Do village residents really need to move out of their village to receive care?

Many older person’s advocates have been vocal recently about the idea that residents in villages across New Zealand are – having to leave their village and move alternative care facilities due to a lack of available beds. In August 2020, Minister Sue Brown even presented a petition to parliament asking for legislation to be passed to ensure villages “have the capacity to accommodate residents when they move from one level of care to the next.”

We would be fighting to remedy the situation too – if it were a common occurrence. We’ll hold our hands up and say we’ve been guilty of confusing the issue ourselves, often stating that people living in villages may need to move to another facility if they require care. While it is true that some village residents may need to receive care in an alternative facility, it is by no means the most likely scenario.

In fact, only 12.8% of Kiwis living in villages end up being moved to a different facility to receive care and more than half of those (7.3%) choose to move for personal reasons (such as being closer to children). A further 0.7% will return to their village after temporarily receiving care at another facility. *

So that means that less than 5% of village residents need to receive care away from their home village. Of those that move, 3.7% do so as the level of care they require is not available at their village, while only 1.1% permanently move to another facility due to a lack of available beds. *

We certainly don’t want to downplay how distressing it can be to have to move from the place you consider home. Yet, the reality is that 95% of village residents will never have to leave their village to receive the care they need. One thing you can do to increase the likelihood of staying at your chosen village if your needs change is to choose a village with a full continuum of care (including dementia levels of care). Our website and free regional Where from here book are great tools to help you create a shortlist of villages that might suit.

Some villages have care apartments on site, these may offer the same type of care as a care home and provide certain levels of care (you will need to check which levels of care will be able to be provided). A care apartment also operates under village legislation and is ‘owned’ by the occupier. Learn more about care apartments on our blog then view all vacant care apartments on our Eldernet Residential Care website.

*(This data is based on a survey conducted by the Retirement Villages Association of New Zealand in August 2021 and is used with permission. While this data provides a good indication about the numbers of people transferring from villages to aged care, this would be fully confirmed by independently commissioned research.)

About Mason Head

Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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