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Radius Care Aged Care focus drives superior returns 2024

Radius Care (NZX: RAD) has completed the previously announced sale of the Arran Court care home, located in Te Atatu, Auckland.

Net sale proceeds of $18.3m have been applied to repay existing ASB borrowings.

Radius Care also announces that the ASB has agreed to amend the expiry date of the remaining $4.7m short term borrowings from 31 January 2024 to 1 November 2026, for consistency with the majority of Radius Care’s term borrowings. As part of the facility extension, ASB has also agreed to remove any requirement to further reduce debt, representing completion of the debt management program agreed with ASB, and referred to in Radius Care’s 2023 Annual Report.

Brien Cree, Executive Chair, said “The sale of Arran Court has materially reduced debt levels. A strengthened balance sheet and the strong operating performance seen in our year to date results ensures Radius Care is in a strong position to accelerate our growth strategy.”

Following the successful completion of the Arran Court sale, extension of ASB debt maturity dates and strong trading performance in FY24 to date, no further asset sales are required.

Radius Care Delivers 50% Uplift in First Half Year Underlying EBITDA Radius Residential Care Limited (NZX: RAD) today announced its results for the six months ended 30 September 2023, the first half of the FY24 year.

Highlights:

“We are a specialist care provider with a clear focus on our core business. Radius Care has once again delivered industry leading results and a strong financial performance, which is a testament to our exceptional people who have continued to deliver exceptional care to our residents” said Andrew Peskett, Radius Care’s CEO.

People
“I want to give immense thanks to our staff for their resilience over the last few years and the way they’ve continued to offer the very best of Radius Care to our residents every day. The results we’ve achieved point to our operational capability as well as the commitment of our team”.

Radius Care is fully staffed. The overseas nurse recruitment programme was intensified last year and Internationally Qualified Nurses were successfully recruited to fill all vacancies. These new team members have completed their New Zealand accreditation as Registered Nurses and are leading the exceptional Radius Care provided to our residents.

Business Performance
Radius Care’s business has delivered strong growth across its key metrics. Occupancy levels remained strong and above industry averages. Occupancy for September averaged of 93.0%. The strong operating performance was assisted by staffing stability, reduced external staffing costs and improved mix. We also increased our accommodation supplement revenue for our premium rooms, and new funding levels in place from 1 July 2023 boosted revenue in the second quarter.

1 Underlying EBITDA is a non-GAAP (unaudited) financial measure. A reconciliation is included within the Investor Interim Report and the Investor Presentation.

“The establishment of RConnect has been a highlight of the first half year. Our internal staffing bureau has been a key factor in controlling our cost base, through reducing external staffing costs. More recently, RConnect is also sourcing staff for external customers” said Mr Brien Cree, Radius Care’s Executive Chair.

“The quality of our operating performance and financial results of the last six months demonstrate the value of our clear focus on our core business. We’re continuing to position our operations in line with Radius Care’s strategy to deliver accelerated growth and continue to go from strength to strength”.

Financial Performance
Revenue increased 21% on the prior period to $84.5m excluding other income. Radius Care’s key performance measure, Underlying EBITDA, was $10.5m, compared to $7.0m achieved for the comparative period. The result was driven by stronger operating metrics across the business.

AFFO of $2.9m was earned, 16% up on the $2.5m earned in the comparative period. Net Profit After Tax was $1.4m, down 18% on $1.7m for the comparative period, which included $1.8m of one-off gains related to previously leased properties.
Radius Care recently confirmed the short-term bridge facilities held with ASB Bank had been extended for four months to be repaid on 31 January 2024, recognising the progress on Radius Care’s debt management programme. The sale of one care home is due for settlement on 16 January 2024, and the expected net sale proceeds of approximately $19m will repay debt. With the Board actively progressing the sale of another care home, Radius Care will be in a stronger position and able to progress its planned growth strategy more rapidly.

Development Update
During the last two years, Radius Care has completed four large property transactions, acquiring the land and buildings of eight care homes that were previously leased, and the acquisition of two integrated care homes and retirement villages. These acquisitions have increased the opportunities for brownfield developments to expand these facilities without adding significant additional fixed overhead.

Planning, preparation and consenting has continued on brownfield developments at Taupaki Gables in West Auckland and Lexham Park in Katikati, which will extend these sites. Advance planning is also continuing for the previously announced full service retirement village and care home in Belfast, Christchurch.

