What to do when you suspect elder abuse? Trust your gut!

Age Concern is a charity dedicated to helping older New Zealanders have a great later life. Supporting people who are experiencing elder abuse is part of their DNA. 
Elder abuse occurs when an older person is harmed through the actions of those they trust.  No one is immune. It can happen to men and women of every culture, faith, ethnicity, and socio-economic group. 

Unfortunately, elder abuse is prevalent in New Zealand but often not reported.  But we can all play our part in speaking up, so older Kiwis can be free from the fear, mental anguish, emotional pain, and distress the elder abuse causes. 
Many people think it won’t happen to them or to someone in their family, so it is confronting when it does. However, Age Concerns say they would rather people seek support early, rather than let it go and escalate.
It affects those who own a great deal, those who own very little, and all those in-between who have managed to save and invest enough to cover their needs for their own retirement years.

“If we all acted on the inkling we have when something seems a bit off, older people’s lives and dignity would be saved,” she says.

“Elder abuse is a hard issue to raise, and it is often underreported due to the perceived shame that may bring on a family. But we cannot turn a blind eye anymore because people’s choices are being disregarded, they are not getting the care they need, and their voices are not being listened to in these situations.”

How can I tell if someone is being abused or neglected?
The following signs may indicate an older person is being abused:

  • unexplained behaviour, sleeping or eating habits
  • fearfulness and edginess
  • confusion
  • unexplained injuries
  • drowsiness (due to over-medication)
  • recoiling from touch
  • unusual withdrawals from bank accounts
  • unpaid bills, lack of money for necessities.

“Please trust your gut and get in touch with us, we know talking to someone early on is a game-changer, says Billings-Jensen.
Elder abuse and neglect have a negative impact on the well-being and quality of life of older people. As a result, older people’s lives are devalued. 
The personal losses associated with abuse can be devastating and include the loss of independence, homes, life savings, health, dignity, and security. It damages family/whānau relationships, financial security, and mental and physical health, increasing dependency on health and support agencies which may result in the need for residential care.” 

How you can help – 10 tips to be kind and prevent abuse

  • Love and cherish your older relatives
  • Phone, zoom, or facetime older people
  • Visit older people in your neighbourhood
  • Involve kaumātua in your social activities
  • Encourage older people to make their own decisions
  • Support older people to use their money for their needs
  • Honour kaumātua’s wisdom
  • Enable older people to set their own pace
  • Speak respectfully and listen to older people’s stories
  • Seek advice from any Elder Abuse Service or Age Concern if you think an older person is being abused or neglected.

Join the movement to fight ageism?

Stand against ageism with us and sign up on www.ageconcern.org.nz as an Age Concern New Zealand Dignity Champions and pledge to:

  • Reject stereotypes and focus on the uniqueness of every individual
  • Speak up when you hear people speaking negatively about growing old
  • Have the courage to question practices they feel are disrespectful to older people
  • Be patient, polite, and friendly
  • Have zero tolerance for abuse or neglect
  • Build relationships. 

Report it!

If you or someone you know has questions about elder abuse, they can get in touch with their local Age Concern for free and confidential advice and support www.ageconcern.org.nz or freephone 0800 65 2 105. If it is a crisis or emergency, and someone’s safety is at risk please call the emergency services on 111.

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Flexible working conditions – what are they and how do they benefit older workers?

Judith A. Davey  

Workforce ageing has emerged as a significant issue since the 1990s, but another crucial issue facing the NZ economy now is labour and skill shortages. By 2030, more people will be retiring than entering the workforce if recent trends continue. This shortage issue has come to the fore again, reinforced by the impact of the Covid19 pandemic – lack of immigrant workers, people away from work because of sickness or to avoid contamination, hospitality cut back from lack of custom. We have the ironic situation of labour shortages coexisting with very low unemployment rates.

Rates of participation in the workforce by older people are already increasing. Longer lives and better health in later life provide an opportunity for staying on in paid work. Between ages 65 and 69 over half of NZ adults have some level of paid work, even if part-time. This is facilitated by the universality of NZ Superannuation which has no work test. Then there are concerns about the cost of living, about declining homeownership  – many older people still paying mortgages, and the proportion in rental accommodation also increasing – as are rents. So many older people have financial motives for staying in paid work.

