Grey Power head wants more aid for elderly

PresidentÂ’s tour...Enjoying a catchup over lunch is (clockwise from left) Grey Power Federation national president Jan Pentecost, husband Tony and Eastern Southland Grey Power committee members Glenyss Jones, Bev Knapp, Dorothy Mullen, Jean Smale, Glenda Newton and Murray Newton on Thursday at the Gore and Districts RSA. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Concerns about the lack of support available to the elderly citizens living in their homes is one issue Grey Power national president Jan Pentecost regularly hears about as she travels around the country.

The first woman national president of the federation, Mrs Pentecost, of Sefton, visited the Eastern Southland association last week.

Mrs Pentecost said while older people wanted to stay in their homes as long as possible and government policy supported this, there was not sufficient levels of help available for them to stay at home.

“The stories we are hearing is [of] people who had an hour a week for homecare now have 45 minutes every two weeks,” Mrs Pentecost said.

Often a different carer turned up which meant some of the allotted time was used explaining the tasks that needed to be done.

Although there was a social aspect to the group, Grey Power’s core business was lobbying for the elderly, she said.

Mrs Pentecost had regular meetings with Minister for Seniors Dr Ayesha Verrall.

“One of our main jobs is to talk to decision-makers in Wellington.”

How older people were disadvantaged when it came to using digital technology was another big concern of the group at present.

“They are unable to write cheques any more, they are unable to get service at the banks to help them with their financial work.”

Some older people had to rely on others to help them manage their finances.

One woman told Mrs Pentecost that she used to be able to manage her own finances, saying “Now I am a dependent old lady, dependent on others to run that really important aspect of my life”.

“It’s actually a huge problem for many older people.”

Financial elder abuse was a growing problem.

Even in the future when people had grown up with technology there would still be some who could not use it because advances were happening at a rapid rate.

“Older people will not be able to keep up.”

There would be others who would not be able to use technology because of physical reasons or health conditions.

“We believe no-one should be left behind.”