Please add NZAG to your safe senders list

Gerontology Matters
August 2015

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology

In this issue:

A message from the President

The relationship NZAG has with other organisations is integral to the work we do as well as to our existence. On the NZAG website you will see that both the HOPE and Selwyn Foundations are supporting organisations and that all of us work together to better understand ageing and promote the interests of older people in New Zealand. Supported by NZAG, the HOPE and Selwyn Foundations are hosting a free one-day seminar titled the HOPE-Selwyn Knowledge Exchange on September 4th 2015 at the University of Auckland Tamaki Campus. This day is an opportunity for gerontological researchers and students to get together to present their research in a space that facilitates networking and collaboration. We hope you will consider attend and/or present at this event.

At the 2014 Annual General Meeting of NZAG held in Dunedin in September 2014 a new membership structure was discussed and agreed on. Existing members will now have received a letter from us inviting you to renew your membership for the 2015 to 2016 year. The NZAG executive believes expanding the membership categories will broaden our appeal by providing a range of membership options to existing and potential members. A key focus for NZAG is building our membership base and the inclusion of three new membership categories; ‘Concession Individual Member’, ‘Corporate’ and ‘Not-for-Profit’ will help us achieve this goal.

The 2015 Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Monday 17th August 2015 at the Blind Foundation, Awhina House, 4 Maunsell Road, Parnell, Auckland starting at 1730hrs. For those of you in Auckland we hope that you will attend this event and for those living outside of Auckland I will provide a synopsis of the proceedings in the next issue of Gerontology Matters. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your contribution to NZAG during the 2014/2015 year and we look forward to your continued engagement with NZAG into 2016.

Dr Stephen Neville
New Zealand Association of Gerontology

The International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (IAGG)

IAGG: Like to receive the IAGG Newsletter?

As an NZAG member, you are invited to register for the International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics (IAGG) newsletter and stay up to date with international news.

You can register here for the International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics newsletter or by sending your email contacts to IAGG

The Australian Journal of Ageing content updates

The Australasian Journal of Ageing (AJA) is a comprehensive publication which provides a balance of academic papers, industry perspectives and practice reports. An invaluable source of current information and research, it covers a range of topics including social gerontology, home and community care services, geriatric medicine, health services research and the biology of ageing

NZAG invites members to sign up for free Australasian Journal of Ageing content updates.

In order to receive these updates you must first sign up on Wiley Online Library. After signing up visit the Journal’s homepage and click “Get New Content Alerts” on the left side-bar.

Instructions on how to sign up for Wiley Online Library >
Instructions on how to sign up for content alerts >

Information relevant to NZAG members

NZ: Prevention is better than cure: Five tips for keeping older people healthy and out of hospital during winter (bpac)

originally published by

1. Know your patient:
It's important to be aware of your patient on a number of levels, whilst health professionals should obviously know the medical history of their patient, it's also important with older people to find out their social circumstances and history.

It can be useful to ask older people about how they manage in winter for example, questions such as who checks on them regularly and whether or not they find they get depressed in the winter, can be essential to preventing problems occurring or managing various difficulties they might face. 

2. Encourage preventive measures: influenza and pneumococcal vaccination

Influenza can be particularly severe in older people and result in serious secondary events, e.g. myocardial infarction. In New Zealand influenza is more prevalent during the "flu season" from March to September. Influenza is often under-reported as a contributor to morbidity and mortality, however, mathematical modelling estimates that it is associated with more than 400 deaths in New Zealand each year, 86% of which occur in people aged 65 years and older.

3. Encourage and support independence: falls prevention and other lifestyle factors

Older people with an increased risk or history of falls can be encouraged to carry a mobile phone with them, or rent a medical alarm. It's also been widely reported that exercise can help to prevent falls.

4. Perform regular medicine reviews

In an older population it is more likely for the population using multiple medicines to increase. Problematic polypharmacy can occur when a patient receives medicines that have more of a negative effect than they do any benefit. It is important to take the necessary steps to avoid any prescribing errors.

5. Know what help is available: co-ordinate referral to geriatricians, allied health and social services

Older people often have multiple complex medical co-morbidities, and an integrated team approach may be required to manage their care. 

See full article >

NZ: A "how to" guide on seeing the glass half full when we talk about our ageing population

Originally published by

The Government's putting a positive spin on the impact our ageing population will have on the economy.

The Ministry of Social Development has released a report - 'The Business of Ageing' - which claims an ageing population will bring more opportunity than economic doom and gloom. 

The report's found that by 2035, there will be 1.2 million people aged over 65 - almost double the current figure of 650, 000.

Seniors will spend around $65 billion a year in 2051, up from $14 billion in 2011.
Including payments on pensions such as New Zealand Superannuation, investments and GST, they will pay taxes of $17 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2011.

