Scoop Review of Books

How to Grow Old Safely


With news like Officials close gagging rest home and Name and shame plan for bad rest homes hitting New Zealand headlines, it is clear how vulnerable older members of our community can be.

Ready for Anything, by barrister, journalist and New Zealand author Catriona MacLennan offers people the chance to plan ahead by arming themselves with the necessary information and tools to live happily, safely and well.

Through her book Ms MacLennan shows how a little preparation can save people from the legal and financial minefields of old age.

Catriona says, As the New Zealand population ages, older people need to put their legal and financial affairs in order to ensure that their wishes are carried out if they have an accident or severe illness and can no longer look after themselves or communicate their wishes which will prevent confusion, arguments and financial disasters for those left behind.

There’s a real lack of relevant information available with regard to the special issues and decisions people face as they grow older, that’s what motivated me to write Ready for Anything — with the right knowledge these situations can be avoided.

Ready for Anything empowers Baby Boomers at, or coming up to, retirement age, as well as people who are already retired, by providing them with basic information about legal and other issues they will encounter, such as:

• Can family members change your will against your wishes?
• What happens if you need to appoint someone to manage your affairs?
• What is a ‘living will’?
• What is a home equity release scheme and how might it apply to you?
• Staying in your own home or moving to a retirement village — what are your options?
• Who pays if you need help in the home or can’t afford rest-home care?
• What help is available in the community?
• Who can you turn to if you need advice?
• What are the implications of moving into a rest home or private home?
• What are your superannuation entitlements?

Ready for Anything features specific information for caregivers, acknowledging their huge responsibility, but also reassuring them that they should not feel guilty if they find it overwhelming or feel that they need a break from caring for an older relative and it provides the necessary tools and information to make critical decisions before it is too late!

Also releasing this June by Catriona MacLennan is Survive the Crunch!

Costs are rising, income is uncertain, times are getting tougher . . . getting through the recession in one piece will take some planning. You can do it, Catriona will show you how.

Filled with practical tips and user-friendly advice, Survive the Crunch! helps you overhaul your finances — increasing what comes in, reducing what goes out, and making the most of what you’ve already got.

In tough economic times, every little bit helps, and Survive the Crunch! is packed with common-sense suggestions to help balance the books.

About Catriona MacLennan
Catriona is a barrister and has practised law in South Auckland for the past 12 years. She was the first lawyer to work at Nga Ture Kaitiaki Ki Waikato Community Law Centre where she provided legal advice to people who couldn’t afford lawyers.

Catriona’s clients are some of the most disadvantaged people in New Zealand. Catriona actively lobbies for law changes to improve the situation for her clients and has worked in fields in which few lawyers practise, including acting for beneficiaries and doing a considerable amount of consumer law work.

A former Parliamentary Press Gallery journalist, Catriona is a well known media commentator who specialises in legal, social and animal rights’ issues.

She is the bestselling author of Know Your Rights — A Practical Guide to the Law for Every New Zealand Household, Home Truths and Kitchen Table Millionaire.

Catriona is involved with the First Strike campaign, which recognises the links between animal abuse, domestic violence and other forms of violence in the community, and seeks to foster co-operation between women’s refuges and animal and child protection agencies.