OPINION: On a day when the nation is consumed with the imminent arrival of one of our youngest citizens, I want to ask you to look the other way. To the other end of the spectrum. To those whose lives are towards the end of our cycle on this earth.
I am talking about our elderly, and quite frankly, I am sick and tired of simply “talking” about them. I am desperate to do something, but I need your help.
I want to see measures to be put in place to protect the elderly’s rights.
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This was sparked by a caller named Corina on RadioLIVE’s Morning Talk show. She shared her sad story about her father, who was neglected at the Palms Lifecare in Pukekohe. What do I mean by neglected? Well you can see the Corina's evidence here, but the ultimate shock was when her family discovered staff removing maggots from her father’s feet.
But it wasn’t that in itself that caused so much concern as the realisation that there could be others in the same position. Alone, neglected, and abused. Or simply the victims of a system that sees staff overworked and underpaid.
The system failed Corina’s dad. And Corina found it so difficult to get anyone to help that she turned to a radio station.
I don’t want to see this happen again. I want to see the status and value we place on our seniors to be recognised and measures to be put in place to protect their rights. I came to the conclusion that they need a champion, and not just a ‘Minister for the Elderly’.
We need someone with proper stature to advocate for the elderly. I want to take it out of the hands of the parties and the politicians, like someone similar to the Children’s Commissioner. The elderly need a champion who reports to Parliament, not the ministers; someone who will transcend temporary political accommodations.
But nevertheless, the politicians need to implement this plan, so New Zealanders need to send them a message. That’s why I’ve launched a Change.org petition to gain momentum for this change.
But this petition won’t be successful on its own – I need your help.
It’s high time we ensure New Zealand’s elderly receive the respect and care they deserve in all aspects of their lives. Will you join my cause?
Click here to sign the petition.
Note: Please be aware Change.org will ask if you’d like to donate money after submitting you name. But I don’t want your money. I just want your support for this amazing cause.
Mark Sainsbury is the host of RadioLIVE’s Morning Talk, 9am – midday.