Outlook
Radius Care expects the improved operating results and momentum in the first half
of FY24 to continue for the remainder of the year.

The Board expects to resume dividend payments following the completion of the debt
management programme.

Radius Care (NZX: RAD) is pleased to confirm the extension of the $23 million bridge facilities with ASB to 31 January 2024.
Sale proceeds from the previously announced sale of the Arran Court facility will be applied to repay the majority of these facilities, representing significant progress in meeting the goals of the company’s debt management program.

For further information, please contact:
Andrew Peskett
Chief Executive Officer
Phone: +64 21 747 363
Email: andrew.peskett@radiuscare.co.nz

Jeremy Edmonds
Chief Financial Officer
Phone: +64 22 650 9354
Email: jeremy.edmonds@radiuscare.co.nz

Radius Care (NZX: RAD) has signed an agreement to sell the Arran Court facility, located in Te Atatu, Auckland.

The sale is for 100% of the business, including the freehold property. The sale proceeds are approximately $19.0m (net of sale costs), with settlement planned on 16 January 2024.

The sale is conditional on ASB approval. The pending transaction is also conditional on the purchaser completing satisfactory due diligence and obtaining finance and regulatory approvals. All conditions are due to be satisfied by 30 November 2023.

Brien Cree, Executive Chair, said “Our people at Arran Court have been an important part of the Radius Care community since 2007. We will work closely with the purchaser to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of the care standards our residents and their families expect”.

The sale proceeds will be applied to repay existing debt, representing significant progress in meeting the goals of the debt management program (as outlined in Radius Care’s 2023 Annual Report).

For further information, please contact:
Andrew Peskett
Chief Executive Officer
Phone: +64 21 747 363
Email: andrew.peskett@radiuscare.co.nz

Jeremy Edmonds
Chief Financial Officer
Phone: +64 22 650 9354
Email: jeremy.edmonds@radiuscare.co.nz

OK, well maybe not that Florence and definitely not since 1820, but Radius Care, a leading aged care provider, recently debuted its new self-check-in kiosk. The digital device is obviously named after the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. This new digital Florence offers unique advantages to nurses over the traditional aged care check-in experience.

The pandemic created overnight requirements for Radius Care to ensure that visitors and staff weren’t bringing in the virus. Nurses have always needed to health screen visitors entering an aged care facility, but previously a paper questionnaire was needed to assess if the visitor met the check-in safety requirements. Then the pandemic heaped more time and administration on an already time consuming and administratively heavy task.

“The requirements of the pandemic took nurses further from away from their real jobs. Essentially, there was a full-time nurse checking people in – it was a necessary, but poor, use of limited nursing resources. They had to ask about close contacts, locations of interest, and they had to do it again if the person came the next day. Florence now automates the tasks, she even does temperature checks,” says Corrie Bronkhorst, RN and Quality Manager at Radius Care.

Corrie helped inform the design of the system so it could help nurses get back to caring for people. It was her job to ensure the new system integrated the new thermal scanning and contact tracing requirements that came with Alert Level 3 last year.

Corrie’s input led to what Florence is today, a system to streamline and automate entry processes. The unit lets users create a profile, maps contacts, locations of interest, and family members, handles sign in and sign out, asks the necessary health questions, and does a temperature check. If an alert is triggered, the visitor will be denied entry and a call will go to an appropriate person to handle the conversation, instead of a nurse. The system logs all the data and give users a QR code to scan for easy access to the facility, and Florence is soon to integrate vaccine passports too.

Corrie says the nurses’ experience with the kiosk has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Florence saves our nurses a lot of admin time. They’re really happy getting back to the floor so they can look after our residents. You become a nurse to look after people who aren’t able to look after themselves, and Florence has allowed our nurses be nurses again,” says Corrie.

Radius Care’s residents and staff members look a lot like the New Zealand of today, a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. How our people celebrate the holidays provides a glimpse of our diversity, which extends beyond sparkling lights, pretty ornaments and swapping presents.

Regardless of culture and faith, Radius Care’s staff work tirelessly to make the holiday season special for the residents. Every December, activities are thoroughly planned to spread the festive cheer, including holiday movie and ice-cream events, lighting and decorations, pamper sessions, live music and bands, Christmas markets, carol singalongs and so much more.

