Help­ing our age­ing pop­u­la­tion

The Invercargill Eye - - CONVERSATIONS - LYNN MOR­TON

As we age, the chal­lenges of liv­ing at home in­crease.

Tasks that were once sim­ple, such as gro­cery shop­ping or sim­ply get­ting to an ap­point­ment, can be­come as tough as climb­ing moun­tains, par­tic­u­larly if you live at home alone.

South­land - and New Zealand - has an age­ing pop­u­la­tion. The num­ber of peo­ple over the age of 65 will dou­ble in the next 20 years to around 1.2 mil­lion in 2036 (around 23 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion, com­pared with 14 per cent to­day) and more older peo­ple will live alone in the com­mu­nity. While those fig­ures are taken from the Min­istry of So­cial Devel­op­ment, anec­do­tally there are al­ready a much larger per­cent­age of older peo­ple liv­ing alone in South­land.

At En­liven, peo­ple are com­ing into homes much older and more frail than in the past, and our home-based sup­port ser­vice Sup­port­Link is see­ing con­tin­ual in­creases in clients.

Over the years, new cri­te­ria for rest home liv­ing has been in­tro­duced with the fo­cus be­ing on sup­port­ing older peo­ple to re­main in their own home.

The good news is that com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions are ad­just­ing to this shift. At En­liven, we un­der­stand that older peo­ple want to re­main in­de­pen­dent - and there is a huge amount of sup­port out there for those who re­quire it.

Sup­port­Link is one such (free) ser­vice that of­fers sup­port to older peo­ple liv­ing in their own home. It matches specif­i­cally trained vol­un­teers with older peo­ple liv­ing in the com­mu­nity and pro­vides dif­fer­ent types of as­sis­tance de­pend­ing on in­di­vid­ual needs. Whether it’s trans­port to ap­point­ments, help with shop­ping or reg­u­lar friend­ship and com­pan­ion­ship - it’s all part of the ser­vice.

Sup­port­Link is about pro­vid­ing a so­cial el­e­ment to older peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, as op­posed to pro­vid­ing in-home care which is a ser­vice a num­ber of other or­gan­i­sa­tions pro­vide. We also run hugely pop­u­lar cof­fee groups for older peo­ple in In­ver­cargill, Gore and Queen­stown. At En­liven, we be­lieve some things make for health­ier, hap­pier liv­ing, no mat­ter what your age or abil­ity.

If you could ben­e­fit from the sup­port of­fered by Sup­port­Link, or are in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing, visit www.en­ or phone 03 211 2800.

Lynn Mor­ton is En­liven’s com­mu­nity ser­vices man­ager.

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