Media release: Kiwis urged to prepare for old age
71% of New Zealanders in rest homes have no advance care plan, and 25% no Enduring Power of Attorney.
Elderly people who are assessed to receive care at home are even less prepared. Only 4% have an advance care plan, and 60% an Enduring Power of Attorney.
“I urge people, especially as they approach old age, to prepare for the eventuality that someone else needs to make decisions for them. Giving someone an Enduring Power of Attorney means appointing someone to act on your behalf when you become unable to make or communicate decisions”, said Stephanie Clare, Chief Executive of Age Concern.
Only a very small number have Advance Care Plans, which are used to describe the healthcare and treatments a person wants to receive, or avoid, in case they can no longer tell family and medical professionals what they want. This includes funeral arrangements and whatever else matters to a person.
“Last year, more than 10% of the population over 65 years were assessed for home and rest home care in over 100,000 assessments, and this data give us some unique insights into our older population”, said Catherine Cooney, Chair of the interRAI New Zealand Governance Board which is responsible for the assessment tools used at district health boards and in aged residential care.
The numbers are about the same for people with moderate to significant cognitive performance issues, particularly due to advancing dementia. For many of those people it is too late to be in control of their situation and to make arrangements for their future.
“See your local Age Concern office, or visit the Age Concern website at www.ageconcern.org.nz for resources to get you started on preparing for the future, including Enduring Power of Attorney”, suggested Stephanie Clare.