In addition to these incentives, it is clear that meaningful and appropriate work is beneficial to the well-being of older people. Remaining in or re-entering the workforce can have a positive psychological impact for older people The habits of work routine are beneficial to a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment; work provides camaraderie and is linked to self-worth as opposed to the potential social exclusion of retirement.

A significant solution to the skills shortage crisis, which is receiving very little attention, is encouraging more older people to remain in the workforce beyond the age of eligibility NZS, Extending the economically active life of older people will bring both social and economic benefits.

Flexible working conditions

If more older people are encouraged to remain in the workforce to fill the gaps, they need appropriate working conditions – working as and when they prefer. Flexible work practices are essential, including longer breaks and holidays; shorter hours, on a daily, weekly or annual basis; choices about night or shift work, and the option of being ‘on call’. New Zealand has legislation providing the ‘right to request’ flexible work arrangements, subject to employers’ agreement. The right was initially only for employees with caring responsibilities but is now extended to all. When evaluating the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007, it was found that a high proportion of requests were approved and only 56% related to caring responsibilities.

But the Covid 19 pandemic has changed what is meant by flexible working conditions. This was clear in our current research, through Massey University, on how employers with large workforces manage workforce ageing. When we started this –in 2019 -and asked about flexible working conditions the response included all items on the list above.

But now when we ask the same question the answer is always about the ability to work from home – how it is arranged, how communication is kept up, and who can do it[1]. This allows most work to continue even in a pandemic situation. But is this the type of flexible working conditions that older people want? Given the serious effects of loneliness and social isolation, an older person remaining in paid work or starting a new job may not want to be confined to their home. They may want the stimulation of “getting out of the house” and social interaction with co-workers. Having older workers on hand will provide advantages to employers, – ensuring a return on investment in training and accumulated experience; promoting diversity and balance in the workforce; and reflecting the age profile of customers and clients.


[1] And perhaps how distraction caused by domestic cats, dogs, toddlers, and, in my case, abseilers descending on ropes to clean windows, can be minimised.

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No rest for family in caring roles

A survey by Carers NZ, with more than 650 responses, has found that Covid-19 has shown almost 90% of family carers have had less or much less respite from caring since before the pandemic.

At least a million New Zealanders provide this care for someone in their family. For many, it’s a 24/7 role.

“They’re tired, burned out, and experiencing long-term wellbeing impacts,” says Carers NZ chief executive Laurie Hilsgen.

Family carers are the last frontline supporting vulnerable people living at home. Their role is one that is vital but taken for granted, she says.

A  majority of New Zealand’s family carers are women, most in middle age and over half have a disability or health condition themselves while assisting at least one other family member who has ongoing support needs. Their unpaid mahi aroha has an annual economic value of at least $10 billion.

Carers NZ and the Carers Alliance of more than 50 national not-for-profits (including Alzheimers NZ) wrote to Health Minister Andrew Little and Carmel Sepuloni, the Minister of Social Development, before Christmas seeking urgent support and new respite measures for family carers, in anticipation of the omicron surge.

They asked that emergency respite be made available to support those in primary caring roles who were struggling after months of no breaks, or who became ill with Covid-19. Government responded positively, but action has been too slow, Hilsgen says.

“We’re still just talking about what to do. Now omicron is widespread and carers are working harder than ever. They deserve better.”

Before the pandemic, more than 50% of carers said they were able to have publicly-funded respite (time out from caring) weekly, or monthly, or whenever they needed a break. 35% could have breaks several times a year, while the balance had respite only in emergencies.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, 88% of carers who completed the survey have had less or much less respite. Reasons include disrupted respite services, worker shortages, and doing more directly for friends and family to reduce the risk of virus exposure from workers coming into their homes. Comments by carers responding to the survey about how less respite has affected their wellbeing are sobering, says Hilsgen.

“They show significant suffering.”

Carers NZ and the Carers Alliance have called on the Government, the Ministry of Health, District Health Boards, and ACC to take immediate steps to sustain and support family carers.

