Science in 2023, caring for elderly parents, and online rest-home audits


NZ working age per over-65

The screengrabs above are from an introductory video on the World of Pounamu site.  They explain that in 2013 New Zealand has five working-age people helping pay the costs of supporting every one person who’s over 65. By 2023, we’ll have three working-age people to pick up the tab per one over-65. Ouch.

The World of Pounamu ran an online game  (until 12pm, August 30, 2013) which asked the following questions:

It’s 2023 and everyone in New Zealand can use science as easily as they can use a computer. What will you do? What will you create? Who will you work with? What problems will you solve?

How great would that be – if we could all use science as easily as we can use computers?

In the game, you play cards – to add ideas, extend others’ ideas, imagine potential downsides, and ask and answer questions (in 140 characters or less).

Andrew Marr calls for flexible working rights for carers | The Daily Telegraph

UK broadcaster Andrew Marr suggest some kind of ‘caring leave’ for people who are looking after loved ones.

Journalist Andrew Marr, 54, spent two months in hospital after suffering a stroke in January and his wife Jackie Ashley, a journalist, became his full–time carer during his recovery.

The couple criticised the lack of government support offered to more than three million carers in the UK who are trying to juggle their jobs with the physically draining task of looking after loved ones.

“These days, it’s taken for granted that pregnant women get maternity leave,” they said. “So why shouldn’t men and women keeping another person decently alive get similar guarantees?”

I spent time in the last five years helping out my parents (both now departed, sadly) and often had to reschedule meetings, change flights at the last minute or drop work altogether because of unscheduled hospital visits and general care-giving. It adds up.

In 2023 when we have three working-age people per one over-65, a good number of those working-age people are going to have to take time off to care for elderly parents. I’ll leave someone else to do the sums on the cost of working-age people taking time off unpaid (and therefore paying less tax and maybe struggling to find another job) vs forking out a sufficiently useful subsidy to support working-age people while they care for their parents.

Researching rest homes – before you need them

I’d say most of us don’t think about care homes until we’ve no choice but to.

One day everyone in your family is coping just fine at home, the next someone’s fallen or become ill and you’re scrambling to find a rest-home bed for them before they’re discharged from hospital.

My advice? Do some reading on in-home care and rest homes in your or your parents’ area before you need one. In the event, you may only have a few days to find one (and even then you’re at the mercy of availability).

You can also read the most recent audit report on rest homes on the Ministry of Health website.