From the Desk 

September 2023



Whenever we go out into the community to talk to people about the service we provide,

we often end up talking about Retirement Villages or Residential Care.  How the costs

 compare?   What they are entitled to?    Often one of the most important issues for our  

 parents’ and grandparents’ generation is how that will impact on their ability to leave

  something to their children or grandchildren? 

  There are three main options for Seniors to consider and the reality is they  all are “user pays”:


 Residential Care:  A Needs Assessor firstly needs to assess what level of care is required.

  If they have assets over the asset threshold (check Residential Care Subsidy Entilement ) ,

they will be expected to  use those assets to pay for any care costs they may have in the future.

The average   cost is $1400/week plus extras.   Potentially, the more our parents and  

 grandparents keep safe for that rainy day, the more they may have to pay in residential

 care costs.  The current asset threshold for a Work and Income Residential Care  

Subsidy is $239,930 for a single person or for a couple when both are in care and 

 $120,416 for a couple where one is still living in the family home. If the value of the  

assets, whether those assets are held jointly or separately, is over that threshold, our

parents will be required to pay for their care.  And, if their investments are earning 

interest, any interest earned will also go toward payment of their care costs. 


Retirement Villages: A licence to occupy gives its holder no property rights, just the  

right to stay as long as they are fit enough to do so, and when they do vacate, they or  

their estate only get back around 70-75 per cent of the sum they paid for the licence as  

the operator will deduct a deferred  fee of 25-30 per cent.  And even if it is 

sold at a higher price the departing resident gets no share of the gains.  It is not just the  

purchase price prospective residents must consider, Residents also pay weekly maintenance fees

covering things like rates, security, gardening and maintenance.  In addition to the  

weekly payments the resident is still responsible for some of their own costs like  

contents insurance.  Research suggests that people making the decision to move into a  

retirement village are not as well informed as they could be.  The decision to move is  

often prompted by a negative event.  Villages are secure and friendly places to live,

 however there are significant costs to retirement village living which will leave your

 estate depleted.  


Staying in the family home with Private Care/Support in their own home:

 Flexible support services tailored to their individual needs.  In some cases Government funding in  

 the form of Carer Support is available.  The service can be co-ordinated to work in with  

Government funded home care providers which are assessed on needs and not asset  

tested.  The decline in independence is catered for while retaining social and  

community connections.   The property continues to increase in value so their estate  

has the capital gain when sold.  


 Recommend that your parents and grandparents have a clear idea of what their  

options are.    As with all areas of estate planning, it is important that you seek good 

advice from a legal and financial team who understand how this area may impact on you.

   The only thing guaranteed is that we will all age and it will come at a cost to us.




  April, 2017 

Supporting Loved Ones Through Dementia

Amanda Christmas from Next Step Support talked to us about her business supporting lawyers and families.  We can see us referring to her in the future!!




March, 2017

We enjoyed meeting Sam Johnson co-founder of WEVISIT and discussing how we can work together in assisting the elderly in their home.



October, 2016 

We have just recieved another amazing testimonial from a member of a Client's family.  It is always appreciated when people take the time to applaud our service.


September, 2016 

Fleur McDonald raises some interesting points in the article ‘Spending the kids inheritance’.

Hear Fleur discuss the issues here at Age Concern Canterbury, 24 Main North Road, Papanui on Monday, 10 October at 1.00pm.

Light refreshments will follow the discussion.

‘Spending the kids’ inheritance’

To book your place or for further information please phone Age Concern Canterbury on 366 0903.




May 2016

We are all enjoying the Indian summer and the Assistants have been on some lovely outings with our clients making the most of the weather before winter finally arrives.

We are finding that frequently our client's needs change.  We are lucky to have good communication  with the families and the Assistants which makes the service very flexible.  This gives the family peace of mind that as their loved one progresses through their life's journey and their level of independence changes they can still remain in their own home.   

Jo and Felicity


October 2015

Often people do not realise that growing old is an expensive process.  Staying in one's home with assistance as opposed to moving into a Retirement Village is a  cheaper option for those who want to continue to manage  their own financial investment and continue have capital gain.  The flash retirement villages provide peace of mind for many at a large cost as the following article illustrates.


Diana Clement: Retirement village investments eat capital


If there's an "investment" that's guaranteed to eat capital, it's retirement villages. These resort-like gated communities for older people are popping up all over the country. They're ideal for some ... More




September 2015  

It was of great interest that we read on the eldernet website ( the check list for deciding on which home support Agency to use.  HOME ASSISTANTS FOR SENIORS can proudly tick all the boxes as the service our Assistants provide is flexible, personalised and professional.


August 2015     This article illustrates why it is nice to have options!  
Retirement villages are booming, but school up before making the move
Retirement villages are booming as the population ages, but there's a lot of work to do schooling up older people, their families and lawyers on how they work. ... Read More

June 2015


The risk of falling does increase with age, but the good news is, you can do something about it by identifying potential trip hazards.

