OPINION: Old age is meant to be the whole of life On the Golden Pond, relaxing in the twilight as the family frolic around you, only now the pond has dried up, as Covid rejoins loneliness and loneliness. insecurity as a frolic killer.
Old age has always been difficult financially, mentally and physically, as money and faculties are depleted. Now it’s even worse with predators and pandemics lurking.
At a time when you might want to relax after a long working life, you need to be more careful than ever. As Covid restrictions are lifted, it’s time to pay tribute to the resilience of those who had more to fear than most.
Covid first: US statistics collected even before Delta showed that people over 65 accounted for 80% of hospitalizations, with a risk of death 23 times higher than those under 65. These odds worry you when approaching a man without a mask, or dissuade you from going out to the public altogether.
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But wait, that’s not all. Visit the Age Concern website and you’ll find links to waves of research on elder abuse, loneliness and social isolation.
If you’ve found the Covid restrictions difficult in 2021, imagine how badly the elderly have been affected. It was tough for most. If you are older and alone it is more difficult.
Social networks have been cut. No family visits, no social activities in the retirement villages. You are bombarded with dark news, with only the phone or Zoom as an outlet for your troubled mind.
And as you wonder who to trust, gallop the untrustworthy. Maybe they are melting rather than galloping because they are human vultures, crooks who target vulnerable people.
Police reported a “series of phone scams” in Waikato this week targeting seniors. The violators convinced the victims that they were looking for a bank employee suspected of wrongdoing, and it was safer to transfer money to Australian bank accounts.
And that’s goodbye to the savings of a lifetime. Elderly women, one in the Thames and the other in Waihi, lost $ 46,000, while a Whitianga couple lost $ 25,000. One of them gave fraudsters uninterrupted access to banking and personal information.
Banks never ask for this kind of help over the phone, but people of a generation once lived in a different, more confident New Zealand, where you could leave the house unlocked when you went out.
For some, online banking is baffling and terrifying. Let’s not stop at the bank. Life in general is hard work, with once simple tasks now anything but.
A trip to the supermarket involves a mobile (or connection), a mask and – sometimes – self-packing, thanks to Covid procedures. When your shoulders and hips died ten years ago, it’s off-putting.
Some retirement villages absorb these tasks, accumulating much of the cost of living in regular bills, relying on transport and a ready-made community, so life is easier.
And yet, it’s not all there on Golden Pond either; The Parliament wonders if the law (adopted in 2003) around the villages favors them too strongly compared to the tenants.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is considering a review, after Minister Poto Williams agreed it was warranted. More than 45,000 people live in retirement villages, with an average age of 81 years. The industry is booming as baby boomers enter Super Gold Card territory.
Retired Commissioner Jane Wrightson urged the review, with villages widely opposed.
Over 40 percent of residents have a retirement pension as their only income, but many have no say in how much the village raises fees or when the money is paid back after they leave.
They want better legal protection. It’s tricky for residents; Complaining about an establishment when you live there is stressful.
Villages seen differently, in their response to the retired commissioner in March. Operator submissions were 92 percent against a full review of the legislative framework indicating that “it was not warranted”.
And so, a battle for the elderly is looming.