Measures could include providing additional respite funding as a pandemic response, better availability, and promotion of respite funding flexibility, and increased emergency respite to help carers get through. Ensuring the health, disability, and aged care system responds with sympathy if a carer asks for urgent help in the months ahead is also important but isn’t happening consistently across New Zealand, Hilsgen says.

“For most working New Zealanders, their shifts end and they go home for sleep, food, and to recharge. For many family carers, their shift never ends. No matter how tired they are, they don’t walk away, because someone they care about depends on them. We urgently need to do more to support family carers.”

Published by Alzheimers New Zealand – Tuesday 15 March, 2022

Alzheimers New Zealand

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Resilience and related concepts – what do they mean for older people?  

Judith A.Davey

There has been quite a lot written recently about the capacity of older people to weather major disasters and disruptions in their lives – earthquakes, floods, and pandemics. Very often the word “resilience” crops up, sometimes praising older people for their resilience or citing the aim of restoring resilience as the objective of post-disaster activities. But what does resilience really mean?

I have recently read the Australian Association of Gerontology’s Position Paper: Promoting Older People’s Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth following Disasters, Trauma and Adversity (AAG), 2022.  This document defines resilience as “the capacity to withstand and recover from significant adversities, and the ability to adapt to severe life situations and cope with stress and preserve functioning.” Protective factors for resilience among older people are quoted as life experience, physical activity, social support, flexibility, spirituality, self-esteem, social cohesion, and access to social resources. These are areas of potential development and enhancement and are widely seen as necessary for the wellbeing of older people. But the authors suggest that addressing the impact of disasters, trauma and adversity are more complex and multi-dimensional than simply building up or maintaining resilience levels.

One of the consequences related to surviving life-threatening disasters and trauma is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), along with chronic PTSD (symptoms continuing beyond three months) and Delayed Onset PTSD, which may remain hidden for a long period and then emerge suddenly due to an event, trigger, or reminder of the original trauma.

There is also cumulative trauma – generated over a lifetime of experience. Lifetime adversity will certainly have a detrimental effect on physical and mental health and reduced quality of life.

However, there is evidence that some people who are exposed to disasters or trauma, are able to grow from these experiences. This has led to the term Post Traumatic Growth (PTG)to describe the process of experiencing trauma and growing from this experience.

Also contributing to growth in later life, according to the literature, is gerotranscendence, which describes how growth can occur through the natural process of ageing as” a progression towards maturation and wisdom brought about by a life-course trajectory and re-examination of our priorities in life.“
These are all difficult concepts to express simply, but the position paper goes on to analyse them in detail.

Resilience

It has been suggested that resilience and its protective factors could be learnable behaviours and that interventions including education and training could assist older people to bolster their overall resilience. But other research has focused on how people can acquire resilience. This emphasises the central role that environmental factors can play in  developing coping resources, hence resilience.  These factors include social supports and social connectedness. Such measures to improve wellbeing in later life are being brought the fore through Age Concern action and in government statements.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is less likely to result from surviving a natural disaster than from human action or violence. It can lead to a loss of trust and a sense of betrayal, with associated serious symptoms such as avoidance behaviour, intrusive memories, or self-destructive behaviour. An individual may be constantly alert and hypervigilant, may feel helpless, vulnerable, and frightened.  Although PTSD may not figure as such in elder abuse literature, it is clear that serious cases may lead older people to suffer in this way, which needs to be acknowledged.

Post Traumatic Growth

As they age, older people may be beset by multiple challenges in quick succession such as serious illness, loss of partners, loneliness, isolation, and upheaval through relocation. Thus resilience and coping mechanisms become more challenged and stretched.

This is where PTG can come in. Some people grow from traumatic or life-threatening experiences, rising above their trauma and using their experiences to move forward. By rebuilding and redefining their beliefs and goal and accepting their own mortality some people can” find more meaningful and fulfilling ways of leading their lives and understanding who they are”. This may require different types of support and intervention compared with rebuilding resilience. The paper suggests that resilience is more about ‘bouncing back’ to a prior equilibrium, whereas PTG is about ‘bouncing forward’ in response to adversity.