Some potential trip hazards throughout your home

  • carpets with frayed corners or rolled up edges
  • rugs without a rubber back to stop them moving
  • cluttered walkways/halls
  • low lounge chairs
  • no handrails in shower, bath and toilet
  • inadequate lighting
  • badly fitted foot wear
  • poor vision

 regular eye tests are important to ensure best possible vision


May 2015.  This Case Study explains how HAS works, all names are fictitious except for Felicity's and Jo's.


Peter and his brother and sister live overseas and went on the internet to find an Agency to provide domestic support and companionship for their elderly mother who lived in Christchurch.

Peter emailed HOME ASSISTANTS FOR SENIORS who contacted Flo in her Villa in a Retirement Village. Felicity and Jo met with Flo and learnt that she was keen on music , animals and no longer drove a car but wanted to go shopping and to the movies and needed help with meal preparation.  A “like minded” Assistant was recruited to take her shopping, on outings and to appointments.  A strong rapport developed between Flo and the Assistant who visited 2 mornings a week.  The family were thrilled that Flo appeared to have a new lease of life as she enjoyed the companionship.  She was generally happier and brighter when the family  rang and visited.

Flo ‘s husband had purchased the license to occupy the Villa 10 years ago  for $350,000.  Peter and his siblings were shocked when they learnt that their parents did not own it and the asset had been  depreciating.   However Flo had started to become forgetful so they made the decision to move Flo into a serviced studio apartment.   They purchased the license to occupy an apartment  in the Retirement Village for $400,000 and relinquished the license to occupy the Villa for $230,000.  The family wished that they had been involved in the process of buying the license to occupy the villa 10 years earlier as were not aware until then how the process worked and could see how it did not make sound financial estate planning! The Assistant readily stepped in and helped Flo sort out possessions and took care of the moving process including ordering name tags from Ballantynes and naming her clothing.  Once settled in her new home the Assistant hours were increased by the family to 4 mornings a week to take Flo on walks or drives and out to cafes and concerts.

 Flo continued to deteriorate so the Assistant co-ordinated her care with her GP and HOME ASSISTANTS FOR SENIORS reported to the family.  The on going communication with the family became increasingly important as Flo became more confused.  HAS kept the family fully informed of her health and personal care needs.


The family decided that they wanted to enable Flo to stay in the apartment for  as long as possible so another Assistant was recruited to visit Flo in the evenings for 3 hours to have a meal and prepare her for bed.  This decision was made due to financial reasons but also the family realised that Flo  was better with the one on one contact so her needs catered for to reduce her anxiety.  They wanted her to remain in familiar surroundings with the same routine.  Flo continues with this arrangement with the family having peace of mind.



April 2015

Cranky Old Man Poem

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?

What are you thinking .. . when you're looking at me?

A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,

Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food .. . ... . . and makes no reply.

When you say in a loud voice . .'I do wish you'd try!'

Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.

And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . ... lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking?. .Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse .you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,

As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet

Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he'll meet.

A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.

Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.

Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.

A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast.

Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,

But my woman is beside me . . to see I don't mourn.

At Fifty, once more, .. ...Babies play 'round my knee,

Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.

I look at the future ... . . . . I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.

And I think of the years . . . And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.

It's jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.

There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,

And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells

I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.

And I'm loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.

And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.

Not a cranky old man.

Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. .... . ME!!


March 2015

Have you ever wondered what the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia

We found this article really interesting, and agree the best approach for both conditions is "engagement, communication and loving care."


December 2014

We read The Press's Mainland Article June 7, 2014 with great interest.  This was the sixth and final part of The Press's in-depth Medicine Matters series.

The article stated a fact that Home Assistants For Seniors is very aware of, that Canterbury has the largest, rapidly growing elderly population in NZ. This fact compounded by the devastating earthquakes one would expect the CDHB to be millions of dollars in deficit with the rising health costs.  This is not the case due to the clever work  of the Chief Executive David Meate and his team.  Less people are in Rest home beds now than 2006 and there are less hospital bed days plus 1.5 million patient waiting days have been saved over the past 3 years.
The CDHB created a model of integration of services centred around the patient.  More is being spent on Community based services.
The CDHB's emphasis is to keep people in their homes as long as they can and want to be there.   Home Assistants For Seniors has the same goal and we applaud CDHB for "putting aside the politics" and pulling together to problem solve and lead the way.  


I can’t speak highly enough about the work that Jo and Felicity and their “care givers” are doing. Home Assistants for Seniors professionalism and the quality of their “care givers” is exceptional and my brother, sister and I (and our mother), literally, could not contemplate being without them.

Jo Steel and Felicity Wallis have been supervising and assisting with the care of my mother for the past two years.  My siblings and I all live outside Christchurch. My mother (85 years old) is in the early stages of dementia.  The work of Jo and Felicity and their company, Home Assistants for Seniors, has been essential in allowing our mother to continue to live a moderately independent life. This has provided us with the peace of mind, that Mum is being well cared for and has an appropriate level of companionship. 

I would certainly recommend them to others seeking to ensure their ageing parents (or relatives) have a safe and secure social structure within which they can live, while retaining an appropriate degree of independence and autonomy. 

Paul S. Elliott -Singapore

May 2016


Please ring us to discuss how we can assist you and your elderly family member.

Felicity 021 949 740

Jo 027 626 1068