Tauranga Hospital Meals on Wheels service, Oakland Health, Rae’s Place Greerton, Mt View Rest Home.
St Johns Health Shuttle
Provides transport to medical appointments
Service Provision Issues
The Ministry of Health is doing a lot of work to address the health issues raised above. This includes work to understand and to improve responses to the chronic conditions that cause so much of the functional impairment which occurs in the gap between health and life expectancy, and to make support services for older people focus on recovery and increasing independence rather than on dependence.
These are not just issues for the health sector. Work and Income records show 14,587 people in Tauranga qualify for New Zealand Superannuation, and 3,779 residents over 65 years receive some sort of disability allowance (to cover disability-related expenses such as day care, medical fees, gardening, and medical alarms). At a national level, the Ministry of Social Development is looking to see how it can improve and integrate its services to older people to provide more seamless services across government.
At a local level, there are a number of crises facing the providers on a daily basis. The first of these is the workforce. Tauranga has low unemployment, and care workers come from the lowest income bracket. In times of low unemployment it is difficult to get and keep staff for home care and for rest-home care. Together with training issues, this has a huge impact on the day to day delivery of quality services to these families.
Of all the priority families considered in this report, less thought at a local level has been put into how to improve the co-ordination of services for older people. A key group providing information for this report was the “Forum Ten” group. This is a group of field officers working with older people in their homes. They report older people having real difficulty knowing how to access appropriate support particularly when they are discharged from hospital. The Disability Information Service – Western Bay of Plenty Inc published a useful directory in 2005 covering a wide range of community services available to older people, but stopped operating after it was published. Access to good information sensitively delivered is an important part of supporting the independence of this group of families.
The next issue is to improve and extend the range and flexibility of support services for older people, for example for in-home respite care, over-night services and shopping services. Currently, health funding for older people in New Zealand is heavily weighted towards providing hospital and rest-home services. However, it is acknowledged the ageing of the population will make that weighting unsustainable in the future and urgent attention needs to be given to supporting families caring for older people in the community. These are national issues but, with Tauranga’s higher-than-average proportion of older people, there is an opportunity to provide leadership in the development of a range of appropriate community care.
Advocates for older people and community care workers in Tauranga want the issues a rapidly-ageing population is likely to create in this district acknowledged. Although improving support services in the form of information, education and relief care is important, community planning issues, good transport and supportive community attitudes will all be needed. Providers want a “whole of community approach” to ensure the families of Tauranga’s older residents can support them to lead active and involved lives in the community.
Priority 4: Families needing affordable accommodation
What Service Providers say:
One of the biggest problems facing Tauranga families is the huge gap that has developed between the haves and the have nots.
Early intervention teacher
The most important issue facing families is accessible and affordable housing.
[The most important issue is] obtaining and sustaining an adequate income to cover basic living conditions.