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E-newsletter - October 2015

Hi SuperGold Card Member

Welcome to the second edition of the SuperSeniors e-Newsletter.

You'll find stories about events of interest, advice, profiles and some great special offers for SuperGold Card holders.

Check out more stories and information on the SuperSeniors website.

Happy reading

SuperGold

Contents

Special mobile phone offer from Vodafone

Cake cutting marks SuperSeniors website launch

Raise a glass to the future

Walking – a great way to get out and about

If you are planning to go overseas

WOMAD for the over 65s

Support for a disability

"I feel good"

Keeping mobile

Inspiring Seniors – Twin history

If your SuperGold Card is lost or stolen

Feedback and suggestions

SuperGold Card Special Offers

Special mobile phone offer from Vodafone

Man using his cellphone

With a mobile smartphone it’s easy to keep in touch with family and friends, access information you might need, set up diary reminders and Skype.

And more and more companies are now developing phones specifically designed to meet the needs of older users.

This month we have negotiated with Vodafone to provide an exclusive mobile phone offer for SuperGold Card holders.

Card holders can get a “seniors friendly” Doro mobile phone at no cost when they sign to a 24-month plan.

And if you do get one of the phones Vodafone will also take $10 off the $39 a month cost of the plan, reducing the cost to $29 a month.

Vodafone says the Doro phone is designed for first time mobile phone users. It has large, clear icons and text and comes in both standard and smart versions.

A smartphone is a device that not only lets you make telephone calls, but also has other features like the ability to send and receive e-mail, Skype so you can see who you are talking to and even download and view videos.

You can arrange to get one of the Doro phones online, at one of Vodafone’s retail sites or by calling them on 0508 925 725.

If you order your phone online or on the 0508 number Vodafone will also provide a free phone case. There’s a limited supply of these so be in early if you want one.

This offer is only being promoted through the SuperSeniors website and newsletter, and is available to card holders from 22 October to 31 January 2016, subject to availability.

See the disclaimer at the end of this newsletter

Cake cutting marks SuperSeniors website launch

Maggie Barry and Prime Minister John Key cutting the SuperSeniors cake.

The new SuperSeniors website was officially launched on 18 September by Senior Citizens Minister Maggie Barry and Prime Minister John Key.

Together with the Prime Minister, Ms Barry unveiled the website at a seniors event in Milford on Auckland’s North Shore.

"SuperSeniors will pull together in one place online the wealth of information available and specifically designed to be relevant to older New Zealanders, including superannuation entitlements, finances, health and SuperGold discounts."

"If you want to find out about issues to do with finances, health services or ways to stay connected with your community, the SuperSeniors site is the place to go,” Ms Barry says.

“Older New Zealanders do extraordinary things in their communities. I want this website to remind us all of their valuable contribution, showcase their achievements and tell a powerful story about positive ageing.”

The website is proving very popular and you can see it for yourself: superseniors.msd.govt.nz

Raise a glass to the future

Diane Maxwell, Retirement Commissioner

There is good and bad news when it comes to women as they get older: we live longer than men, but reach retirement with a lot less money.

There are all kinds of reasons for that, but take heart, because that means there are also all kinds of solutions.

In a nutshell, women generally earn less than men, often when doing the same job; we take time out to have children so spend fewer years working; we are more likely to be lone parents and suffer more severe financial consequences when relationships end.

Diane Maxwell - Retirement Commissioner

There’s a phrase that when women find themselves in a hole we plant flowers in it, while men dig. So when money is tight, women make cuts instead of increasing what is coming in, men look for ways to improve their income.

Women tend to take fewer risks, partly because we are less confident: in financial surveys we are far more likely than men to answer ‘don’t know’. As job applicants, a man will apply for a job if he has about 40% of the experience needed, a woman won’t unless she has 80%.

And I’ve met some women who invoke the universe, relying on it to provide for them instead of doing what the men do and sitting down with a calculator to take a cold, hard look at what is in front of them.

This matters so much because women live, on average, into their 80s, five years longer than men. Our children will live into their 90s and many people born now will live past 100.

We’re not just living longer, but stay healthier and want to do more, so 65 today is very different from 50 years ago and it will be different again in 50 years’ time.

You may have daughters, grand-daughters or younger female relatives and are worried about how they will manage financially with all that lies ahead.

Happily, there are ideas you can pass on and most of them are plain common sense.

There’s a thing called compound interest: it means money makes money. You earn interest on your money and as it grows, you earn interest on the interest. The earlier you start saving the better, but even in retirement your savings should be working for you.

If you are signing to borrow money and you don’t understand how much it is going to cost, or the deal, or the interest rate, then stop the sales person and ask them to go through it again, and again, until you are completely clear. That’s their job and that’s what they are paid for.

