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ISSN 2463-5367

Gerontology Matters
April 2016

In this issue:

A Message from the President

I was recently asked to present findings from a research project at the Auckland Regional Council of Social Services Forum focused on ensuring Auckland is an age-friendly and appropriate place for older people to live in. At the end of the presentation, as part of being thanked for my contribution, I was challenged by an older delegate to make sure that I included the voices and perspectives of older people when planning future research projects. In any study I am involved with we always have an advisory group comprised of members of the researched group.
The point and challenge made is both important and interesting. Firstly, I was challenged in terms of my age; who was I and what right did I have to be undertaking research and then making claims about older people’s perceptions of age-friendliness? Evidence of meaningful stakeholder engagement and knowledge exchange is integral to the National Science Challenge ‘Ageing Well’ Request for Proposals assessment criteria. The specifications relate to providing evidence that the principles of co-creation, co-development and wider stakeholder engagement have occurred.
The principles of co-creation and co-development means including older people in all aspects of the research process in a meaningful, as opposed to tokenistic way. For researchers this should start with the generation of research ideas through to the inclusion of older people as co-researchers. Doing so certainly gives legitimacy to any project. While I fully support this position and process, I also believe that as a person whose entire career has been focused on promoting the health and well-being of older people, I, like others who have done the same, can also claim legitimacy in this space. NZAG currently has a small student chapter comprised of younger members who are committed to gerontology and it is these people who are the next generation of older people.


Stephen Neville.                                              

Information relevant to NZAG members

New Zealand: Champions for Positive Ageing


Outstanding advocates for an age-friendly society will become SuperSeniors Champions under a new programme launched recently by Seniors Minister Maggie Barry.

“This is about seniors talking about issues that matter to seniors,” Ms Barry says. “Our Champions will be inspirational role models who embody the idea of positive ageing.

“They will raise awareness of our ageing population, how we can make our towns and cities better places to be old, and advocate for the voices of seniors to be heard in their communities.”

Find out more here >

New Zealand: Factors affecting optimal nutrition and hydration for people living in specialised dementia care units - A qualitative study of staff caregivers' perceptions

Source: Australasian Journal on Ageing

Dementia is a public health priority with the number of people affected worldwide expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. Approximately 50 000 New Zealanders are currently living with some form of dementia. For many people living in age-related residential care (ARRC) achieving and maintaining adequate nutrition and hydration is a challenge. Furthermore, people with dementia are more likely to be underweight and dehydrated than those without dementia. Poor nutritional status reduces quality of life, causes illness and can lead to premature death. The reasons for unwanted weight loss in people with dementia are multi-factorial and vary depending on the type and stage of dementia, as well as the environment in which the individual lives.

Read more here >

Entries Open for the Ryman Prize

NZ$250,000 prize for improving quality of life for older people on offer

The search is on for the best work around the globe that has enhanced quality of life for older people.

Launched last year, the NZ$250,000 Ryman Prize is one of the world’s richest prizes and is the only award of its kind which is targeted at the health of older people.

The prize winner is selected by an international jury and entry is open to the brightest and best thinkers, scientists, clinicians or inventors anywhere in the world.

The prize will go to the best discovery, invention, medical advance, idea or initiative anywhere on earth that enhances quality of life for older people.

Entry for the 2016 Ryman Prize are now open at

Entries close at midnight on Friday, April 28 2016.

New Zealand: Descriptive Epidemiology of Physical Activity Levels and Patterns in New Zealanders in Advanced Age

Source: Journal of Ageing and Physical Activity

Little is known about the physical activity levels and behaviors of advanced age New Zealanders. A cross-sectional analysis of data from Life and Living in Advanced Age: A Cohort Study in New Zealand (LiLACS NZ), Te Puāwaitanga O Nga Tapuwae Kia ora Tonu, measures of physical activity (PASE) (n = 664, aged 80-90 [n = 254, Māori, aged 82.5(2), n = 410 non-Māori, aged 85(.5)]) was conducted to determine physical activity level (PAL).

Read more here >

New Zealand: General Practitioners insight into deprescribing for the multimorbid older individual - a qualitative study

Source: International Journal of Clinical Practice

The majority of older people with chronic diseases are prescribed multiple medicines resulting in polypharmacy. The extrapolation of the 'single disease model' represented by disease-specific guidelines is a major driver for polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is associated with negative health outcomes. Safely reducing or discontinuing harmful medicines, commonly referred to as deprescribing, has been shown to reduce adverse health outcomes, healthcare costs and mortality. However, there are barriers to deprescribing such as time constraints, limited appropriate clinical resources and the influence of multiple prescribers.

Read more here >

Busse Research Awards

To promote international research in gerontology, the Busse Research Awards again will be given at the 21th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Francisco, CA July 23-27, 2017. Two gerontologists (late junior to mid-career) will be selected. One award will recognize a scientist from the social/behavioral sciences; the other from the biomedical sciences. Awards are $8,000 (USD) each, plus up to $4,000 (USD) for travel/living expenses. Awardees must present a lecture based on their research at the conference.

