Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The care of aged Maori

There are only 34,200 Maori aged 65 and older.

65+  34,200
75+  11,000
80+  5,000

In the total population  616,660 people are aged 65 plus.  160,000 are 80 plus.

So only 3 percent of 80 year-olds and older are Maori.

I was prompted to look up these figures - I knew they were low - on the back of a conversation Willie and JT had yesterday about Maori and care of the elderly. They were talking about how, in the past, their elderly were always cared for by the whanau whereas Pakeha put their old in rest homes (though this was changing).

A caller said she had seen research showing that by the 1980s this was no longer true. That rates of 'institutionalisation' were actually the same. In particular, elderly Maori were often committed to psychiatric units. I came across the following table in my hard copy of the 1994 NZ Yearbook. It shows high Maori rates of first admission in the younger population but not the 60+. These stats relate to first admissions though.

YearAgesTotal all ages
0-910-1920-2930-3940-4950-5960 and over
*Per 100 000 mean population. Year ended 31 December.
Source: Health Information Service

I've been trying to find historical data relating to residential care populations but drew a blank.

Relating to current numbers the Human Rights Commission produced this report:

 "During visits to aged care facilities the Commission was struck by the absence of Māori as residents. Conversations with providers suggest that residential care residents are predominantly female and Pakeha, although providers have noted increasing diversity in recent years. Data from the OPAL study (2008) based on Auckland figures, show that two percent of rest home residents were Māori, compared to 92.4 percent European and 4.5 percent Pacific Island. Of those in hospital level facilities, 2.6 percent were Māori, 89.1 percent European and 6.4 percent Pacific."

Those numbers are particularly low for Auckland and doubly interesting in light of the Pacific numbers.

So it would appear elderly Maori are disproportionately cared for in their own homes or their adult children's homes. That's a good disproportionality in my view.


JC said...

"That's a good disproportionality in my view."

OTOH caring for the aged at home can be bad for them, issues of inadequate or unsuitable food, not on top of health issues, unsanitary practices and unsafe houses.

I assume many more Maori don't have much or any equity in the houses and can't afford a rest home so are pushed in the end into State psychiatric or dementia wards regardless of their mental health.


Hamish said...

Caring for myself at home has the exact same pitfalls (I would look after my parents far better than myself), should I be put up in a rest home?

Your assumption is fairly meaningless, you can't just cause dementia, it happens or it doesn't, whether you're in a rest home or not. On top of this rest homes can be some of the most depressing places in the world, they are far more likely to cause you mental problems than 'unsanitary practices and unsafe houses', and their food is almost guaranteed to be worse than what most parents would be eating with their kids.