An aged care group says a smoking ban planned for Manawatu rest homes would take away one of the few comforts some residents have.
MidCentral District Health Board is including a policy in an updated version of its contract with rest homes, requiring all rest home buildings and grounds to be smoke-free by July next year.
The chief executive of the Aged Care Association, Martin Taylor, says many rest home residents have been smoking for decades.
He says forcing them to give up at an old age, when they have no choice about where they can live, is a form of elder abuse. "In a time of their life when it's very difficult to give them comfort, to take away something which they're used to and does give them comfort is really wrong."
Mr Taylor says the association will consider what legal options it can take if necessary.
MidCentral District Health Board says rest homes have supported the new policy.