Gerotranscendence

I have been moving through more regularly used and probably easier to understand concepts to the more intangible. Hence arriving at gerotranscendence, which has been defined as a natural process and re-prioritisation as we age. It involves “a shift from a materialistic and pragmatic view of the world to a more cosmic and transcendent one”. We are challenged to reassess our assumptions about existence and our primary values, looking for deeper meaning and purpose. How (and if) this happens will differ according to cultural setting, religion, and spirituality. Is gerotranscendence part of the experience of normal ageing? This calls for some serious discussion.

The AAG paper concludes that being resilient to disasters, trauma and adversity is desirable, but recovering from disasters and potentially growing from these experiences is equally important. It calls not only for efforts to enhance or strengthen resilience in older people, but also support an approach to working with older people which recognises the individual’s narrative and experiences and one which will acknowledge ” the complexity that is human experience”.

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Active Ageing: A well-worthy objective

Judith Davey

I am pleased to see more and more attempts to put a positive slant on population ageing and to counteract negative views of this inexorable trend. Hopefully, we are moving away from such depictions as ‘age-quake’, “cataclysm”, “threat, ‘burden’ and ‘grey tsunami’.  And a quote from a journalist:

The ramifications (of ageing) could be serious as the elderly become an additional burden to the traditional scourges of poverty and disease.

A variety of terms has appeared in a more positive discussion about population ageing, what it means, and its implications. We hear about “healthy” “positive”, “successful”, productive”, “active” ageing, and so on. My favourite is active ageing.

The ‘Active Aging’ concept emerged during the International Year of Older Persons (1999). It brings together aspects of health, participation, and independence, recognising that the knowledge and wisdom which older people will be invaluable if they are given opportunities to participate and to remain active. It has been applied in practice, with considerable success, through the Age-Friendly Cities and Communities movement.

In 2018 the European Commission defined active ageing as – ‘helping people stay in charge of their own lives for as long as possible as they age, and, where possible, to contribute to the economy and society’’. A shorter definition – “ageing well” – is the title of the National Science Challenge research programme, which started in 2013 and is producing relevant and useful findings. All these phrases are intended to counteract the “deficit” model of ageing, which implies inevitable and uncorrected physical and mental decline with age.

In my optimism, I believe that the more active view of ageing fits well with the outlook of the generations currently entering later life (however we want to define it in terms of age). The epithet “baby boomers” used to be a demographic term, but it has recently been used negatively to foment intergenerational conflict. It is far too stereotypical – baby boomers are not all the same. But, on average, they are better educated than preceding generations of older people. Many have fought against racism, homophobia, and authoritarianism, and championed women’s rights, citizen empowerment, and sexual freedom. Even if they have not fought, they have felt the effects of fundamental social and economic change, which supports the active ageing concept.

So, what is needed to promote Active Ageing?

Active Aging was defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “the process of optimizing opportunities for physical, social, and mental well-being throughout the life course” i.e. developing the full potential of individuals of all ages. This must entail a very wide scope of action. It is not enough to keep the emphasis is only on one aspect of life, such as health (Healthy Ageing) or economic participation (Productive Ageing), as has been the case in some policy initiatives.

A successful strategy to promote Active Ageing needs to bring together wider domains, including wellbeing, social and economic participation, and citizenship. Its aims should be to promote lifelong learning, working longer, “retiring” later, and continuing to be active in later life, engaging in activities to promote skills and maintain health. And to contribute generativity, which I described in a 2020 post. 

But we cannot ignore socio-economic, socio-political, and environmental factors which affect the context in which people age. Initiatives to promote Active Ageing, in the way I have defined it, should also recognise that achieving this goal is influenced by environmental, economic, cultural, and social conditions which provide opportunities or create barriers for older people. The physical and built environments are of great importance in determining people’s level of (in)dependency. There are also personal determinants – individual biological, psychological, and behavioural conditions and experiences. We often over-generalise about older people, their characteristics, and their life experiences.