Falling in love: relationship property laws

It doesn’t feel very romantic to thrust a relationship property agreement under someone’s nose but if you own your house and meet a new partner then you need to get them to sign an agreement, so you can protect yourself.

Don’t think everyone else has got it sussed: it is easy to see the neighbours with a new car and assume they have their money sorted, but the car might just be a giant loan on wheels.

Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing but focus on what you can do: save little and long. Buying lots of little things adds up to spending lots of money. In the same way, lots of little savings build up to a big chunk for your future.

So tell your daughters to put just a bit away, once a month, and they’ll be stunned by the results, thanks to the beauty of compound interest.

And remind them that in the future they will still be the same person. Pay it forward: buy themselves something in the future, a glass of wine for example, so when they retire they can raise a glass to their younger self – and to you - and say ‘thanks for that’.

Walking – a great way to get out and about

Man walking on the track.

Walking is a great way to keep fit and meet people.

It’s the most popular form of physical activity around the world and is an ideal activity as you age. It benefits your physical and mental health.

There are walking groups all over the country, helping newcomers put their best foot forward and providing walks catering to all fitness levels.

To find out more, we talked to a couple of enthusiastic walkers from the Active Walkers Kiwi Seniors Group in Invercargill. Bev Dixon is 87 and regularly leads the way on walks of more than 10km.

“My doctor now says to me, ‘whatever you’re doing, just keep on doing it’,” Bev says.

Semi-retired farmer Arthur Henderson, 76, has been taking part in the group’s weekly activities for four years.

“We go to all sorts of places. Sometimes we’ll be going through the bush and sometimes it will be hills on farm tracks.”

You can read more about the Southland group on the SuperSeniors website.

If you would like to join a walking group, the Walking New Zealand website has information about different groups throughout the country, including many that are specifically for seniors.

Walking is cheap, you can do it almost anywhere, it’s suitable for all levels of fitness, and you can do it by yourself or in small or large groups.

Here’s some advice to enable you to walk safely:

Group of Seniors hiking
  • Make sure you warm up gently and use common sense in not overdoing it.
  • Wear comfortable, practical non-slip shoes.
  • If you’re new to exercise then start off by walking for 10 minutes from home and turn around and walk back. Increase this by a minute or two every day.
  • Wear thin layers of clothing so you can take something off if you get too warm.
  • It’s OK to feel slightly out of breath and perspire slightly. In fact it’s a good sign that you’re walking at the right level, but if you feel faint or dizzy then stop.
  • And remember, if you’re concerned about how much activity is safe for you, talk to your GP.

If you are planning to go overseas

If you receive New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran’s Pension and are going overseas, even for a short time, you may need to tell Senior Services at the Ministry of Social Development about your travel plans so your payments are not affected.

You should contact Senior Services if you:

  • will be out of NZ for 28 days or more, or
  • don’t know exactly when you will return, or
  • intend to have more than one overseas trip within 12 months even if they will all be short trips. For example, someone who spends only short periods of time in New Zealand between trips could be seen to be living overseas and therefore their entitlement to NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension may be affected.

Senior Services will let you know about any effect your trip may have on your payments. It’s straightforward and easy to do it online.

Going overseas travel dates form

WOMAD for the over 65s

Music festivals and senior citizens may not automatically go together in people’s minds – but the WOMAD Festival hosted each year in New Plymouth is changing that.

Over 65s now make up around 10 per cent of festival goers – and it’s little wonder given the effort festival organisers put into making sure the three-day festival is as comfortable as possible for older visitors.

There are over 65s viewing platforms at each of the three main stages, and golf carts running half-hourly from the disabled car parks and around the venue.

To discover why this festival is so popular among older New Zealanders read our story on the SuperSeniors website.

WOMAD will be held on 18-20 March 2016.

Man at Womad / Crowd at Womad

Win tickets to WOMAD 2016

The organisers of WOMAD have provided us with two, three-day tickets to next year’s event for SuperGold Card music fans.

The tickets have a value of $259 each.

To enter a draw to win one of these tickets, please email seniors@msd.govt.nz telling us in no more than 100 words what you think is “The best thing about getting older”.

Please use the subject heading “WOMAD Tickets” and include the following information:

  • your name
  • address
  • daytime phone number.

Entries close at midnight on 16 November 2015.

The two winners will be selected by the Minister for Senior Citizens from all entries received before the closing date.

Go to superseniors.msd.govt.nz for terms and conditions.

Support for a disability

If you have regular, ongoing costs because of a disability you may qualify for a Disability Allowance payment

The Disability Allowance can help with things like regular visits to the doctor or hospital, pharmaceuticals, medical alarms, heating your home, extra clothing or travel if these arise from your disability.

You may be able to get a Disability Allowance if you:

  • have a disability that is likely to last at least six months
  • have regular, ongoing costs because of your disability which are not fully covered by another agency
  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • normally live in New Zealand and intend to stay here.
Man on lawnmower.