Deadline for receipt of nominations: November 1, 2016.

Find out more here >

Grab a nomination form here >

United Kingdom: Drink Wise Age Well - Alcohol and the Over 50s in the UK

Source: National Longevity Centre (UK)

Drink Wise, Age Well is a major new programme of work which will address the challenges of alcohol-related harm in older adults. Based in five demonstration areas across the UK, but with learnings shared across the nation, we will look to raise awareness of the issue of alcohol-related harm among people over 50, change attitudes, combat stigmatisation, convey harm reduction messages and influence community norms about the use of alcohol. The programme will develop a body of evidence on how to prevent and reduce alcoholrelated harm in people over 50 which will inform future practice in the UK

Read more here >

United Kingdom: Promoting and maintaining physical activity in the transition to retirement -  A systematic review of interventions for adults around retirement age

Source: International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity

It has been argued that transition points in life, such as the approach towards, and early years of retirement present key opportunities for interventions to improve the health of the population. Research has also highlighted inequalities in health status in the retired population and in response to interventions which should be addressed. We aimed to conduct a systematic review to synthesise international evidence on the types and effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity among people around the time of retirement. 

Read more here >

United Kingdom: Involving people with dementia in creating dementia friendly communities

Source: Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project

This paper draws on discussions held at a Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP) networking event in Bradford to provide advice on involving people with dementia to help create dementia friendly communities.

Read more here >

A Message from HQSC - Reducing Harm from Falls Programme

April Falls 2016 is here and we have lots planned, as will many of you. This year’s national theme will embrace ‘prevention right through to review and learning from falls events’. 
Key activities 
  • Promoting April Falls – a number of resources have been developed and can be ordered from the Commission website
  • Update of the Atlas of Healthcare Variation falls domain, on 1 April. 
  • Webinar series with local and international experts
  • Webinar 1: Human factors and learning from fall events - Tuesday 19 April 2015, 8–9am. Email Bridgette Connor if you’d like to take part and you will be sent a calendar invite. 
  • Webinar 2: An international perspective – NHS Scotland’s falls programme (date to be confirmed).
  • Webinar 3: Falls prevention in primary care (date to be confirmed). 
  • Competition: Send photos of your April Falls display to Bridgette Connor and go in the draw to win a morning tea worth $100. All photos will be promoted on the Commission’s website. 
We encourage you to connect and work together across the sector to help us grow our community of falls prevention champions. And if you use Twitter, tweet your ideas, activities, comments and observations using the hashtag #AprilFallsNZ. 
More information about April Falls activities is available on the Commission website

United Kingdom: Growing old together - Sharing new ways to support old people

Source: NHS Confederation

The aim of the Commission was to produce guidance for people involved in designing care for older people. As well as the experience of those involved with the Commission, it was informed by over 60 evidence submissions, a series of site visits to areas and organisations using innovative ways to deliver care, conversations with NHS Confederation members and patient and carer groups, and by a literature review, including other reports and guidance on older people’s care.

Read more here >

Wales: New campaign launched as dementia tops the list of health worries in Wales

Source: Change4Life Wales

Change4Life Wales and the Minister for Health and Social Services have launched a new campaign designed to help everyone in Wales take simple steps including getting active to reduce their risks of developing dementia. 

The campaign calls on Welsh residents to ACT NOW and take the six steps outlined by the campaign to reduce their risk of developing dementia
  • Active (physically and socially)
  • Check your health regularly
  • Try new things
  • No to smoking
  • Occasional alcohol in moderation
  • Watch your weight
The campaign was launched following a survey which revealed that 76% of people in Wales are worried about developing dementia later in life. Forget-me-not flowers are the symbol of the campaign and will be projected onto landmark buildings in North and South Wales to encourage residents to take the six steps. 

Read more here >

NZAG/HOPE Summer Studentship Presentations

Earlier this year the HOPE/NZAG Summer Students presented their research. For the benefit of those who were unable to attend the presentation, some of the powerpoints have been uploaded onto the NZAG website.

Click here to view the presentations >

Canada: Promising Practices in Long Term Care - Ideas worth sharing

Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This book reports on the findings of an international team of 26 researchers and more than 50 graduate students who went to six countries in a search for promising practices in long term residential care for the elderly. It presents concrete examples of how long term care might be organized and undertaken in more promising ways that respect the needs of residents, families, workers and managers.

Read more here >

Canada: Shifting towards Autonomy - A Continuing Care Model for Canada

Source: C. D. Howe Institute

Canada’s provinces can learn important lessons from the debates and reforms in other developed countries. A number of them have faced the same challenges but have been much more proactive in establishing a framework for supporting greater independence among the elderly. In doing so, they have recognized that shifting more services to the home and community is a key goal.

