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Supporting the Elderly in New Zealand

Info: 3315 words (13 pages) Essay
Published: 28th Sep 2017 in Health

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It is undeniable that seniors are facing many geriatric problems, it may be physically or emotionally. Most of them are very common among elderly and these problems are either hard to treat or not curable at all. Others would have to buy prescribed drugs that are cheaper as drug maintenance, while some needs regular rehabilitation or physiotherapy visits, furthermore some needs to undergo surgery. In general, some of the most common geriatric health conditions identified are hearing problems, visual impairment, joint pain, depression and cognitive loss that includes Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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Hearing difficulties related to gradual or sudden decrease in how a person can hear. These problem is typically become worst and most common when someone gets older and most geriatric patients has hearing loss problems. In some cases, it could be just unable to hear a certain sounds or maybe leads to a total deaf. Using hearing aids to be able to hear is really a big help and surgery is also an option if someone needs to hear completely depending on their case.

Visual impairment is associated with some or total loss of vision. Geriatric patients usually has low to severe visual conditions that includes glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems. It could be treated with some prescribed medications and surgery depends on the condition. But regular eye screening for elderly is highly recommended as conditions persist as they becomes older.

Joint pain is usually experienced by most elderly. This is because the cartilage of the joint becomes weaker as people grow older. Osteoarthritis is the most common among elderly. Anti-inflammatory medications help relieve the pain but there is no cure for it. Regular exercise is advised. As they say, prevention is better than cure.

Depression is a health condition which is due to intense feelings of sadness acted upon. These may also be related to low self-esteem and feeling of doom that eventually affects someone’s thoughts and behavior. Feeling of loneliness and isolation as the most common cause of depression among elderly.

Cognitive impairment means a condition happens due to loss of memory. That includes loss of concentration, thinking, perception, reasoning, intelligence and other cognitive functions. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the most common and the advance form of cognitive impairment that has no cure.

Task 1

Different Geriatric Support Organization


The Super Gold card is for seniors and veterans that gives them the privileged to have a discounts and concessions in recognition of their involvement to New Zealand society. If they have the super gold card, they are given deductions and deals from a variety of businesses; government discounts that includes free off- peak public transportation and deducted services from local council. They can use this card to more than 7,000 super gold businesses and over 11,500 super gold card outlets nationwide. In addition to that, seniors can also use the super gold card when visiting Australia. They can avail the super gold card for free.


Alzheimer’s New Zealand Incorporated has a 21 Alzheimer’s member organization that is a not-for-profit type of organization found all over the country, that offer services and provides information, support and education programs suitable to their respective local community.

The services they provide are the following:

  • Gives support for families, spouses, and partners to deal with the loads of caring.
  • They provide education and information to help them understand the assessment and diagnosis of the disease process.
  • Conduct day programmes and take care of people with dementia.
  • Provides appropriate information to help them handle financial aspects by providing support.

Alzheimer’s New Zealand embodies persons with dementia, their families and carers through encouragement, educating public awareness and by giving information through weekly publication, and different resources about Alzheimer’s at a national level. They also support the work of their member’s organizations respectively and honors the Treaty of Waitangi by emerging a good working relationship with Māori in the endowment of dementia services. They also value the incomparable contribution of volunteers and the importance of sharing their experiences and skills, their commitment and unique role to enhance the welfare of persons with dementia.


Grey Power New Zealand is an advocacy kind of organization that promotes the well-being and welfare of the elderly in their mid-retirement age group. Their mission is to be the suitable voice for all New Zealanders. One of their main concern is the level of superannuation due to difficulty of having a fulfilling life on the present level of payment. In addition to that, health system and the escalating cost of electricity s their major concern. Some of the outcome that Grey Power have been achieved are Surtax removal; Lower’s doctors and pharmacy fee’s, over 80’s driving test removal; improved regulations for rest homes and many more.


Is a non- government international organization with an involvement base of the corporate sector, NGO’s government, academia and individuals. They believe that they can generate positive change for elderly throughout the world by collecting, analyzing disseminating and by stimulating information on different policies, rights and right practices to improve the quality of life. As their priorities they bridge gaps in the understanding and provide knowledge of the ageing process. They empower older people by developing tools with the help of various groups. And by helping raise an age friendly environment locally, regionally and globally. Their main achievement consistently campaigned for the rights of elderly in many ways.