How much you and your spouse or partner earn will also be taken into account.

“I feel good”

A new report shows most elderly people enjoy good relationships with friends and family and have someone to give them emotional support.

The report, by the University of Auckland, is one in a series commissioned by the Ministry of Health on the health and wellbeing of older people.

Senior Citizens Minister Maggie Barry says the findings are encouraging and highlight the importance of maintaining social connections in old age.

“Older people who keep up close connections with their community are more likely to lead happy and meaningful lives as they age.

“It is important for the government to continue to support projects which promote social opportunities for seniors, and for us to spread the word about them through the new SuperSeniors website and social media pages,” Ms Barry says.

Key findings in the report include:

  • Over 80 per cent of people at an advanced age reported having someone to provide them with emotional support.
  • For men, the most common provider of emotional support was their spouse, and for women, their daughter.
  • People who lived alone were less likely than people who lived with others to report having someone to give them emotional support.
  • Māori (16%) were more likely than non-Māori (5%) to report having an unmet need for emotional support.

Read the report on the Ministry of Health's website.

Keeping Mobile

Woman and man on scooter.

A mobility scooter can be your key to ongoing independence and freedom.

If you have limited mobility, or are unable or unwilling to drive a car, a mobility scooter is a great way to get you where you want to go safely – particularly if you’re just going to the local shops or anywhere that’s a little too far away to walk.

There are many different types of scooter available so prices will vary. It’s always best to shop around.

Individuals with disabilities can apply for Lottery funding to assist with the costs of a scooter. The maximum grant for a mobility scooter is usually about $4000 +gst. You can find out more about this grant here:

You can find out more about this grant here.

Some local bodies provide mobility scooters for short-term use at no cost in certain locations. For example, the Wellington City Council have mobility scooters available for free loan for up to four hours from a number of locations around the city. So check to see what your local council is offering.

If you are thinking about buying a scooter we recommend you try out different types to see what suits you, and don’t buy anything without having a test drive first. Make sure the seating is comfortable and check back support and legroom.

The New Zealand Transport Agency’s Keeping mobile booklet also has helpful information. It contains advice on your rights and responsibilities, as well as safety and maintenance tips, such as looking after batteries and tyres and what to do if you’re going on holiday.

Some helpful hints include:

  • You don’t need a driver licence to use a mobility scooter
  • Your mobility scooter doesn’t need a warrant of fitness or registration
  • You must use your mobility scooter in a careful and considerate manner.
  • When on the footpath, you mustn’t travel at a speed that endangers others.

You can read the Keeping mobile booklet on the NZ Transport Agency website

Inspiring Seniors - Twin history

Those cute little twins pictured are now 74-years-old and one of them, Diana O’Brien, has developed a major hobby researching and recording her family stories.

Diana, a retired school teacher from Tauranga, shares some of her experiences in the second in our series of SuperSeniors stories on the SuperSeniors website.

If you’re thinking about compiling your family history, Diana’s top tips are:

  1. Ask family members to gather material for you in their branch of the family.
  2. Specify what you are looking for and how much space is available.
  3. Use your family network to search for items of particular interest that could be copied.
  4. Make use of genealogy sites, shipping logs, marriage and birth registrations.
Diana O'Brien and her twin sister.

One of Diana’s projects was with her twin sister Lin.

They independently recalled childhood memories and recorded the results in a book, which was their Christmas gift to family members, helping their children and grandchildren understand more of their wider family history.

“The result was interesting because while with most recollections were similar, there were others that were quite different even though we were both writing about the same thing,” Diana says.

If your SuperGold Card is lost or stolen

Following the last SuperSeniors eNewsletter, we had a number of requests from people who needed a new SuperGold Card.

SuperGold Card

If your card is lost or stolen, you can order a free replacement card by emailing or calling us on 0800 25 45 65.

Your replacement card will arrive in the post within three weeks.

Send an email to: seniors@msd.govt.nz and please include your: full name | date of birth | address | client number

Feedback and suggestions

We’d like to hear from you if you have any feedback on the SuperSeniors eNewsletter or if you have any suggestions for stories that might be of interest to you.

Please send your feedback and suggestions to the Office for Senior Citizens: osc@msd.govt.nz

SuperGold Card Special Offers

brought to you by participating businesses

The special offers featured in this newsletter and on the SuperGold Card website are only available to people with a valid SuperGold Card.

Check out the latest special offers here.

This eNewsletter was published by Ministry of Social Development, PO Box 5054, Wellington 6145

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Disclaimer: The SuperGold Card programme enables independent businesses to offer discounts and benefits to older New Zealanders. The Ministry of Social Development is not associated with any seller and does not guarantee any representation made by a seller and any future dispute will need to be taken up with the seller not the Ministry of Social Development. Offers range in size and nature and cardholders should always check to see if a better offer is available locally.