In Maori culture, Christmas means Whakawahanaungatanga, or bringing the family together. Bernie Ake, who has worked at Radius Althorp for over sixteen years as activities coordinator says, “To me, Christmas means telling stories of our Tupuna (ancestors) to our Mokopuna (grandchildren), and what our Tupuna did when they were alive. We also share food through hāngī, barbecue, or a boil up. And we take daily visits as a whanau to our local swimming spot to swim, gather kaimoana (seafood) or just simply enjoy one another’s company.”

For Thea Van Kempen, therapist and activities coordinator at Radius Kensington, Christmas first and foremost is about quality time with family and friends. “I’m Dutch, I love a classic Kiwi Christmas but I also miss a snowy Northern Hemisphere Christmas with all the family inside, sharing a meal, singing carols and playing games or cards.”

Although traditional Christmases might seem prevalent, some of Radius Care’s staff revealed they have different views about the season of giving. “Our family don’t exchange presents. For many years, we have given service to the Salvation Army. And we collect food hampers for other organisations. Our joy comes from giving totally.” said Christina Wihongi, activities coordinator at Radius Rimu Park. This year, she and her family have given to the Women’s Refugee and home shelters in Whangarei.

When taking a trip down Christmas memory lane, Christina specifically mentioned 2018. “We invited a band that was part of the original Maori Volcanics with Prince Tui Teka. They had the whole facility up and dancing,” she said.

Christmas gifts are also not expected for Kanika Sharma, activities coordinator at Radius Glaisdale. “I’m a Hindu, and in the past in India our family used to enjoy a nice lunch together or visit relatives, but there wasn’t much of a Christmas celebration. Now in New Zealand, and with my twenty-month-old son, I get into the spirit and am buying a Christmas tree for him!” said Kanika. Kanika’s best end-of-year memory isn’t necessarily associated with Christmas alone. During the Diwali festival this year, her residents wanted to see Bollywood dance performance. Together with her colleagues, they made it happen. “One of our Maori colleagues joined in and danced even better than us!” she recalled. The celebration was a hit, and the next day she got compliment cards from residents when returning to work. “They said they loved how vibrant the celebration was – it’s probably my most favourite end-of-year memory ever,” she added.

Receiving thank-you notes from residents is no doubt the highlight of Christmas for Lee Heron, who works at Radius Elloughton Gardens. “Knowing my bright, bubbly personality puts a smile on the faces of many residents and staff members is a great feeling. What’s better than a great smile at Christmas time!” said Lee.

For Thea, adding a personal touch and extra care on Christmas Day is a cherished Christmas memory. “When I set the dining tables I make sure they are perfect, and I make sure that all residents get their presents. I also love to spend some time with those who have no family to bring them good cheer over the holidays,” she said.

Whether it be an interesting gift-giving tradition, a special family recipe or an all-time favourite melody, we all have something worth sharing about our individual ways of enjoying this time of year. New Zealand is culturally diverse and so are the residents and staff at Radius Care, so showing respect and recognition is perhaps what makes this time especially meaningful and unique for all the people in our care. However you choose to spend it – Radius Care wishes you happy holidays!

Introducing the Radius Care Board of Directors and Senior Management Teams.

 

Radius Care’s Board currently comprises:

 

Brien Cree  |  Executive Chair

Brien Cree has more than 30 years of experience in the aged care sector and is the founding shareholder of Radius Care. Brien has also been the Managing Director of Radius Care since the company’s inception in 2003. Brien has built Radius Care’s portfolio from the ground up to its current 23 aged care facilities and four retirement villages. As Executive Chair, Brien is focused on the execution of Radius Care’s strategic growth objectives. He is a board member of the NZACA and a past board member of the Retirement Villages Association.

 

Duncan Cook  |  Executive Director
LLB

Duncan is a consultant at Sharp Tudhope Lawyers (Tauranga and Auckland) having been a partner in the firm for 31 years. His key areas of practice are mergers and acquisitions, turnaround and restructuring. Duncan Cook has been a Director of Radius Care since 2010 and worked with Radius Care’s founders to establish, structure and grow the company. Duncan has governance experience across a range of industry sectors, including fishing, exports and housing construction. He has volunteered on the boards of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce and agencies associated with economic development in the Tauranga region. Duncan is a member of the New Zealand Law Society, Institute of Directors New Zealand (Inc) and Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association New Zealand Incorporated.