Deaf Aotearoa is a Deaf-led, and a not-for-profit form of organization. They are the only nationwide agency that gives services to deaf people. They also signifies deaf people in New Zealand as an ordinary associate of the World Federation of the Deaf internationally. Moreover, promoting awareness of, enhancement and access of New Zealand Sign Language is their main focus. Their goal is to have the full participation and equality in society by Deaf individuals.

The services that they provide includes flexible and responsive facilities which will accommodate the deaf community’s needs by providing sufficient knowledge, right information, accessible resources and skills. Through these, deaf people will be able to independently manage dealings in their own lives. They also work with government agencies and other organizations to provide information on life for Deaf New Zealanders and the Deaf community.

Geriatric Service Provisions


Is not just a building but a philosophy of care that the main concern is the patients comfort and maintain the patient’s quality of life rather than curing their disease. In general, hospice care is suitable for person with a life expectancy of six months or less and terminal illness. Hospice care is usually set in their home but it may also be arranged as an inpatient hospice units. Unlike in other set up, hospice care does not have a 24 hour round the clock supervision nursing care, that’s why patients are either taking care of by hired care givers, nursing home staff or a family members.

The ultimate mission of any hospice care is to sustain life and view death as a natural process. It is not intended help someone die nor to hasten death, but somewhat to assist patients live their lives to the fullest. Some people will say that their dream is to have a comfortable, peaceful death surrounded by their families and love ones. Hospice care is a trained interdisciplinary team of professionals that work together to provide hospice care to make their request possible.


Nursing home is usually a place that provides the maximum level of care for the elderly outside of a hospital. They provide a custodial care that includes providing assistance with feeding, dressing and bathing, getting in and out of bed and assist them in their activities of daily living.

However, what makes nursing home different to other elderly facilities is that they also provide a high level of medical care to their patients. They have licensed physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals that supervises each patients care. They also have a 24 hour skilled nursing care available on site to make sure that the delivery of appropriate therapies and medical procedures is provided that other institution does not have. Many believed that nursing home has a label or negative connotations for some people however nursing homes provides an important part of elderly housing options.


In general, end of life support refers to a person’s last few days of life when that person is in terminal phase or irreversibly dying. The care given to patients around the time of death has always been the core of the palliative care practice. It is also important to identify the dying patient so that to allow them as well as their care givers to achieve their goals, reorient their priorities in order for the appropriate end of life support can be provided. End of life care focuses not just to the physical aspect but also with the spiritual and psychosocial needs of patients and love ones and extends into the grief period.

Palliative care providers consequently have two goals. Firstly, is to provide necessary care for patients and their families to attain diminish distress and suffering. And secondly to improve healthcare system strategies to guarantee best practice has been provided wherever the dying patient is cared for.


Is a supervised living set up in a somewhat home like environment for grownups who are not able to live alone due to age- related conditions physically or, emotionally, visual or mental disabilities. This type of program is suitable for young adult and older, who cannot live independently that needs assistance with their activities of daily living. These is also regulated by each state. In general, this type of facility is smaller than the traditional type of personal care homes and usually the domiciliary care is the individual’s provider’s home. They insure that safety and health standards are met annually. Under this program they received assistance and supervisions with self-help routines such as, grooming, housekeeping, laundry services, meals and bathing.

And if the patient takes medications, the care provider supervises the dosage yet importantly, resident should feel into a family caring and encourage to have a sense of independence and belongingness.


Is a healthcare professional that specializes in maximizing individuals’ potential, function and movements. Physiotherapist may work with clients after surgery or accident, injury after sports activities or in the workplace. They work in a wide range of settings that includes, private clinics, nursing homes, hospices, patients own home, at the work place, sports clubs and gym or hospitals. Physiotherapist is also known as the British equivalent of Physical Therapist. The specific conditions that physiotherapy assist in elderly includes, arthritis, heart disease, back or neck pain, osteoporosis, problems affecting the nervous system like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s


Is primarily for individuals with dementia, as well as their families and care givers that assist them with named contact throughout their journey with dementia. They are specially trained and skilled experience advisers who gives advice, provides information and the opportunity to give the right support to dementia patients. Their aim is to be able to manage and understand the disease process more effectively so that every person with dementia can live well and can make informed choices for their future. They also assist to make them socially active, helps to improve their well-being and reduce isolation.