See full article here >

Focus on Falls: Toolkit for Clinicians 

Focus on falls is a quarterly publication for everyone interested in understanding and preventing falls in older people. Reducing harm from falls is the name and the broad aim of the programme.

Click the link for everything you need in falls prevention > 

NZ: Care Workers Main Earners for Families

Aged care workers in home support and aged residential care love their work but are concerned about the pressures of their work and the low pay. Auckland University of Technology (AUT) researcher Dr Ravenswood describes the typical aged care worker as 'female, aged over 45 and is the main earner for her family but she earns $15 or less per hour'.

The AUT report on the 2014 Aged Care Workforce Survey was released on 28th April 2015. They surveyed nearly 600 people working in home & community support and around 300 people working in aged residential care.

The report is focused on the workers' experience and they note that, although they sought responses from managers in those areas, there were 'too few responses to draw meaningful conclusions'. The report's authors aim to provide a benchmark of the workers' experience and situation against which future changes can be measured. 

NZ: What is the effect of a combined physical activity and fall prevention intervention enhanced with health coaching and pedometers on older adults’ physical activity levels and mobility-related goals?: Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Originally published on

Physical inactivity and falls in older people are important public health problems. Health conditions that could be ameliorated with physical activity are particularly common in older people. One in three people aged 65 years and over fall at least once annually, often resulting in significant injuries and ongoing disability. These problems need to be urgently addressed as the population proportion of older people is rapidly rising. This trial aims to establish the impact of a combined physical activity and fall prevention intervention compared to an advice brochure on objectively measured physical activity participation and mobility-related goal attainment among people aged 60 +.

See full article >

NZ: New pilot for older people promotes independence at home

Aged care services provider and retirement village operator, The Selwyn Foundation, has launched an innovative Telehealthcare pilot which uses simple touch-screen technology to help older people monitor their health and receive timely healthcare support and advice from the comfort of their own home.

Designed to assist people over the age of 65 who have been recently diagnosed with a chronic disease such as airways disease or high blood pressure, the system has been developed to allow older people to gain a better understanding of their health condition and to support them in managing their symptoms at home with a greater degree of confidence.

The ‘My Health Clinic at Home’ service enables users to monitor their vital signs and assess their general wellness on a daily basis. These results are then securely transmitted via the Internet to a specially trained Telehealth registered nurse for review, with both the user and nurse able to discuss the results by videoconference and any particular action that may be required to manage the person’s care that day. The programme runs alongside the individual’s current care provision, with the results sent to their doctor or case manager to assist with clinical management.

Full article here > 

NZ: Kiwis living 'outside the norm'

Tens of thousands of kiwis are living "outside the norm" in alternative accommodation.

An analysis released recently by Statistics New Zealand found more than 98,000 people - 2.3 per cent of the population - don't go home to a traditional house.

Instead they live in places like motor camps, garages, guest accommodation, boarding houses and residential care. 

"Most people in New Zealand live in conventional dwellings, such as houses, units, and apartments," Census Customer Focus Manager Gareth Meech said.

However, in a recent article by the NZ Herald, it was revealed that some of New Zealand's oldest citizens are ending their days in caravan parks; some by choice and others because of a harsh necessity.

Read full report >
Related article > 

NZ: Life Expectancy: Where to Live for the Longest Life

Originally published by NZHerald

A baby girl born in the Tasman region in 2012-14 can expect to live 84.1 years and a boy born in the Auckland region to 80.5 years - the highest in the land, according to new figures released by Statistics New Zealand. 

This showed females in the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board area had the lowest life expectancy at 79. years while males in the board area had the lowest at 74.8 years. Howick Local Board area had the highest life expectancy at a birth for males of 83.1 years. 

The Boards are of a similar size.

Counties-Manukau District Health Board includes both Howick Local Board and the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board in its catchment.

Board chief executive Geraint Martin said that reducing health inequity was going to be the major focus for the board in its strategic direction for the next three years.

It had introduced the "Localities" programme which was bring health services tailor-made to a community's predominant needs, for example,l diabetes clinics, and for older people mobilization clinics and geriatrician visits. 

Read full article here >

NZ: New placement hoped to attract new graduates to aged care sector 

Originally published by Waikato Times

It's hoped a new nursing placement at a Waikato residential home will attract more graduates to the aged care sector and specifically, dementia care.

Tamahere Eventide Home and Retirement Village, together with the Waikato District Health Board and Wintec, have developed a unit to increase the skill level of the students. Tamahere Eventide General Manager for Care Services Jenni Marshall said the dedicated education unit (DEU) is the first-of-it's-kind in the Waikato and is already in use in Canterbury. 

