to open doors to strangers  |  Wairarapa Times-Age

Elderly Wairarapa residents are being warned not to open the door for strangers following a spate of attacks in Auckland.

"Don't answer the door unless you are sure you know who's there," Grey Power Wairarapa president George Groombridge said.

A 36-year-old man was arrested earlier last week after a dramatic manhunt north of Auckland.

He was wanted in connection with seven attacks on elderly people aged 69 to 97, the most recent on a 74-year-old woman in her Pakuranga council flat on Saturday.

The attacker, who said he was there to offer security advice, bound her hands with shoelaces and beat her viciously before fleeing with bank cards, cash and personal items.

Age Concern chief executive Ann Martin said she was disgusted and disturbed by the attacks. Older people were often seen as soft targets by offenders.

Read more at:


Elderly more vulnerable in house fires  |  Newstalk ZB

The Fire Service is working with Age Concern to try to reduce the number of older people dying in house fires.

A report shows 20 people died in avoidable house fires in the past year. More than two thirds of those were over 50.

National commander Paul Baxter says they have recently teamed up with Age Concern and the council in Dunedin to install smoke alarms in 1,000 homes.

Read more at:


Lottery scams rip off the elderly  |  3 News

Scammers tell people they have already won. Last night 3 News revealed that millions of dollars are being scammed out of pensioners each year through fake lotteries.

In one case, a 79-year-old man lost $20,000 after he sent cheques to the scammers to claim his prize, while another man received 169 lottery scam letters in just one day.

BNZ security and fraud coordinator Bronwyn Groot says the scams ask for anything "between $10 and $90", supposedly a "processing fee" to release funds the victim has already won.

"What happens is once you send away one cheque, your name then goes onto a scammers or a suckers list, and you start to get inundated with this mail."

The scams come from all around the world, including countries that wouldn't normally raise an eyebrow, like The Netherlands, Canada and Australia.

Read more at:


Call to monitor elderly living alone  |  Marlborough Express

A Blenheim real estate agent has urged people to look out for their elderly neighbours this winter after she called police to the house of an 84-year-old man with "four days of newspapers" in his letter box.

Anne Goodyer, of First National Real Estate, said the property had no signs of life, with all the curtains pulled, and she feared the man might be dead.

Ms Goodyer was at the house next door, which had just come on the market, to let builders in last Tuesday, she said.

Ms Goodyer had been to the property about a dozen times and knew an elderly man lived alone next door.

"I thought ‘why would he not collect his mail or get his newspapers?' "

Ms Goodyer rang the police who came and called at the door. The man was lying in bed with a single woollen blanket about 3pm, she said.

"The house was freezing cold, with minimal supplies, and he had the oven door [in the kitchen] off its hinges to warm the house," Ms Goodyer said. "If that was my mum or dad, living like that, I would be horrified."

She was concerned other elderly people were living by themselves in Marlborough with no regular visitors.
… Age Concern Marlborough older persons support worker Wendy Lefebre said an elderly man had been referred to Age Concern yesterday but could not comment on individual cases.

Ms Lefebre reinforced the message for people to look after their elderly neighbours, especially during winter.

"If living next door to an older person and you notice the blinds haven't been pulled, they haven't been seen around the property, or there are no signs of life for a day or two, the first thing to do is knock on the door."

Age Concern also dealt with quite a few cases of self-neglect in Marlborough, and where the older person just wanted to be left alone, Ms Lefebre said.

Read more at:

Old age fuels village boom  |  Nelson Mail

Summerset Group Holdings is investing $80 million in its Stoke village, which will have 350 residents when it is finished in another 2 years. It's just one of several large retirement villages already built in the Nelson region, with more planned. Bill Moore takes a look.

It's noon on a Wednesday, and at Summerset in the Sun, there's a party atmosphere. Residents are gathered for lunch in the "clubhouse", an attractive stone-clad building put up by the previous, failed developer.

The excuse for the get-together isn't very plausible - a competition to guess which of them is the 100th resident - but there's no doubting the enjoyment level.

There's a buzz of conversation, lots of laughter, and then good-natured cheering and applause when it turns out to be 76-year-old Lindsay Bowron, who moved in two months ago to join the steadily rising number of residents.