But Active Ageing can be criticised

The Active Ageing model can become somewhat coercive, with high expectations and ideals being placed on older people who may not be able to achieve them because of personal circumstances in terms of health, educational level, or income. The prospect of decline cannot be totally eradicated. Sky-diving at age 99 is not a realistic ideal for all!

An emphasis on remaining economically active may exclude people who are not in the paid labour force for whatever reason, stigmatising them as ‘non-active’. This devalues their contribution as volunteers, carers, and grandparents, and overlooks the aspect of choice – people may prefer not to be in paid work.

Active Ageing (in some definitions) may be unattainable for a large group of older people. An emphasis on this approach may contribute to social discrimination and the exclusion of the oldest-old, as well as those vulnerable, fragile, and dependent, who do not meet the criteria in terms of activity, productivity, and independence.

So, however much we (and I) like the idea of Active Ageing, we must be careful of how it is defined and brought into policy and practice. It can be a good thing so long as it recognises diversity at the individual and contextual levels.

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Getting back together

Louise Rees – National Manager Social Connection Services – Age Concern New Zealand

With the relaxation of government rules on scanning, vaccine passes, gathering limits, and vaccine mandates, New Zealanders can theoretically get back to more normal patterns of social interaction. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Getting back together will involve significant challenges. The team of five million is no longer the united entity that it became during the early part of the pandemic. A change of government rules is unlikely to result in a herd-like change of behaviour across the population or heal the divisions that have emerged between people with opposing views and beliefs.

The traffic light system allows a greater degree of personal choice about how much individuals socialize than the previous alert levels. The red setting has allowed us to continue to see friends, attend social gatherings, dine out and go to bars. This hasn’t prevented hospitality venues from reporting devastating losses as many customers exercise caution and choose to stay away. This is not surprising when the peak of the wave saw over 20,000 new infections and multiple deaths per day, and public comments about the ‘mild’ effects of Omicron are balanced by warnings of potential serious illness and long-term effects.

The level of interaction and risk that individuals within family, friend, and workgroups find acceptable varies widely. This is likely to persist since daily case numbers are predicted to remain in the thousands even after the Omicron wave subsides. The recent relaxation of rules is adding to Covid anxiety amongst disabled and immunocompromised New Zealanders. For community organisations like Age Concern Covid anxiety and caution continue to impact the delivery of normal services and activities. A March 2022 survey of 450 older people conducted by Age Concern Wellington found that over two-thirds of participants were going out as little as possible, and that only 30% were attending social activities. Added to pandemic-related losses of volunteers this suggests that our road back to business as usual is likely to be bumpy.

2022 has also seen new levels of social division and unrest relating to the vaccination itself, and to vaccine passes and mandates. Unvaccinated people are in the minority, but it is a vocal and committed minority. At the extreme end these views have led to people sacrificing jobs and taking part in violent protests. For others, it has meant missing out on contact with vaccinated family and friends and being excluded from hospitality venues, sports facilities, and public buildings. The scenes outside parliament were shocking but were also a wake-up call to the dangers of misinformation and deteriorating social cohesion.  Whilst the actions of some protesters were appalling, the hurt, sense of social exclusion, and vaccine fear expressed by many were very real.

Recent sharp increases in the cost of living will now be adding to the challenge of repairing trust in government for those feeling themselves to be on the margins. Many New Zealanders based overseas have also felt shut out of the team of five million, and Aucklanders have faced greater isolation and disruption than other New Zealanders during much of the pandemic.

Social connection matters. It affects our health and wellbeing, our happiness and even our productivity, and there is evidence that loneliness and isolation in New Zealand have increased during the pandemic.  So, it’s important that we find ways to come together and rebuild our social muscles and fabric as we learn to live with Covid in our communities. There are things that we can all do to make that happen.

