Today is New Zealand Census Day. There are some concerns about the ability of older people to complete the census in its new online format.

Statistics NZ has informed the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) that they expect most census returns by or on behalf of residential aged care residents to be on the traditional paper forms, rather than online.  Census 2018 field officers should have been in touch with all care facilities some weeks ago to deliver forms and discuss their completion.

However, some facilities and retirement villages are supporting their residents with the new online format. Among them is Albany retirement village Settlers, which is supporting residents to complete their forms with a Census service on-site.

Settlers has set aside a dedicated computer for residents with help provided by a member of staff.  It opened its Census service on Friday 2nd March with queues forming very quickly.

Terry Middlemost, CEO of Settlers’ owner Premier Lifestyle Villages (PLV), says residents understand why the new online census makes more sense to administer but find the prospect daunting.

“With the census being compulsory it’s not surprising that many people are a little concerned about the new online service.  We felt the best way to overcome this was to support people as much as possible,” he says.

“Many of our residents have their own computers, tablets or smartphones so will complete the form themselves – so this service is available to others who need it.”

Settlers residents are being encouraged to visit the service during office hours so they don’t miss the 6th March Census cut off date.  All people need to bring is the Census Access Code they would have received in the mail in the last week.

“There’s been a lot of advertising about the Census but we felt our residents also needed support.  In a community like this, it’s amazing how quickly word spreads and we’ve been amazed how popular the service has been already.”

“The census is an important date for our residents who are all very active and part of a new generation of people choosing to live in a lifestyle village.  They definitely want their voices heard and be counted so the results are a true reflection of the way people live in New Zealand, retirement villages being a growing aspect of this,” says Middlemost.


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