 

Bret Jackson  |  Independent Director
BCom (Honours), MBA (Harvard Business School)

Bret Jackson has been a Director of Radius Care since 2014 and has over two decades of business experience. Bret is a co-founder of Knox Investment Partners (a leading private equity manager) and has been a Managing Director of Knox Investment Partners since 2005 (focusing on deal origination, strategy and value creation). Previously Bret held corporate roles at Mobil Oil New Zealand, as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group (Sydney and London), and has founded and successfully operated his own private businesses. Bret is currently Chairman of AAM Group in Australia and is also a past President of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of New Zealand.

 

Mary Gardiner  |  Independent Director
BCom, CA, FCG, MInstD

Mary Gardiner is a New Zealand Chartered Accountant and was appointed as an Independent Director of Radius Care in December 2020. Prior to joining Radius Care, Mary’s career has primarily been in financial services and she’s held roles as Chief Financial Officer of Instant Finance and Radius Health Group, and Governance Risk Manager at Air New Zealand and KPMG (New Zealand, Germany and Australia). She is also an Independent Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Southern Cross Pet Insurance, Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Unity Credit Union, Chair of Netball Northern Zone, Director of Women in Sport Aotearoa and trustee of Mangere Mountain Education Trust, an Auckland Council controlled organisation. Mary is a member of the Institute of Directors, Fellow of Governance New Zealand.

 

Hamish Stevens  |  Independent Director
MCom (Honours), MBA, CA, CInstD

Hamish is a New Zealand Chartered Accountant and was appointed as an Independent Director of Radius Care in December 2020. Hamish has held directorships in both listed and private companies since 2010. Hamish is also currently the Chair of Embark Education Group, East Health Services and Pharmaco and a director of Marsden Maritime Holdings, Northport and Counties Energy. Prior to his governance career, Hamish held senior finance positions with Heinz Wattie’s, Tip Top Ice Cream and DB Breweries, and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

 

Tom Wilson  |  Independent Director

Tom is an experienced director and is currently the Chair of Genera Holdings, CurraNZ, Pelco NZ and Tauranga Bridge Marina. He is also a director of Builtin Insurance Group. Tom was previously the Chair of Barrett Homes Group, Regal Haulage Group, Hopkins Farming Group and Managing Director of Satara (NZX Listed). Tom was involved in several leading management positions in the Aged Care sector during his career and was a partner at KPMG for 10 years.

 

 

Radius Care’s Senior Management team currently comprises:

Andrew Peskett  |  Chief Executive Officer

Andrew brings extensive experience in the retirement village and aged care industry, having previously been a senior executive at Metlifecare, a leading New Zealand retirement village operator with total assets in excess of $4 billion. After several years working in large London law firms, Andrew returned to New Zealand and joined Metlifecare in 2007, holding roles including Acting Chief Executive Officer, GM Corporate Services, Acting GM Operations and General Counsel & Company Secretary.

 

Jeremy Edmonds  |  Chief Financial Officer

Jeremy joins the Radius Care team with extensive experience across various industries. Most recently as the interim CFO of My Food Bag.

 

Richard Callander  |  Chief Operations Officer

Richard is a strong people manager leading cultural change in large teams. He is passionate about customer experience in service environments and designing end-to-end processes to deliver service improvements. Richard enjoys helping teams to achieve business and personal goals. With experience in customer service and property management over multiple sectors, he has a proven track record delivering sustainable growth for shareholders and positive outcomes for other key stakeholders.

 

Trish Evers  |  General Manager People

Trish has over 15 years’ experience in the HR sector and has worked in various fields including government agencies, health and transportation. She joined Radius Care in 2017. Trish has a particular interest in the area of employee engagement and making sure that we get the best out of our staff.

 

Gared Thomas  |  General Manager Property & Development

Gared joined Radius Care in 2019 and is responsible for property development across New Zealand. Gared is passionate about delivering quality, well-designed homes for our residents to live in.

 

Sam Carey  |  General Manager Marketing, Retail & Sales

Sam started with Radius Care in 2011 and leads the branding, marketing strategy, RV sales and public relations portfolios. In 2017, Sam started the Radius Shop as a way to connect with elderly New Zealanders prior to needing aged care.

