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A key issue in an older population is the difference between life expectancy and what is called health expectancy (which is the length of time a person could expect to live independently without assistance from any person). The Social Report 20053 reports that, in 2001, the health expectancy of females in New Zealand was 68.5 years but their life expectancy in 2004 was 81.3 years. For males their health expectancy in 2001 was 64.7 years and their life expectancy in 2004 was 77 years. Both indicators are improving all the time, but life expectancy is increasing at a faster rate than health expectancy.

Only 6% of people over 65 years live in rest homes; the rest are supported to live as part of the community. Most commonly that support is provided by family members but a range of services supplement the care provided by families. A 2001 Household Disability Survey found 74% of people aged 65-74 years lived at home without assistance. But of those aged 75-84 years, only 54% were managing without help, and only 15% of those over 85 years managed without home-based support.

Tauranga is an attractive place for people to retire to, because of its climate and the wide range of community activities available for older people. But future population trends and current service gaps raise significant resourcing and planning issues for the future. Figure 7 on page 29 shows the types of services needed to support families caring for older relatives, including older couples caring for each other, especially in light of the Government’s policy to encourage older people “to age in place”.

Stock take of services currently supporting families caring for older family members


Details of service

Home-based care

Access Home Health Ltd

Provides home-care services to approximately 875 families in the greater Tauranga area, most of whom are over 65 years

Enliven (Presbyterian Support)

Provides recovery-focused services to 35 high-need clients, as an alternative to residential care

3Ministry of Social Development, The Social Report, 2005.

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