Firstly, we can work on ourselves. This is a good time for some reflection on how two years of pandemic have altered our habits and our thinking. If you’ve managed to remain your best self over the past two years, I take my hat off to you. For myself, I know that during the first lockdown in 2020, I was scared, but the novelty of it was motivating. I went for long walks, had distanced conversations with strangers on the street, tried new recipes, cleaned the pantry wrote a journal and part of a novel, crocheted a blanket, and took time to appreciate the solitude, the peace, and the birdsong. I’m now in my fourth (or is it fifth?) period of working from home, and I re-read that journal last week. It was a little like reading a diary from my teens. Who was that naïve and ridiculous person? I now feel jaded, and more than two years older. This time around, I still go for walks, but those creative activities have mostly been replaced with Netflix, Youtube, and news scrolling, my social energy is reserved for close friends and family, I’m easily annoyed by noise in the street, and my lifelong love of travel feels like something from a distant past. In short, I’m not certain that this is how I want to live for the rest of my life, so I need to make some changes.

Overcoming Covid anxiety and building bridges between people with differing views and pandemic experiences will not be easy, but small steps and actions can make a difference. Wellington-based clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo writes here about pandemic-induced social anxiety and how to overcome it and begin rebuilding our atrophied social muscles. Some of us will have pulled back from face-to-face contact with family, friends or colleagues who hold different views and have made different choices about vaccines and mandates. Those on opposite sides may never agree about the facts, so getting together again will involve showing respect for personal choice, acknowledging the emotions behind those choices, and seeking to understand how people with different pandemic experiences have been affected. If we’ve become estranged from someone we care about, a first step can be letting them know that we miss them and would like to see them again.

Amongst my own family and friends, I can see a new etiquette emerging as we learn to live with Covid. Pre-pandemic, getting together used to involve working out what, when, and where. Those conversations now include discussions about how to manage risks so that everyone feels safe enough to meet. Some are unworried about catching Covid or have had it. Others only feel comfortable with precautions in place, whether that be wearing masks, social distancing, meeting outside, or continuing to meet online. It will be important to keep having those discussions, respectfully and without judgement if we are to rebuild our social confidence whilst living with Covid and make our worlds bigger again one step at a time. 

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THE ART OF LETTER WRITING

Lara DuRand

Originally posted by Ryman Healthcare – March 2nd 2022

There’s something timeless about letter-writing. The written letter has long been an essential form of communication around the world.

The art of letter writing

There’s something timeless about letter-writing. The written letter has long been an essential form of communication around the world. Even as computers and the internet have overtaken the physical letter, being able to write a great letter is of value. And there’s nothing like opening the mailbox to see something other than advertising and bills.

The personal touch
A handwritten or typed letter often feels more meaningful than a text message or email. Putting your thoughts and well-wishes onto paper is a thoughtful way to connect with someone on a personal level. It shows that you have taken time to craft your words and carefully consider them in your communication. It’s also an opportunity for quiet, calm, and self-reflection. An experience that many people who enjoy journaling for mindfulness do daily. In a world where digital communication reigns, writing and receiving tangible letters is a rare and special opportunity for connection.

A handwritten history
For hundreds of years, the only way people could communicate with one other across large distances was through letters. Beginning around 500 BC, the first recorded handwritten letter was sent by the Persian Queen Atossa. Rulers of nations of the ancient world were separated by great distances and used letters as a way to communicate with each other. Found in Egypt in 1887, a collection of documents confirmed early correspondence between rulers in the Middle East and Egyptian pharaohs. At the time, many materials were used to write letters on, including pottery fragments, animal skin, metal, and papyrus.

When papyrus was hard to come by, further creativity was applied when it came to writing materials. In the dark ages, Saxons wrote on the bark of the beech tree, called boc, which is where the word book originates from. Eventually, papers were created using cotton and linen throughout the 12th – 14th century. This was the beginning of the paper we use now.

Around the mid-1800s national postal delivery services emerged. This marked the beginning of the post as we now know it, with nationwide delivery and stamps. Many letters written by notable people have been collected, protected, researched, and presented to the public. They have provided valuable insight into their lives and as an autobiographical style of literature.

The times, they are a-changing
Letters remained a primary form of communication internationally until the telegraph. Long-distance communication was changed forever. It became easier and more efficient. Letter writing has continued to diminish in popularity as new technologies have continually made communication faster and easier.