 

Shereen Singh | General Manager, RConnect

Shereen joined Radius Care in November 2021 and successfully transitioned from being a high-performing Regional Manager to leading our Nursing Bureau, RConnect, in March 2023. Shereen’s invaluable expertise in workforce planning and her significant contribution to our new business opportunities have been instrumental in our growth and success and she joined the Executive team in March 2024.

Immobile 70yo had to be hoisted out of bed – but can now walk on her own.

Janice McIvor suffered so badly after a serious fall, she couldn’t get out of bed and had to be hoisted into a chair. Now she can walk on her own again.

Doctors told the 70-year-old she might never able to walk again after falling when getting out of a taxi several years ago – but the gym at her Radius Care home in Christchurch has helped take care of that.

Janice, a resident at Radius Hawthorne in Bryndwr, is one of the many success stories the aged care facility has seen after setting up a gym on site seven years ago. Bill Parker, the exercise-focused activities co-ordinator at Radius Hawthorne, runs the gym and says it’s exciting to see the difference exercising makes to the elderly residents.

McIvor’s case is particularly inspiring: “Her injuries included lacerations and a broken femur and her prognosis wasn’t good. She spent three months in bed and lost her mobility. Because she couldn’t walk, she had to be hoisted out of bed and into a chair.”

McIvor slowly regained some mobility and strength thanks to sessions in the gym: “She was incredibly dedicated and hard-working,” says Parker. “We worked at getting her standing using handrails we have in the gym, then we set a goal for her to take a few steps. Then we increased that to being able to walk out of her room, and then walking to the lounge. It took a long time but she got there in the end.

“Janice has kept going and is doing really well. Even when she was in a wheelchair, she’d be in the gym, hitting the punching bag, and she is the first one at our exercise classes. Her whole life has changed and she’s quite proud of herself.”

The benefits of exercising for the elderly include building muscle strength, increasing flexibility, improving mobility and helping with cognitive function. It’s also good for balance and coordination, which may prevent falls.

Parker, who has been at Radius Hawthorne for over 20 years, is a keen sportsman who recognises the importance of staying active, especially as we age. He could see that a gym would be a great asset for the residents and around seven years ago, thanks to a generous donation from a resident, realised his dream of being able to set up a space with equipment including a treadmill, a recumbent excercycle and two upright excercycles.

Parker, who has been at Radius Hawthorne for over 20 years, is a keen sportsman who recognises the importance of staying active, especially as we age. He could see that a gym would be a great asset for the residents and around seven years ago, thanks to a generous donation from a resident, realised his dream of being able to set up a space with equipment including a treadmill, a recumbent exercycle and two upright exercycles.

He also installed a punch bag and bought weights and resistance bands for strength and resistance training and holds twice-weekly exercise classes.

The gym is now hugely popular, with some residents coming to work out nearly every day. “There is a waiting list to get into the exercise class, it is standing room only,” Parker says.

Before they start at the gym, residents must have the go-ahead from their doctor; exercise plans are formulated according to their capabilities and any health conditions they may have.

Parker says they’ve had amputees who welcome the chance to get moving and dementia patients who may struggle to do other activities, but can exercise.

“Even if you haven’t ridden a bike for 50 or 60 years, once you get on that exercycle, you remember how to pedal.”

Then there is the impact on mental well-being: “That is huge. Exercise can help with mental health and coming to the gym gives them the chance to get out of their room and socialise, which is really good for mental health.”

Parker plays music which helps to create a fun atmosphere and many of Radius Hawthorne’s gym goers say their sessions give them something to look forward to. Respite patients have even asked to go to the facility because of the gym.

Parker recalls one 70-something woman who became a huge fan of the recumbent bike: “She started off doing a kilometre and liked it so much she wouldn’t get off. She’d be on the bike, eyes closed, listening to the music and just going and going. She’d do 20km at a time.” Another resident spends an hour every day on the exercycle.

He finds real joy in seeing how much residents enjoy their time in the gym and seeing improvements in their wellbeing, no matter how minor.

“It’s really hard to lose your mobility and have things start to go wrong, especially when you’ve been independent and strong in the past,” Parker says.” We’ve got people who used to have physical jobs, like being farmers or foresters, or working at meat works. They’re tough, they want to be able to do move around and do things without needing help.

