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Tough Questions: Starting a conversation about needing more help as we get older

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Scott and Fiona, a Kiwi couple who are part of Public Trust's ‘Tough Questions’ campaign.

It’s vital that families ask themselves the “Tough Questions” now, so they are prepared when circumstances change.

Growing older is difficult enough without such age-related conditions as diabetes, arthritis, vision or hearing difficulties to contend with. Then there are the day-to-day matters to organise – banking, bill payments, preparing income tax returns, collecting pensions, maintaining property and ensuring finances are structured to meet living costs.

The increasingly fast pace of life means it can be difficult for family to come to your aid as your needs change. Children may be living overseas, in another town, or are simply time-poor.

That’s why Public Trust’s nationwide campaign ‘Tough Questions’ is aimed at raising Kiwis’ awareness of the need to make plans for the future. For many, the most important is: “Who will help me with day-to-day financial and property affairs if I am unable to manage?”

Public Trust may have the answer you’re looking for. Personal Assist can provide practical help and expert advice – whatever you need, for however long you need it, helping you remain independent without having to rely on family and friends.

“We have situations with couples for example, where the person who has always taken care of all the household accounts passes away, and his or her spouse doesn’t know how to go about doing those day-to-day things. We can take away the worry, making sure their bills are paid on time, and that they’ve applied for all the correct subsidies that they’re eligible for through the government,” says Rachel Heffernan, Manager of Trustee Services at Public Trust.

She adds, “One of the greatest benefits of Personal Assist service is that we are here when people really need an impartial and neutral party acting for them.”

Personal Assist often helps clients who are transitioning into aged-care facilities, from preparing a home for sale and arranging a move, to completing the extensive paperwork needed to deal with applications for residential care subsidies and loans. “When people are moving from their home into a Rest Home or Retirement Village, it’s a really stressful time in their lives,” Rachel says. “We also help people facing health or disability challenges, or even just those Kiwis who want to spend their time caring for a loved one or doing the things they enjoy, rather than managing their affairs.”

“It’s interesting work and we are all very passionate about what we do here,” says Rachel, who has worked for Public Trust for 15 years. “We come in every day because we like helping others.”

Like other Public Trust services, Personal Assist is designed to be tailored to each client’s individual circumstances. A dedicated adviser can assist you to pick and choose which services are applicable for your needs.

How prepared are you? Get your Tough Questions Conversation Guide at Public Trust.