Read more here >

2016 AAG Conference: Re-imagining our Future - Abstract Submissions are Now Open

Presenting at the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Conference is a powerful way to gain recognition for your expertise among fellow gerontology leaders, practitioners and professionals. It is the platform for discussion and sharing ideas with your peers and colleagues.

Submissions close 18 April 2016.

Guidelines for abstract submissions >

Read more here >

Canada: Caring for older people living alone with dementia: Healthcare professionals' experiences

Source: Dementia
Older adults living alone with dementia are at greater risk of placement in long-term care homes compared with those living with others. Healthcare professionals have vital roles in supporting them to continue living in the community. Yet, little is known about how healthcare professionals fulfill these roles and what their experiences are like. The study purpose was to describe health care professionals' experiences of caring for older people with dementia living alone. 

Read more here >

International: Measuring the Age-Friendliness of Cities - A Guide to using Core Indicators

Source: World Health Organization

Indicators are a useful tool for baseline assessments, target setting, monitoring and evaluation. Building upon its expertise in urban health metrics development, the WHO Kobe Centre produced a guide on using core indicators for assessing and monitoring the age- 2 friendliness of cities. The core indicators were selected through a process that involved desk-top research, expert consultations, field tests and peer review over a 3-year period.

Read more here >

Relevant Newsletters

New Zealand Nutrition Foundation Healthy Ageing Bulletin

Issue 25
March 2016

The Committee for Healthy Ageing is a special interest group of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation, which was initially established in 2004, to champion the cause for improving the quality of life of older New Zealanders, through nutrition and physical activity. Each quarter, this bulletin updates you on issues of importance or topical interest in relation to optimal nutrition and physical activity of older people.

In the March Issue of our Bulletin, we look at the important issue of nutrition and dental health, especially as what we can eat depends on the integrity of our oral health. Good oral health is important throughout life, and no less as we age. It affects general health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Read the March issue here >
Oral health in older people is one of the topics in NZAG's September conference's It makes Sense panel. Panel members discuss how keeping capacities and senses contribute to the conference theme of Making Active Ageing a Reality. Other senses discussed are vision and brain health and the importance of foot health. 

For more conference information go to 

Office for Seniors Update

March 2016

In this issue:
  • Ageing Positively: March update from the Office for Seniors
  • SuperSeniors website survey
  • Age and dementia forum feedback
  • Embracing the longevity revolution
  • Age-friendly gaining ground in New Zealand
  • Bibliography of Research on Ageing in New Zealand now online
Read the full newsletter here >

Events: Workshops, Webinars and Conferences


Call for Abstracts Open
Click here for instructions and a list of themes for 2016

More details
See the Conference Website for more details including our preliminary programme.

New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services - Services for Older People Conference

12-13 May 2016
Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland

The conference is open for anyone working with older people in aged residential care, home support or community-based services to attend.

Find out more here >

Australian and New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine 2016 (ANZSGM) Annual Scientific Meeting

1-3 June 2016
Melbourne Convention Centre, Victoria

"The AGEnder Paradox" will showcase the intersection of gender issues and ageing, examining the question of how women and men age differently, and highlighting the impact these differences bring to bear on the medical care of both sexes as they age. 

Find out more here >
Register Now

Leading Edge National Symposium

11 August 2016
Mills Reef Winery

An insights and opportunity dialogue among thought leaders, scientists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, policymakers, journalists, educators and the public.

View the flyer here >

Find out more here >

2016 Ageing Well Colloquium

14 September 2016

The Ageing Well Colloquium, following on from a successful debut, will be held on 14 September 2016 - the day before NZAG Conference! Consider taking an extra day to check out this interesting event.

Read the report on the 2015 Colloquium here >

Alzheimers New Zealand 2016 Conference - Call for Abstracts

3-5 November 2016
TSB Bank Arena and Convention Centre

Call for Abstracts for Alzheimers New Zealand's biennial conference which will also be the 19th Asia Pacific Conference of Alzheimers Disease International.

Submissions close on Tuesday 7 June 2016. 

Find out more here >

2016 AAG Conference: Re-imagining our Future

2-4 November 2016
National Convention Centre
Canberra, Australia

The theme for the 2016 Conference is “Capitalising on the Ageing Dividend: Reimagining Our Future”. In Canberra, the nation’s centre of government, this conference will provide an opportunity to explore the future of ageing, and how we can best capitalise on the social and economic potential of our ageing society.

The AAG Conference is truly multidisciplinary and brings together people with a wide range of professional interests. They include health and aged care practitioners, researchers, community care providers, policy makers and planners and anyone interested in current issues in ageing. This unique meeting of the minds offers delegates an exciting opportunity to make new connections with people and ideas.

Read more here >

World Congress on Active Ageing

28 June - 1 July 2016
Melbourne, Australia

The 9th World Congress on Active Ageing is currently open for online registration
Register Now

Global Disability, Ageing & Healthcare Conferences Online Guide 

See a comprehensive list of conferences on the Global Disability and Health Care Services website.
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