“So to get back even a tiny bit of your mobility and be able to do things you’ve been unable to do for a while is really important.”

Helping people to do that is extremely rewarding: “I’ve done a lot of things in my life but there is nothing that has been more satisfying than what I am doing now with the gym.”

Radius Care has a range of videos with advice on moving into care.

– Originally published by The New Zealand Herald. Republished with permission. Link

Even end of life legislation doesn’t cover people in aged care who feel “enough is enough”.

The elderly woman, suffering from dementia, had made a decision. She would no longer eat.

As her daughter-in-law put it: “In a private room, with only the television for company, she clearly decided – somewhere in the recesses of her addled brain – that enough was enough. She simply stopped eating.

“Who knows how much pain she endured from hunger pangs and dehydration but ultimately, somehow against the odds, she did take back some control of her life in the end, and decided to die.”

The full story is found on the website of Life Choice, one of those featured there in support of last year’s End Of Life Act which comes into force in November.

However, the story of the woman in aged care who, even though suffering from dementia, decided to die raises another moral and ethical dilemma for the aged care industry: what do they do when a resident opts to die and simply stops eating and drinking?

In the case of the elderly woman above, she had made three pre-dementia directives outlining her wish not to live with dementia and that all ‘life-saving’ medication and treatments were to be withdrawn if she could no longer care for herself. Her children took her at her word, the website story says, and once she was admitted into full time dementia care, somehow prevailed upon the medical people to stop all medication apart from pain relief where necessary.

However, complications arose when, after a fall, the woman had to be moved from the dementia care facility, where she had been contented, to a new, higher care facility which was unfamiliar and therefore scary to her. In the face of dislocation from her familiar environment, she immediately made her decision to stop eating.

Brien Cree, founder and executive chairman of Radius Care, says aged care facilities occasionally face the dilemma of a resident who has decided “enough is enough”.

While the case of the elderly woman above involved dementia and had the support of her family and children, in some cases it is non-dementia patients who decide to stop eating and drinking, in spite of repeated efforts by staff to tend them. Dementia patients generally have to be moved to a dedicated dementia care facility, usually because of the patients’ tendency to wander.

“Let me be clear about this, says Cree. “The aged care sector as a whole, in my view, doesn’t support voluntary euthanasia, primarily because we are all about caring for people. We focus on that and can’t want to get involved with prematurely ending anyone’s life.

“But what do we do when someone refuses to eat or drink? We have had a few people not only refuse to eat or drink – they tear out saline drips and refuse all help. We are not mandated to force-feed anyone; it’s against their rights.”

Complicating matters, says Cree, is that the families of such people are often misled by the elderly relative: “They perk up when the family are there. There’s no mystery in that; seeing their family is a lift for them.

“I found that with my own mum,” says Cree, whose 72-year-old mother was the inspiration for Radius (now with 22 aged care facilities around New Zealand) after he couldn’t find anywhere suitable after his mum suffered a stroke.

“I’d come in to visit my mum and she’d be fine, animated and interacting. But when I talked to the staff afterwards, they’d tell me she wouldn’t come out of her room and wouldn’t have dinner. When I was there, she’d do everything.

“So we get a few families, when their loved one goes into a slump or suddenly dies, who say to us: ‘She was fine when I saw her on Sunday; what have you guys done?’ So we get the blame for what some people say is poor care, even though we can’t force feed anyone.”You can understand how this happens. Those families remember how that person used to be; they want that person back.”

Cree says many take happily to aged care: “A great number of people have very fulfilling lives in our facilities and villages. We’ve had people meet and fall in love while in care and some even got married.”

The difficulty for the aged care industry, he says, is that even the End Of Life legislation does not cover the person who decides “enough is enough”.

As the daughter-in-law of the woman in the Life Choice example says, her mother-in-law would not have been helped by the new legislation: “Dementia – possibly the biggest societal challenge posed by our aging population – is not, not technically anyway, a terminal disease. There would not have been any conversation about an assisted departure for [her], despite her fervent resolve.”

It is, says Cree, a grey area not covered by legislation and which remains unclear when elderly people take matters into their own hands and refuse to eat and drink.

– Originally published by The New Zealand Herald. Republished with permission. Link