After it's announced that there's a reporter in the room, several residents approach, and they've all got the same message: we really like it here.

Read more at:

$70m 'act of faith' by sisters to care for elderly  |  The Press

After over 100 years in Christchurch, the Sisters of Nazareth will continue their presence in the city by building a $70 million aged care complex.

The Catholic order lost their Sydenham convent, chapel and Nazareth House rest home in the earthquakes.
When the 80 elderly residents were rehoused around New Zealand, the sisters stayed on site in a temporary convent and have agreed unanimously to rebuild.

They have now released plans for an ambitious development on their 8-hectare Brougham St site. The plans include an 80-bed care hospital and rest home, plus a dementia unit, convent and chapel, and a 62-unit retirement village.
The sisters hope to start building in October.

Read more at:

Cuts concern elderly  |  North Shore Times

Proposed cuts to DHB funded home help has some recipients afraid they could be left high and dry.

Home Based Support Services, funded by the Waitemata District Health Board, provides housework and personal care assistance to those aged 65 and over who are identified as in need.

Under proposed changes to the service announced in May all clients will undergo a reassessment after which those classified as "low needs" may no longer receive help.

A recipient of the care, who does not wish to be named, says there is no such thing as a low needs client.
"Everyone has been assessed and found to be in need of help. There are people on waiting lists who are desperate. Not everyone has family to look after them and will struggle to cope without it."

Read more at:

Fit for life and the Masters Games  |  Marlborough Express

Going forward: 99-year-old Picton man Ian Mathieson says exercise keeps elderly people out of hospitals and rest homes.

As the oldest-ever Masters Games competitor in New Zealand, Picton man Ian Mathieson credits keeping active as the key to success for older people.

Mr Mathieson, who celebrated his 99th birthday in May, is set to smash his own record as the oldest competitor by walking in his fifth South Island Masters Games in Nelson in October.

The World War II veteran was pretty fit during his time in the army, but after he got back to New Zealand in 1948, he piled on the weight and smoked fulltime.

"Everybody smoked in those days," he said. "I was a quartermaster in the army and I gave them out. Even the doctors smoked."

After the war he worked as a chemist in Geraldine and got up to 85 kilograms before a warning from a doctor prompted him to quit smoking and get active.

"I gave it up and started to run," he said.

"I'm down to 11 stone [about 70kg] now. I'm getting skinny."

Read more at:

Elderly lead expressway protest  |  Dominion Post

Octogenarians waving placards have led a protest against property owners being forced from their homes to make way for the McKays to Peka Peka section of the Kapiti expressway. 

About 40 protesters holding placards emblazoned with slogans including ''Motorway Madness'' and ''National Does Not Care'' gathered outside Murray Livingstone's garden centre on the corner of State Highway 1 and Poplar Ave this morning.

NZ Transport Agency is negotiating with Mr Livingstone to buy his property, which is needed for the southern entrance of the expressway. He has been given further time to consider the latest valuation, but still has nowhere else to go. 

NZTA are adamant Mr Livingstone has not been served an eviction notice, rather a letter of intent that building of the expressway was due to start in July.

NZTA had to own a property before they could use it for the project. 

Read more at:

Poor documentation blamed for elderly patient's death  |  NZ Herald

Poor documentation and communication are believed to have led to a 75-year old patient's death in Whangarei Hospital.

The man, who died in February 2010, had undergone a total knee replacement surgery only days before his death.

The Health and Disability Commissioner said medical staff failed to respond to the man's deteriorating condition following the operation.

The man, referred to as Mr A, first sought knee joint replacement in 2006. At that time the anaesthetists considered it was not safe for him to have surgery because of his severe heart disease.

The man, who suffered from a severe heart condition and other diseases including type 2 diabetes.

His GP referred him back to the orthopaedic team in 2009 because knee pain was severely affecting his quality of life.

Mr A was advised by the surgeons and anaesthetists that there was a significant risk he would not survive the surgery but he remained determined to undergo the operation and it was performed on February 15, 2010.

He was stable following the operation, but his heart and kidney function started to deteriorate. He died on February 20, the Health and Disability Commissioner said.

Read more at:

Also, take a look at the latest research blog update by Dr Judith Davey, Age Concern’s voluntary policy adviser:

_ _