What used to be a practical necessity has become a romanticized form of communication. Movies are written about love letters, people often write letters or keep handwritten journals in TV shows, and typewriters are the tool of choice for those with writer’s block who have escaped to the countryside to complete a novel. While letter-writing use has dropped, its presence in popular culture has increased when communicating deep connection, reflection, and romance.

Writing a letter
From personal letters that keep friends and family updated to love letters to journal entries, they all follow a similar format. Strict formal letter writing guidelines are increasingly being left in the past and a more relaxed approach has been adopted to letter structure. But there are a few important things that you still need to consider when writing a letter.

Date – This is vital for any handwritten letter. You can use any format you like but be sure to include the year. If the letter is found again 10 years later, whoever found it will want to know which year the letter was written in. Especially if your letter is destined to be a historical document!

Greeting – How you say hello depends on your familiarity with the person you’re writing to. A simple ‘Hello,’ is acceptable for an acquaintance. You might write ‘Hi’ to a close friend or family member. Or ‘Dear,’ for more formal situations. If you don’t know who you’re writing to, ‘To whom it may concern,’ is still widely used.

Body – It helps to tell the recipient why you’re writing to them early on. This will provide them with context for the remainder of the letter. It will also help them focus on the purpose of your communication.

The structure of the body of your letter should be clear and well thought out. It pays to jot down your key points and logically organize them before beginning. This will help your letter make sense and be easy to understand as opposed to a long list of intermingled topics.

Signature – Your sign-off is similar to your greeting. It is equally dependent on your relationship and familiarity with the recipient. ‘With love,’ is appropriate for family and close friends. ‘Kind Regards,’ suits a more formal letter. And ‘Best Wishes,’ is tailor-made for farewells or well-wishing communications. Informal letters can sign off in any way. ‘Thinking of you.’ is a thoughtful sign-off for someone loved while ‘Cheers’ and ‘Bye for now’ suit family and friends.

Aside from sending a letter to somebody to say hello, there are other, more specific, reasons you might send a letter. Letters of thanks, congratulations, condolence, or a letter to the editor might compel you to pick up a pen and paper. You might write a letter to let someone know what you have been up to or to tell them how special they are to you. Or even write a letter to yourself. Perhaps the best letter of them all, this is a chance for reflection and to record your thoughts and feelings.

With so many instant methods of communication available to us, it’s easy to dismiss the importance of letter writing. But the personal touch of a handwritten letter is unmatched, and there’s nothing quite like the excitement of receiving a personal letter in the mail.

https://www.rymanhealthcare.co.nz/

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Loneliness and Social Isolation.

Guest blog from Driving Miss Daisy.

Loneliness is indiscriminate. There is an abundance of research on this subject in New Zealand and young people are just as likely to feel lonely as older generations. The level of loneliness in this country is escalating and as anyone who has ever experienced it will agree, the feeling can seem insurmountable once it settles into our lives. This has certainly been exacerbated over the last two years with intermittent lockdowns and peoples’ fear of viruses in our community.

Also, there can be many reasons for being lonely, such as health, mobility impairment, sensory loss, changes to driving ability and bereavement. There are all sorts of things happening as we age which can make getting out of the house increasingly difficult and so social isolation can cause loneliness.

When people are no longer able to drive, that’s where Driving Miss Daisy comes in! Driving Miss Daisy is the connection from home to the community. They make it their priority to ensure each and every journey is filled with laughter, kindness and positivity.

The Driving Miss Daisy drivers love to catch up with their clients and will do everything possible to make the journey enjoyable. That can be as simple as a trip to the supermarket or regular hairdresser appointments. Sometimes, it can be more adventurous and include trips further afield; outings to the beach for a breath of fresh air or coffee with friends; anywhere the heart desires.

Driving Miss Daisy is committed to helping their clients get out and about. They’re here to help their clients feel safe and comfortable. Their clients can feel confident there is every protocol in place to keep their trip safe, clean, socially distanced and with vaccinated drivers, so they can live life to the full and make the most of every moment.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles are available upon request to assist with walkers or wheelchairs. Total Mobility Scheme cards accepted.
Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

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Ageing for beginners: Episode 36 – Here comes Omicron

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Ageing for Beginners Episode 26: How to live older

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