Age Care Major Concern

All Trixie Cottingham (aged 96) wants to do is to be able to live in her home with the dignity that should be available to everyone.

“Last week Trixie was forced to wait for her home help,” said Rob McCann, local Labour Party Candidate.

“When she could wait no more, she began the task allotted to her home help and fell, hitting and splitting open her head.”

Trixie has spent a week in hospital because of the failure of her service provider. Failures that Mr McCann believes are endemic across the community because of the cost cutting of the current government.

“We hope Trixie recovers as quickly as possible,” says Mr McCann, “but this should not have occurred. We should be encouraging our senior citizens to remain in their homes if they wish to live in them, but National is failing our senior citizens and is out of touch with their needs.

“It makes no sense, none-what-so-ever, to force senior citizens from their homes when a small degree of home help would allow them to remain where they feel safe and secure.

“It is far cheaper for the government to provide home help assistance than to pay for full residential care. It is also the right thing to do.

“What occurred to Trixie is something that is happening right across the region. Cost cutting has created a situation where staffing levels which are too low, cannot cope. The systems including the roster systems clearly don’t work, and there are too few workers available, so leave or illnesses is not able to be covered.

“It is time for the government to invest in our people, whether they are senior citizens or our youth, rather than prepare to offer tax cuts as an election bribe.

The news about Mrs Cottingham was broken at an Aged Care inquiry in Levin on Friday, an event she hopped to attend organised by Grey Power, Labour, and the Greens as they continued their joint investigation into how elderly New Zealanders are being cared for.

Labour’s spokesperson for Health Annette King and Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei reported to the audience that the government had made very little progress on implementing 14 original policy recommendations from a 2010 report.

The audience of around 160 people voiced a range of concerns which reinforced the issues raised in the 2010 report.

Mr McCann says this indicates that very little has improved over the last six years. “That is disappointing, and demonstrates a government that is not concerned with the issues facing our senior citizens.”

He says the issues raised from the Levin meeting, and those planned throughout the country, will be used to update the 2010 report, and will help set the agenda for a Labour, Green Government in 2017.