Task 2

Booklet Outline

Management have identified the following stigma impacts:

Social isolation of the individual and their family

The main goal to a person with dementia is to keep that person as socially active as possible by being psychological safety with others or by being attentive to physical safety, which includes children within the family. Because social isolation for person with dementia may lead to increased confusion and will lower level of functioning.

Assumption of automatic loss of independence

In some aspects person with dementia, reported a great need for support in performing out their activities independently. Each person perceived a different degree of difficulty to carry out daily activities. To help dementia patient perform activities, automatic reminders will be very useful. People with dementia verbalized a need that was feelings of autonomy, the need to be allowed and be able to drive their car. People with dementia talked about the remarkable loss of independence that associated with having to give up driving their car.

Unable to make decisions about own care

We have the ability to make our own decisions unless otherwise proven according to the law. This is what we call having the competence or the capacity. Every person’s capacity can be altered by anxiety, illness, stress, injury infection and then regained after illness passes. Lack of capacity is not does not mean an indicator of dementia. Having the capacity to decide vary depending on the topic being decided.

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We can encourage elderly to make their own decisions by, taking time when they are less tired like as earlier in the day, selecting a place where they can feel comfortable, safe and they can relax; take time in providing them the information for them to make an informed decision- that includes explaining things clearly; we should listen to them and respect their decisions and choices even if you don’t agree.

Dissatisfying interactions with the medical community

People in the early stage of dementia or Alzheimer’s report important challenges in efficiently directing the diagnostic process as well as the follow up of treatment and care. They even express having difficulty in securing timely and valid diagnosis mostly specifically those with early onset of Alzheimer’s. They seek more complete information once identified so that they will know what to expect and the process that they are going to take to improve their quality of life, both in terms of community resources and available medications.

Uncertainly of support services and treatments

The lack of knowledge about appropriate and accessible support services that are available in the area was expressed. Temporarily, patient in the early stage of dementia accept the benefit of the services that really do exist, and in which they have joined. Precisely, they focus on the importance of obtaining appropriate support, and find support groups that are available in various modalities to connect with others having shared understanding of the condition.


To summarize it all, there are variety of services offered to assist and help elderly to maintain their dignity, safety and independence. That includes someone that would help to stay living at home, like as help with household chores, personal care, meals, social activities and transport. These include also assistance in nursing care and other allied health professionals such as podiatry, occupational therapist, or physiotherapist, house aids and modifications and assistance for carers are also available. Elderly who needs more help with activities of daily living or health care my find the best way to receive support and help form different organizations and sectors.

In New Zealand and in other countries, there are different perceptions of ageing can be based on wrong and negative stigmas that will eventually lead to elderly feeling of powerlessness and isolated. Some of these common stigmas about seniors includes the saying that seniors are all the same, that they cannot make decisions on their own, that they are prone to sickness and that they are burden to their families or love ones.

It is also important for people working with elderly to test these misconceptions and be able to promote the seniors rights and independence, with respect and dignity, as well as by providing them the access to community resources and access to different services. By doing so, we were able to respect their rights while also being aware of some of the common problems they are experiencing so that we can also adapt our work to meet their needs.


The process of ageing can result in physical and sensory changes as well as bringing an increased risk of conditions such as dementia, stroke, diabetes and heart disease. We need to be aware of how these issues may affect an older person’s access to and use of services and adapt our work to ensure that any barriers are addressed.


Ministry of Health (2013). New Zealand Framework for Dementia Care. Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/new-zealand-framework-for-dementia-care-nov13.pdf

Ministry of Health (2014). Health of older people organisations and websites. Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/life-stages/health-older-people/health-older-people-organisations-and-websites

HealthinAging.org.Trusted Information. Better Care. A guide to geriatric Syndromes. Common and Often Related Medical Conditions in Older Adults, Retrieved from http://www.healthinaging.org/resources/resource:guide-to-geriatric-syndromes-part-i

Geriatrics society (2008) The 5 most common geriatric problems and how to overcome it. Retrieved from http://www.thegeriatricpatient.com/node/122

Chang, L. (2007) Common Geriatric Conditions Overlooked. WebMD Health News. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/news/20070806/common-geriatric-conditions-overlooked

Alzheimer’s New Zealand. Dementia the future is now. Retrieved from http://www.alzheimers.org.nz/about-us/who-we-are

Help Guide.org. A guide to Nursing Homes. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/elder/nursing_homes_skilled_nursing_facilities.htm

Hospice New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.hospice.org.nz/


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