Senior living: a place to call home

Guest Blog by Private Care NZ

Getting older, it’s often said, is a privilege to be cherished. It’s different for everyone: some of us are keen to carry on working, some will retire, and some have whanau or family members whom we live with or care for. It’s often more than not one of these.

We also have our hobbies and community commitments, as well as health considerations. All these factors come into play when planning where we will live.

A choice that fits

In Aotearoa New Zealand today, and especially around our main centres, there is no shortage of choice in specialised retirement living. From the ‘village’ style communities, where single residents or couples choose from private, self-contained homes, through to partial-care or serviced apartments, and on to a more purpose-built, full-care environment.

These do suit many people, but of course, not everyone. Moving to a new neighbourhood can be a challenge, emotionally and physically – especially with the potential for lots of new people to deal with, and a change in access to our usual friends and support network. Moving can also be a rather large cost financially once we factor in real estate agent fee, moving costs, and the price of the new place we move into. 

Other considerations, like safety and independence, need to be weighed according to our own needs and capabilities. As these can change over time, it helps for both us and our loved ones to keep an open mind – as with most things in life!

Independent living

The benefits of staying in our own home, or downsizing to a similar one independently, are many. Not having to relocate helps provide a reassuring continuity to daily life, and allows us to keep our preferred routines and privacy.

If we don’t own our home, or if downsizing is less of an option, sharing with friends as housemates can be a sociable and more cost-effective way of maintaining our independence.

Getting the right support

Those of us living with certain health conditions can be eligible for government-funded care. However, private carers are also available – allowing you to specify exactly the kind of help you need. It might be making meals, certain household tasks or personal care and grooming – anything that will support you to keep living comfortably and safely.

Making the most of technology

Throughout our lifetimes, we have seen extraordinary leaps forward in the tools we use to communicate. Video calls were once a concept for futuristic fantasy movies, and now they’re part of many people’s daily life.

As with any tool, smartphones and computers are easy to use with a bit of practice. Most care providers will have a tool for you to request and change carer visits, which connects straight into their system and is free for you to use around the clock.

There are also personal medical alarms, like Freedom Medical Alarms, which provide peace of mind knowing that help will find you fast in an emergency.

Where to from here?

If you’ve got these matters on your mind, a good first step can be talking to your GP – potentially alongside a whānau member or support person. They can advise you on your current health needs, how these might change in future and what support options are available to suit.

If you’re keen to know more about personalised care that lets you stay in the comfort of your own home, get in touch with Private Care NZ by calling 0800 55 55 88 or visit www.privatecarenz.com.

For more information about how medical alarms can keep you safe at home, call 0800 380 280 or visit www.freedomalarms.co.nz.

About Age Concern New Zealand 'on research'

At the heart of everything Age Concern does is a passion to see older people experience well-being, respect, dignity, and to be included and valued. We support, inform and advise older people on issues such as access to health care, transport, housing, financial entitlements, and social opportunities. We also work to combat real problems in our society, like elder abuse and neglect, chronic loneliness and social isolation. We provide specialist services with trained and qualified professionals able to give expert advice and assistance. Age Concern is a charity and relies on the support of volunteers and public donations to do much of the work we do. To help us help older people, please consider making a donation of your time or money. To see how, visit www.ageconcern.org.nz
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