Social services organisation Age Concern is establishing a new position in Balclutha next month, aiming to provide care and assistance to the elderly population throughout the district.
The ‘‘visiting service’’ role based in the town’s St John office has been taken up by Gwynneth Butler, who is looking forward to improving the wellbeing of Balclutha’s ageing population.
‘‘It’s an interesting role and I’m looking forward to learning more about our ageing population and their wants and needs throughout Balclutha. With Covid›19 still around, it’s become more common for older people to not leave their homes as much, and resultantly experiencing anxiety and not doing as much as they used to,’’ Mrs Butler said.
‘‘We can help.’’
The role will ensure older residents of the area will have access to help around any concerns or neglect they may be experiencing, alongside other issues.
The Age Concern website defines elder abuse as older people being disrespected, hurt, ignored, manipulated, isolated, or stolen from.
‘‘When this happens to an older person by someone they know and trust, it is known as elder abuse.’’
Mrs Butler would be available from 10am›2pm every Friday to provide advice and assistance.
Age Concern Otago chief executive Niall Shepherd said the organisation was pleased to be reaching out into Clutha.
‘‘Age Concern Otago promotes wellbeing, rights, respect and dignity for older people. We want this to be extended into Clutha and elsewhere, as we feel services for elder abuse are not well enough represented in smaller Otago areas,’’ Mr Shepherd said.
He said Mrs Butler would be able to provide referrals, assistance, services and calls to strengthen networks with Balclutha locals and give them feedback and help when needed.
‘‘We are currently dipping our toes in the water both in Balclutha and Wanaka to recognise the needs for this particular service. We feel Gwynneth is the ideal, well connected contact person for the Balclutha area,’’ Mr Shepherd said.
Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said he was in full support of the new role.
‘‘Due to the magnitude of events including Covid›19, it is positive to recognise that this role will assist the ageing residents of Balclutha and provide support to factors that are very much needed in our district,’’he said.