Whanganui 74-year-old Natalie Miller is left frustrated when the in-home healthcare workers she's expecting to come to help her don't show up.
It's happened three or four times in recent weeks, she says, and she gets no message to say nobody is coming.
"It's really frustrating because you don't know what time they're coming or anything."
In-home carers usually visit Miller every day and on Wednesdays, they come twice.
They usually help her with meals, showering, housework and getting dressed, which with her compression clothing, can take her up to an hour and a half to get on correctly.
"I'm on my own - I don't have any children."
The in-home carers are also an important social connection for someone like Miller.
"My carers become more like a friend than a carer.
"When you live alone you automatically talk to the people you get to know and you get to see."
It's not just Miller who is getting the no-shows from in-home carers, according to Aged Care Whanganui manager Michelle Malcolm.
There had been a notable increase of calls to Age Concern over the last six months from people expecting in-home care and their family members around that care not being given.
"You think as you get older that support is going to be in place," Malcolm said.
"It's ageing in home, it's ageing in the best possible way that you can and to hear that support isn't necessarily going in place or there are gaps in that support is quite concerning."
What care a person needed at home was decided by an Access Ability Wanganui assessment before being contracted out to a company that provided in-home healthcare such as HealthCare NZ or Geneva Healthcare.
"The concern for us is care is put in place for a reason, the people require those carers and they're not then delivered - then there's a concern for the person."
Some of the care being given can be crucial to someone's health, like making sure the right medication is taken at the right time, Malcolm said.
Malcolm was concerned this issue was more widespread but not being reported.
"A lot of people ... because they've had some carers for a very long time and they have a really good relationship with them, they also don't want to cause any issues.
"They think if they then make a complaint, then their carers might get cut."
It was well known the in-home healthcare sector had difficulty with staffing - like many aged care services, Malcolm added.
"It's also a sector where it's not highly paid and I believe it's not funded at a level it should be as it is across all sectors where you are providing services for older people."
Group chief executive of New Zealand Health Group (owner of Geneva and HealthCare NZ), Josephine Gagan, said she was aware of the no-shows but they were a tiny percentage of the care the organisation offered.
"While that is an extremely small percentage of what we deliver ... it's still important to that individual person that doesn't get the care.
"We are constantly reviewing how we might be able to attract people into the workforce, get people to work more hours, get people to work weekends," she said.
She said the sector had suffered staffing setbacks in the last 18 months and that was a contributor to some of the missed care.
"One has been the increase in sickness that we've all experienced.
"We've been telling all of our staff to stay home if they have any symptoms. We've seen a real increase in sickness level."
Other issues were that older workers had left the organisation, shut borders stopped the group hiring from overseas and the country's high employment rate.
"We would ordinarily pick up more people than we have done," Gagan said.
Mandatory vaccination for workers also led to the loss of some workers, she added.
They were not understaffed, Gagan said.
But it was a juggling act to match the number of people needing care with the right amount of workers.
"We're getting an increasing number of people being discharged from the hospitals to relieve the pressure on the DHB [and] acute hospitals.
"At the same time we have people exiting and you're trying to match the workforce with the demand. And so it's a constant juggle."
Sometimes that matching was not always correct, she said.
"Considering the circumstances, we feel we've done a very good job of keeping everybody safe.
"Sometimes we can't replace a care worker at the exact same time as somebody wanted."
Gagan said the sector could be helped by more on-call workers who could fill a gap at short notice.