Warn­ing of age tsunami

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

Re­cent me­dia cov­er­age about staffing short­ages threat­en­ing the op­er­a­tion and vi­a­bil­ity of one of our dis­trict’s muchloved and re­spected aged care providers, Kaitaia’s Claud Switzer Home, was right on the mark.

The short­age of nurs­ing staff qual­i­fied to care for our el­derly is a real is­sue for ev­ery­one at or ap­proach­ing re­tire­ment age in North­land, or any­one with a loved one in that cat­e­gory.

For­tu­nately, Kerik­eri Re­tire­ment Vil­lage can source just enough ca­pa­ble peo­ple. But only just — be­lieve me when I say it’s an is­sue we have to deal with on a monthly ba­sis.

It’s clear that New Zealand faces a chronic skills short­age in aged care. In the short term we need to en­cour­age suit­ably-skilled mi­grants — not de­port them. In the longer term we should be equip­ping Ki­wis to en­ter the sec­tor.

We need the Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter to put health­care as­sis­tants and reg­is­tered nurses back up the reg­is­ter of pri­or­ity skills short­ages.

FNDC projects a 52 per cent growth in over-65s liv­ing in the Far North in the next decade, with a qua­dru­pling of those over 85 in the next 20 years. We con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for co-or­di­nated think­ing around how our dis­trict is go­ing to cope with this Sil­ver Tsunami head­ing our way.

We’d love to see or­gan­i­sa­tions like our re­gional coun­cil, the North­land DHB, NorthTec and Grey Power join our aged care in­dus­try bod­ies and the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil in lob­by­ing Im­mi­gra­tion New Zealand, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and oth­ers to ad­dress this burn­ing is­sue.

HI­LARY SUMPTER Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Kerik­eri

Re­tire­ment Vil­lage

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