Read full article here >

Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and dementia: a review of the research

Although higher rates of dementia have been reported in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the disease is often overlooked by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, health workers and service providers. Geographical constraints in the provision of services, a lack of education and awareness in communities and by health workers and the prevalence of other chronic diseases have all posed considerable barriers to the recognition of dementia as an emerging health issue. 

In order to close the gap in health outcomes between the general population and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people then a better understanding of dementia by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities, health workers and service providers will be essential. 

This report outlines the prevalence of dementia and modifiable risk factors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and includes recommendations to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, family members and communities have access to awareness, information, and appropriate support services for people with dementia. 

Full paper here > 

Register Now!

Registration is now open for the Australian and New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM) 2015 New Zealand retreat to be held in Christchurch 5-7 November. 

Click here to register >

Australia: National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre is pleased to announce the release of its latest research report, Never too late to learn: Learning, education and training among mature age Australians.

Australia’s ageing workforce coupled with Government encouragement to prolong labour force participation and the changing nature of work towards more sophisticated technology and communication, means investing in learning, education and training over the long-term is essential.
This study reveals that many mature age Australians do not place great importance on learning, education and training. For example, the opportunity to learn new skills was ranked low in comparison to other factors that mature age Australians felt contributed to their quality of life as they get older, with work-related factors rated lower than personal interest and family factors.  
Mature age workers are often among the least qualified age group. Therefore, in order to extend working lives, it is increasingly important for mature age workers to maintain or enhance work-related skills as forecasts predict a growing need for acquiring additional qualifications in all occupations and sectors.

International: Can you tell if you're going to age badly?
2015 - NZherald

"Can you tell, while you're still in your 20s, how you're going to age?" 

A 40-year-long study, which tracked the lives of more than 1000 people since the early 1970's, has shown big disparity in rates of ageing. Even more fascinating, perhaps, is another prospect the findings raise - whether we can design therapies to slow ageing and head off age-related disease before they occur.

Researchers from the United Kingdom, USA, Israel and New Zealand drew on a range of health measures, such as blood pressure, white blood cell count, liver and kidney function, that had been taken regularly from 954 participants in Otago University's Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. They were able to pinpoint 18 bio-markers which, when combined, could indicate whether they would biologically age faster or slower than their peers. When the participants reached the age of 38, the researchers were able to set biological ages for each of them, which ranged from under 30 to nearly 60 years. This was then compared to their previous measures at age 26 and 32, allowing the researchers to draw slopes for each of the 18 variables and determine the hidden pace of biological ageing in all of the individuals. 

While most were found to be ageing on the inside at a rate roughly in step with their years, some were found to be ageing at three times that - and others weren't ageing at all. 

The paper's lead author, Dr Dan Belsky of Duke University in the US, noted the new findings had only gone as far as establishing a proof of concept that an "ageing trajectory" could be mapped out. The method would need to be refined to make it faster and cheaper, he said, but the ultimate goal was to intervene in the ageing process itself, instead of separately tackling different killers. 

To conclude, this paper could pave the way for applying therapies to slow ageing and lessen age-related ailments. 

International: Women and Dementia: A Global Research Review

"Across all regions of the world, dementia disproportionately affects women. More women than men develop dementia, and a large proportion of carers are women, in both informal and formal capacities. While the higher prevalence of dementia amongst women is noted in the research, there is little evidence of policy being put into place and actioned in response to this."

Read the full review here >

USA: Designing Recreation Centers for Seniors
Originally published by Athletic Business

Among the most visible legacies of the Older Americans Act of 1965, a spate of senior center construction produced facilities intended to provide educational and recreational services, and to serve as hubs for the delivery of community-based social services. For a generation, senior centers were more community than recreation — multipurpose rooms that could host community and family gatherings, bridge games and bingo nights.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, when the term "older adult" came into vogue as a replacement for "senior" or "elderly," a number of voices began warning that the approaching retirement of Baby Boomers — the first generation of older adults to have embraced physical fitness throughout their lives — would mean a rethinking of the planning and design of senior centers. It wasn't long before fitness centers began to integrate senior-centric components, and vice versa.

Integrating fitness centers successfully within a senior center plan is proving to be the more difficult of the two scenarios, however. Too often, senior centers designed using a community recreation center template aren't quite right for older adults, some of whom are put off or overwhelmed by the experience. A greater understanding of the needs of older adults has to come before conceptual design can begin in earnest.

See full article >

USA: New Questions About why More Women have Alzheimer's than Men?

Published 2015 - NZHerald.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's disease are women, and now some scientists are questioning the long-held assumption that it's just because they tend to live longer than men. 

"There are enough biological questions pointing to increased risk in women that we need to delve into that and find out why," said Maria Carrillo, Chief Science Officer for the Alzheimer's Association.  

Last month, the association brought 15 leading scientists together to ask what's known about women's risk. 

Later this year, Carillo said it plans to begin funding research to address some of the gaps. 

