21 Jul 2011

Cook Islands government to keep closer eye on struggling elderly

4:25 pm on 21 July 2011

The Cook Islands welfare director says most pensioners are well looked after, but admits a few are living in below-standard accommodation.

The Cook Island News has reported the case of an 80 year-old pensioner sleeping in a wheelbarrow.

Internal Affairs Ministry welfare director Ngatuaine Maui says the report was sensationalised as the man had only been napping, and slept on the floor of his house before he was provided with a mattress.

She says the government gives pensioners 170 US dollars a fortnight, and can help improve their homes if they qualify for assistance.

But she says there's a group of fewer than 20 people in Rarotonga they will monitor more regularly

"There are a few pensioners out there who do not have families and maybe their accommodation is a bit below the normal standards. The houses like they have leaky roofs, and maybe one bedroom houses, very small accommodation."

Ngatuaine Maui says the community can also reach out to assist elderly people.