Age Concern actively supported New Zealanders aged 65 and over throughout the pandemic response. We will continue to be involved throughout the recovery phase and beyond.
At national level, Age Concern New Zealand responded to many queries from older people and their whānau during lockdown and lower alert levels. We advocated for the wellbeing of older adults with members of parliament and via the media. We worked alongside government departments (such as Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Health) and local government agencies, including emergency management, to enhance messaging and service provision to older people.
Mental wellbeing will play an important part in our recovery. Unfortunately, this challenge comes at a time when mental health services are already overwhelmed and struggling to cope with demand. Different solutions are called for that harness the skills, knowledge and resources of government, iwi and a wide range of community-based organisations. We applaud the intent of the Recovery Plan to enable this kind of approach. Devolving responsibility and decision-making also requires devolving funding and other vital resources. The community and voluntary sectors, Iwi and health providers should not be expected to provide the services that will be needed without secure and substantial funding.