SuperSeniors Title

9 April 2020

COVID-19
Special edition

   
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From Minister for Seniors, Tracey Martin

Minister Tracey Martin

Once again, this newsletter is coming to you when the way New Zealand is living is dominated by our fight against COVID-19.

Hopefully, we’re now halfway through our Level 4 lockdown. I say hopefully because while I’m part of the cabinet that will decide how and when the lockdown ends, that decision is very much dependent on how people are acting and whether we have been able to substantially reduce the spread of the virus.

I also hope you’re all doing okay and dealing with the isolation. I understand that it can be frustrating as I had to self-isolate after coming back from an official meeting in Washington DC in mid-March. Combined with the current Level 4 alert and official lockdown, I’ve now had what feels like too many days of working from home and looking at a computer screen to read and hold meetings.

I’m not complaining though, this is what we need to do to protect each other. Staying at home breaks the chain of infection and stops the virus spreading.

And the better we do this, the sooner we can begin to return to normal life. So please continue to protect yourself and others and stay home. Avoid physical contact with people outside your ‘bubble’ and if you are out for a walk and it’s too busy, just wait and go out later.

The other thing we all have to keep doing is talking to family and friends. Get on the phone, for your own good and for the person at the other end. At times like this it’s even more important that we keep in touch and look out for each other and, I can’t stress this enough – for those who need it, get on the computer and pick up the phone and ask for help.

I’m really pleased to see all of the people, organisations and businesses that have stepped up to try and help our seniors and some of their numbers are in this newsletter.

Elder Abuse

Because of the risk of COVID-19 the Government has directed everyone to stay home to stay safe. Unfortunately, home is not a safe place for some people.

Those that commit elder abuse are often someone close to their victim. It is someone trusted: family members, friends and even neighbours. Someone they live with, someone they rely on for support or care.

Elder abuse its not ok, speak out. Call 0800 EA NOT OK, text 5032 or email support@elderabuse.nz

If you're concerned that someone is experiencing elder abuse, it’s OK to help. Something as simple as asking how they are can make a real difference. The sooner you reach out, the sooner they can get help.

If you have concerns about your own safety and wellbeing or you have concerns about how someone is being treated, call 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK). You can also text 5032 or Email support@elderabuse.nz

If you think someone is in danger call 111.

Getting your essentials

Older people are more vulnerable to COVID-19, so it is especially important to follow the rules.

Right now, the most important thing you can do is avoid contracting COVID-19. This means being careful, practising good hygiene and making a plan.

Reach out to friends, family or neighbours for help running errands, like going to the supermarket for you. Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. No one should come inside.

If you need a prescription, call your doctor and they will advise you if you should get someone to pick it up from the pharmacy or if it can be delivered to your doorstep.

If these options are not available to you, please call your local Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group using the following 0800 numbers and email addresses. These numbers have been set up for those who need help accessing food and other essentials. They will provide necessities for people that cannot afford them and help with getting food delivered.

This service is intended for people and whānau who don’t have any other options available to them.

The service operates seven days a week from 7am to 7pm.

CDEM Group

Essential Services

The Government has decided to allow the sale of essential goods during alert level 4.

Recognised essential goods include those that will keep people warm, replace key household appliances, and maintain people’s health.

Under the new criteria, you can buy blankets or a heater as the weather gets colder, to stay warm and healthy at home. You can also buy firewood or fuel for your fire.

You will also be able to replace key household appliances like fridges and devices like laptops, if yours happens to break down over this time.

If you need to order any products, only purchase items that are absolutely necessary to help your household safely isolate or stay connected.

You can order essential goods online or over the phone and they will be delivered to your home. You will not be able to go in store or pick them up.

Essential service

You can order these essentials through the following retailers:

Scams

Online criminals have been using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to carry out online scams and malicious cyber activity.

Reports include attempts to trick people into donating to a fake World Health Organisation COVID-19 Response Fund, paying a bitcoin ransom or risk their family being infected with COVID-19, or entering their details into phishing websites.

Scams

What to do:

  • Be sceptical of advice that doesn’t come from official sources, particularly if it’s been sent to you unexpectedly.
  • If you’re unsure if an email, text or any other communication is genuinely from a legitimate source, don’t click on the link or open the attachment. Contact the organisation via their official contact channels and ask.
  • Protect your passwords and login credentials, don’t enter these into any websites relating to the COVID-19 virus.
  • Keep your devices up-to-date.
  • Keep your anti-virus up to date and run regular checks.
  • Report suspected malware or phishing attempts to CERT NZ at www.cert.govt.nz

Living alone

Living alone

If you live alone, you can join up with another person living alone or a small household.

You must live in the same neighbourhood and must not have close contact with anyone else. You cannot join up with more than one household or bubble.

For more information on isolation rules go to www.covid19.govt.nz

Your health and wellbeing

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 like a cough, fever, shortness of breath call your GP (doctor) or the COVID-19 Healthline 0800 358 5453

If you cannot get through and are severely unwell, for example having trouble breathing, contact emergency services (dial 111).

For other health issues, you should still call your doctor as normal. Don’t put this off because you are worried about leaving your home.

Your Doctor will be able to give you guidance on whether you need to come in, some are doing over the phone and video consultations and they are all taking extra precautions to keep all patients safe.

Keep up to date

You can find out all the most recent information at the special website: covid19.govt.nz which is updated daily.

The Office for Seniors is working hard to keep you up to date and informed throughout the COVID -19 pandemic.

Please share this Newsletter with others. Forward it to your friends and make sure their email address is correct through their MYMSD account, so they receive our updates. If you know someone who doesn’t have the internet you can read it out to them over the phone!

Unite against Covid19 - Covid19.govt.nz - Everything you need to know in one place - NZ Government


Key telephone numbers

  • COVID-19 Healthline 0800 358 5453
  • For general health issues, phone your doctor
  • For emergencies dial 111.
  • If you are feeling anxious or just need someone to talk to call or text 1737
  • Elder Abuse Helpline 0800 32 668 65
  • If you need to discuss your entitlements phone the MSD Senior Services line 0800 552 002
  • Money Talks free and confidential budgeting advice 0800 345 123
  • Make sure all your details are correct through your MyMSD Account at www.my.msd.govt.nz
  • If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, don’t know who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week).
  • For advice, support and general enquiries call 0800 22 66 57 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm, Saturday to Sunday.
SuperGold New Zealand Government Office for Seniors