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Elderly at home
Older people are a significant group in New Zealand. More than half a million New Zealanders are now 60 years or over and by the 21st century around one quarter of New Zealanders will be retired.

Old age, or the 'Third Age', is a significant stage in the human lifecycle and brings with it opportunities to live a rewarding, meaningful life. Around 94 per cent of older New Zealanders live in their own home. Many live alone.

Knowing how to look after yourself in your own home will help you get on with a happy life.

Security is important to establish peace of mind. The age of a house occupant does not really matter to a house burglar. Burglars look for easy opportunities, unlocked houses, poor locks, open windows, and houses that look as though no one is living in them. Some may look upon an older person as an easy target. But older people can take precautions and these need not necessarily involve great expense. Here are some ideas:

· Occasionally, you'll have to do some home maintenance. At these times check what could be done to increase your security at home.
· Burglaries often occur in daylight so it is sensible to keep your home secure during the day, as well as at night. Do not to leave the door to your house open and unattended. A quick thief could easily enter and make off with valuables before you realised. A security screen could be installed to help prevent this. Term payments are available to spread the cost.
· Do not to keep large amounts of cash in your home. Pay bills by cheque or credit card so you don't have to keep large amounts of money.
· Identify your valuables with an invisible marker. Take photos of valuables, especially items that have sentimental value. Keep important documents or share certificates in a bank.
· Older people are more vulnerable to house callers because they are at home more than other age groups. Identify callers before you open the door, either with a door chain, door viewer or security screen. Don't be embarrassed about calling out to them and asking who they are. They will understand.
· Be careful about people who tell you they want to check your home appliances or equipment. You could get them to leave their card and get back to them after you've discussed it with a family member or friend. You do not have to let them into your home.

BEWARE OF A CON
Elderly people are sometimes the prey of unscrupulous confidence tricksters who are only after money. Keep in mind these guidelines:

· Be careful about discussing your financial affairs with anybody except very close family or friends.
· Don't be pressured into drawing large amounts of money out of the bank to give to strangers. Get advice from family, friends, or an independent party if you feel you are being harassed, or made to do something you don't want or are uncertain about.
· Don't be rushed into business deals. Don't accept home maintenance offers or gardening deals until you have thoroughly checked them out, discussed them with friends and family, and compared prices.
· Some sales people can appear very genuine in their efforts to gain your trust. Beware of seemingly very cheap goods and services.
· Don't rush into signing any legal documents committing yourself to major undertakings until you have asked the advice of other people. The Citizens Advice Bureau or Age Concern will be able to advise you if feel you have no one to turn to.
· It is a good idea to check the credentials of people who call offering to do such things as paint your house, your roof, or install aluminium windows. You could telephone the relevant professional association, or phone around comparing prices if you are interested in the deal. Someone in your family or a friend would probably be happy to help you.
· Don't rush into any deal involving your property or your money. You may commit yourself to something you will later regret. Seek advice from your family, a neighbour, your lawyer, accountant, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern, bank, or relevant professional body.


THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR SERVICE
The Age Concern organisation runs the Good Neighbour Service which helps elderly people who may be lonely or finding it difficult to cope with life in the modem world.

Accredited visitors offer companionship and an important link to the community, in addition to that provided by family and friends.

If you would like to become a visitor, or you know of somebody who would appreciate a visitor, contact your local branch of Age Concern. There are 40 Age Concern networks around the country and they are listed in the telephone book.

ELDER ABUSE, ELDER NEGLECT
Elder abuse and neglect receives less attention than child abuse. However, older people can be abused physically, emotionally, sexually and financially. Abuse or neglect is more likely to occur when an older person is dependent on others for assistance or care. The person involved is usually in a position of trust and known to the older person. All people have rights and these do not diminish as a person grows older. Older people are entitled to be treated as individuals with a right to privacy, protection, companionship, self-fulfilment, safety, warmth and care, just as much as anybody else.

If you are concerned about your own situation or that of someone you know please do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to someone you trust, a friend, your doctor, nurse, minister, or call Age Concern, the local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Police. There are people available to help.

IN AN EMERGENCY DIAL 111
Police are available 24 hours a day. In an emergency phone 1 1 1. Tell the operator you want the Police, Ambulance, or Fire Service. The phone number 111 is a priority line and help will come as soon as possible. Stay calm when making the call, and do not hang up. Give your name, address. town and telephone number to the operator answering your call. Answer questions slowly and clearly. Emergency calls are free from all telephones, including payphones and cellular phones.


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Burglars look for easy opportunities, unlocked houses, poor locks, open windows, and houses that look as though no one is living in them, and some may look upon older people as easy targets

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