If you are assisting elderly friends or family members, or need more help yourself these days to continue living independently at home, you may be eligible for government-funded assistance.
All New Zealanders who have ongoing health or disability support needs can be considered for various kinds of assistance. You'll need what's known as a needs assessment to access any publicly funded help.
If you or someone you support has never had a needs assessment, it pays to request one. You can do this directly with your nearest Needs Assessment and Service Coordination Agency (NASC). Your GP or other community health professional can refer you for an assessment.
NASCs are contracted by the Ministry of Health to work with people to help identify their needs and outline what disability support services are available to them. They allocate Ministry-funded services and assist with accessing other kinds of support.
A needs assessor is a skilled health professional who will talk to you and/or the person you care for to find out how you're coping at home, and what kinds of help would allow you to manage better.
If you are assessed as needing help with cleaning, cooking, personal hygiene, or other tasks, a Service Coordinator can arrange this help, with input from you and others in your household (if any).
You can find contact details for your nearest assessor at www.nznasca.co.nz. You'll also find more information about NASC services at the YourHealth consumer section of the Ministry of Health’s website.