International Day of Older Persons

Events have been held around the country to mark the International Day of Older Persons, with its theme Taking a Stand Against Ageism.

PM, Maggie with Precious McKenzie

Prime Minister John Key, Precious McKenzie and Seniors Minister Maggie Barry

Prime Minister John Key, who attended a seniors’ afternoon tea at Devonport with Seniors Minister Maggie Barry, believes New Zealand is well placed to deal with the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.

Increasing life expectancies is a cause for celebration, but one of the challenges is ensuring a society inclusive of all.

Ms Barry says seniors play an important and essential role in society, and they should be valued for their contributions.

“It’s time to take a stand against ageism when older people are either overlooked or ignored while their experience, skills, and wisdom are not appreciated.

“Seniors deserve to be respected and valued – not treated poorly because of their age.”

Events were held by the Chinese Positive Ageing Trust, Shanti Niwas in Auckland, and Age Concern offices around the country, including an interative Yarn Sculpture created by Age Concern Counties Manukau.

The events were intended to make seniors and their contribution to society visible. 

Chinese ladies with fans on stage

Taking the stage at the Chinese Positive Ageing Trust event

Interactive Yarn Sculpture

The interactive yarn sculpture - concept Age Concern Counties Manukau 

Take a stand against ageism

A recent survey by the Office for Seniors found one in five people aged 50-plus reported they had felt invisible, at times, in the past year.

Dame Kate Harcourt, a SuperSeniors Champion, has also spoken out against ageism.

“All of us need to be wanted in some way or another.

"It’s a basic human feeling, absolutely essential for one’s sanity, peace of mind, and self-respect.”

Dame Kate gets out and about as much as possible, and also enjoys quiet time.

"I can still read and that's what I spend most of my time doing - what would we do without our wonderful public libraries?

"When I'm not reading, I'm on my computer emailing and playing solitaire, and I can still drive - I'm a very useful taxi for my grandchildren!"

Audrey, Stephanie, Kate, Diane

Audrey Bancroft, Stephanie Clare, Dame Kate Harcourt, and Diane Turner

A Guide for Carers

Minister Maggie Barry says seniors contribute in so many different ways to their communities.

“As parents, grandparents, friends, employees, employers, artists, volunteers, and as carers."

The contribution made by carers has been recognised by the Minister who has launched the updated 'A Guide for Carers'.

“Many seniors are unpaid carers who give up their time to help other people live with dignity,” says Ms Barry.

“It is vital for their own wellbeing they are able to get the support they need to look after themselves and the people who rely on them.”

The guide provides practical advice about scheduling regular breaks, setting up a relief carer, developing a plan for emergencies and making contacts with other carers in the area.

The Carer’s Guide is available for free from the Ministry of Social Development website: www.msd.govt.nz/what-we-can-do/community/carers/ and in hard copy from Work & Income, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Grey Power offices.