"It's true that age is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease," said University of Southern California Professor Robert Diaz Brinton, who presented data on gender differences at a meeting of the National Institutes of Health this year. 

But, she said, "on average, women live four or five years longer than men, and we know that Alzheimer's is a disease that starts 20 years before the diagnosis." That's how early cellular damage can quietly begin. 

Gene research offers the most startling evidence of a sex difference, when a Stanford University research analyzed more than 8,000 people for ApoE-4, long known to increase Alzheimer's risk, and found that whilst women who carried the gene were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's than those who didn't; Men's risk only increased slightly. 

Read full article here >

USA: Implementing the Namaste Care programme for people with advanced dementia at the end of their lives: an action research study in six care homes with nursing

"The Namaste Care programme is a seven days a week enhanced nursing programme that integrates compassionate nursing care with individualized meaningful activities. "Namaste" means "to honour the spirit within". The care programme was developed in the USA and seeks to engage people with advanced dementia through sensory input, especially touch,and to enrich their quality of life. Families are supported to acknowledge the progression of dementia in the positive context of seeking to provide quality of life to the end of life. The programme claims not to require additional staff or expensive equipment". 

Find out more here > 


UK: How can and should UK society adjust to dementia?

This paper explores the application of the social model of disability to dementia. This involves looking in some detail at what this social model is, and where it has come from. This paper brings together the authors' respective interests in disability and ageing, and their respective training in disability studies and health and social geography. 

The social model of disability was named by the disabled activist and writer, Mike Oliver (183), in his attempt to capture the novel ideas about disability developed by disabled people themselves in the 1970s - especially those who formed the path-breaking organisation the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS, 1976). Core to the novel ideas developed by Paul Hunt, Vic Finklestein and others in UPIAS was the proposition that disabled people were socially disadvantaged not by their impairments but by the negative responses of people deemed normal by doctors and others in authority. 

Put simply, the social model of disability looks at how people with impairments are a socially oppressed group in industrial societies; and this paper uses the model as a tool to see how adjustments need to be made in terms of dealing with people with dementia. 

Member-Only Resources 

Did you know: As a member of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology you have access to the member-only section of our website, giving you access to exclusive member-only news articles and blog posts. This section now newly includes webinar summaries and resources from the Australian Association of Gerontology.

You must be logged in to view member-only content on the Gerontology website.

If you are having problems logging in, or have forgotten your username or password please email so we can sort it out for you.

Global Disability, Ageing & Healthcare Conferences Online Guide 

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

Events: Workshops, Webinars and Conferences



Webinar on falls prevention Initiatives

18 August 2015
Tuesday, 8-9am

Francis Healey (head of NHS patient safety), Julie Windsor (NHS patient safety lead for falls) and Alison Doyle (falls lead for Birmingham Hospital) will give a national and local overview on the challenges and successes of falls initiatives in the UK.

The webinar is for anyone working in falls prevention across secondary and aged care settings.

Register your interest by contacting Bridgette Connor


Falls prevention in the home - workshops with Professor Lindy Clemson

Professor Clemson is a specialist in public health research on ageing and an occupational therapist. 

The workshops will take participants through three of Professor Clemson's programmes, including 'stepping on', 'Lifestyle embedded Functional Exercise programme' (LiFE) and 'home safety'. These workshops are aimed at physiotherapists, occupational therapists, home carers or any health professional with a focus on falls prevention.

Register your interest by contacting Bridgette Connor


NZ Dementia Summit 2015

5-6 November
Te Papa, Wellington

Dementia - Dilemmas and Debates
The NZ Dementia Summit is being held at Te Papa in Wellington, 5-6 November 2015. The Summit is jointly hosted by the NZ Dementia Cooperative, Alzheimers NZ and Carers NZ. The purpose of the Summit is to stimulate discussion and debate among multiple stakeholders across the dementia sector on the future approach to dementia care, with the aim of producing recommendations for future policy and practice that the sector and consumers support. 
The Summit will host two major workshops involving all the attendees. As well as these workshops, there will be speakers on identity, ethics and economics, which are core issues to consider in the care of people with dementia and their families/whanau. 

  • Diagnosis & Beyond - The Primary Care/Specialist Continuum
  • Strategic Direction - The community/Residential Care Continuum
To register interest contact

ANZSGM 2015 New Zealand Retreat

5-7 November

The Australian and New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM) 2015 New Zealand retreat will be held in Christchurch on 5-7 November.
The ANZSGM is pleased to announce that Professor Gideo Caplan is their visiting speaker this year. The retreat is themed as 'Geriatrics in the real work' and will have a range of topics matching this theme.

Abstract submission is now also open, and abstract guidelines can be found on the retreat website.

Click here to register >
Forward to Friend

Contact NZAG

Copyright © 2015 New Zealand Association of Gerontology, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp