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Gerontology Matters
August 2013

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology

In this issue:

President's Welcome

Welcome to the August edition of Gerontology Matters. My name is Stephen Neville and I am the newly elected President of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr Valerie Wright–St. Clair, our outgoing President, for all her hard work during her tenure. Valerie, along with fellow executive members worked tirelessly to restructure NZAG to a point where the organisation is now poised for a new and exciting future. I feel very privileged to be part of NZAG at this time.
The Annual General Meeting was held on Monday 19 August. We utilised an IT platform called “Access Grid” with participating venues at Massey University Albany, Manawatu and Wellington, as well as the University of Otago, Dunedin campus. While there were some issues that as an organisation we need to deal with for the future, the utilisation of information technology will allow greater participation of members in future NZAG activities.
The AGM was quite well attended by members. After the business end of the AGM we were privileged to have the recipients of the HOPE Foundation Summer Studentship present the findings from their projects. Robert Carr who had been supervised by Prof. Ngaire Kerse, presented on “The effect of environmental factors such as temperature & humidity on hospitalisation rates of elderly people” and Steven Xhuo Chen Xie who had been supervised by Joanna Broad/Prof Martin Connolly, presented on “A study of the epidemiology of Diverticular Disease in New Zealand”.  NZAG is extremely fortunate to have the support of the HOPE Foundation and NZAG looks forward to continuing to work with the Foundation in the future.
The newly elected executive is as follows:
  • President: Dr Stephen Neville
  • Vice President:Diane Rogers
  • Executive:Diana O’Neill
Regional Hub Representatives:
  • South Island – Dr Debra Waters
  • Lower North Island – Dr Judith Davey
  • Auckland/North Island – Dr Kathy Peri 
Current vacant positions include Secretary, Treasurer and a Midcentral Regional Hub representative.
My September report for Gerontology Matters will update members on the status of these vacant positions.
The next issue of Gerontology Matters will include an introduction to the NZAG Executive and each month I will update you on any key developments. In the meantime enjoy this months Gerontology Matters and remember spring is just around the corner!
Stephen Neville

The International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (IAGG)

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Member Opportunities 

State of Caregiving Study 

University of Auckland, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

The University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences is seeking family carers to participate in a significant new study. If you support an ill, disabled, or frail friend or family member, please share your experiences in this study, which will give carers a stronger voice and greater visibility. Please follow the link to complete the online State of Caregiving Survey, which will be repeated annually for three years.

Information relevant to NZAG members

Booklet: Reducing harm from falls: Change package

31 July 2013 - Health Improvement and Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

The following is from HIIRC:

The First, Do No Harm 'Falls and Pressure Injuries Collaborative' has seen teams from across the Northern Region district health boards and residential aged care facilities engaged in using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Model for Improvement to raise the profile and change care practices to reduce the incidence of patients or residents harmed from falls. The booklet is available for download. 

Booklet: Preventing pressure injuries: Change package

31 July 2013 - HIIRC

The following is from HIIRC:

The First, Do No Harm 'Falls and Pressure Injuries Collaborative' has seen teams from across the Northern Region district health boards and residential aged care facilities engaged in using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Model for Improvement to raise the profile and change care practices to reduce the incidence of patients or residents developing pressure injuries. The booklet is available for download.

Calcium Supplementation for Older People

15 August 2013 - NZ Nutrition Foundation

Calcium supplementation has been widely used by older individuals over the last three to four decades. It was originally promoted in the 1950s and 60s with a view to achieving a ‘positive calcium balance’ and thus reducing the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Vitamin D keeps elderly on their feet 

13 August 2013 - Manawatu Standard

A Feilding rest home has seen outstanding results after taking part in a vitamin D supplement programme to reduce falls by elderly residents. 
At the start of the programme, 15 per cent of aged care facility residents in the MidCentral region were taking vitamin D supplements - now almost 75 per cent are. 
International evidence shows vitamin D can help reduce falls, as well as the severity of fall-related injuries, by strengthening muscle and bones and improving posture and balance. 

Diabetes, CVD, & smoking: Managing long-term conditions effectively

06 August 2013 - HIIRC

The following is from HIIRC:

Copy of the presentation slides that were presented by Karen Evison (Ministry of Health) at the NZ College of Primary Health Care Nurses conferences in Wellington on Saturday 3 August.
The presentation outlines the importance of more effectively addressing the challenge that long-term conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and tobacco addiction present. It provides an international overview, current statistics and data, and then specific tips and suggestions for managing these conditions more effectively at a general practice and population level.

Recruiting older people for research through general practice

The Brief Risk Identification Geriatric Health Tool trial
30 July 2013 - HIIRC

The following is an article from the HIIRC:

The authors describe successful methods of recruitment through general practices and identify practice characteristics related to increased recruitment of older people for a randomised controlled trial in New Zealand (Brief Risk Identification Geriatric Health Tool trial).

Super broccoli helps fight ageing

31 July 2013 - NewstalkZB

The following is an article from NewstalkZB:

British scientists have developed a superfood broccoli that retunes metabolism to combat the effects of ageing.
The vegetable, sold under the brand name Beneforte, contains boosted levels of a plant compound believed to protect against heart disease and cancer.
Scientists who tested it on volunteers saw metabolic changes.

Agreement between self-reports and medical records of cardiovascular disease in octogenarians

07 August 2013 - HIIRC

The following is a study from HIIRC:
Abstract: This study investigated the level of agreement between self-reports by octogenarians and medical records on specific cardiovascular diagnoses. Questionnaires were administered to 937 octogenarians in New Zealand. Based on their findings, the authors conclude that "self-reported information on specific cardiovascular conditions has only modest reliability in octogenarians and is associated with number of comorbidities".

Suicide rates drop for youth, rise for elderly

22 August 2013 - NZ Herald

The following is an article from the NZ Herald:

Youth suicide rates have dropped in the past year after a sharp rise last year, and coroners are now increasingly concerned about suicides by elderly people instead.
Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean said provisional figures showed that the suicide rate for under-20-year-olds had "dropped quite markedly" in the year to the end of June.
The drop reverses an increase from 56 suicides in the 15 to 19 age group in 2010-11 to 80 in 2011-12, up from an average of 55 a year over the previous four years.

Ill health growing in society 

10 August 2013 -

The following article is from

Living longer has its benefits but not if that time is spent in poor health, Massey University academic Steve Stannard says. 
The Health Loss study 2006 to 2016, released by the New Zealand Burden of Diseases, found people are living longer but not always in good shape. 
Health loss is a measure of how much healthy life is lost due to early death, illness or disability. 
In 2006, males on average could expect to live 78.1 years, with 8.9 years in poor health. Females could expect to live 82.1 years, with 11.5 years in poor health. 
School of Sport and Exercise Head of Department Steve Stannard said the research shows ill health is becoming greater. 

Worth a look

The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) publishes a regular e-bulletin. You may like to subscribe to find out about what is happening in these areas in the UK and around the world. Click here to see their July/August newsletter.

Conferences - New Zealand

Elder Law for the Health Sector

02-03 September 2013 - Auckland, NZ

Elder law is a potential legal minefield of rights, responsibilities and obligations for health professionals, managers and carers in the elder care sector. This comprehensive 2-day training course will ensure that you have the knowledge and tools needed to comply with the many different Acts and legislation that come into play when dealing with elderly patients and residents.

Ageing and Spirituality one day conference

06 September 2013 - Auckland, NZ

The following information is from The Selwyn Centre and Goodfellow Unit:

6 September 2013, 9:30 am - 4 pm
Tamaki Campus - University of Auckland

As we age, and especially as we become frailer and face death, spiritual issues - about the meaning and purpose of our lives - begin to loom large. Yet spirituality can be neglected in health and aged care despite its importance - perhaps because people often feel ill-equipped to discuss this sensitive topic.

This one-day conference is an opportunity to hear New Zealand researchers and others with an academic interest in the area speak about ageing and spirituality. 

Public Health Association Conference 2013

17-19 September 2013 - New Plymouth, NZ
Partnership or Collaboration; is there a difference?

A number of high-profile speakers have already been confirmed, including:
  • Hon Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Health
  • Metiria Turei, Green Party Co-leader and Spokesperson on Social Equity, Maori Affairs and Education
  • Professor Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law, University of Auckland
  • Moana Jackson, lawyer specialising in the Treaty of Waitangi.
The conference will feature the usual high standard and wide variety of presentations and workshops around partnership and collaboration and other important public health themes. 

Clinical Densitometry Training Course

19-20 October 2013 - Auckland, NZ

The following information is from Osteoporosis New Zealand In conjunction with Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society:
Training Course for practitioners and operators involved with bone densitometry
This clinical densitometry course is intended for both practitioners and technologists. It covers the pathophysiology of osteoporosis, as well as the principles and practice of bone density and body composition.

You should consider this course if…
  • You have a tertiary education in a science based course, including nursing, and you have not previously received formal training for bone densitometry.
  • You are currently a DEXA operator who has not undertaken formal training or who is seeking an advanced update of their work practices.
  • You are a medical specialist, or specialist registrar in training, with responsibility for bone density testing, and are seeking deeper knowledge of the technological and quality assurance aspects of bone densitometry measurement and reporting.

Aged Care Service Delivery Conference

12-13 November 2013 - Auckland, NZ

Creating better service performance management
An event that creates a constructive platform that allows you to learn from industry experts and apply insider knowledge to your organisation. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to network with and get inspired by your peers, improve your understanding of how to enhance the quality of aged care, and learn about the key factors that drive elder satisfaction.
This conference is a great way to:
  • Deepen your understanding of how aged care is delivered via local DHBs and rest homes across the country
  • Hear about new residential living and care pathways which allow older people to age in place
  • Facilitate discussion on how to restructure the aged care workforce for maximum staff retention
  • Learn about how to build a culturally conducive model of aged care within your organisation
  • Gain insight into what makes the most difference to consumer experience and satisfaction as told by the customer
Immerse yourself in the full-day separately bookable workshop:
  • Building a culturally competent model of aged care
NZAG Members: Enter the promotional code MA6KV0 when registering online and receive a 10% discount. 
Register today and join us at the conference to share your ideas and passion for driving the aged care industry forward.

Sharing Evidence - Supporting Action, NDC Knowledge Exchange Forum 2013

21-22 November 2013 - Auckland, NZ

The National Dementia Cooperative’s 2013 Knowledge Exchange Forum is an opportunity to push the current boundaries of what we do as caring professionals. This event will provide access to some of the latest New Zealand implementation and innovation stories and bring together creative and committed practitioners in the field.

Conferences - Overseas

Global Disability, Ageing & Healthcare Conferences Online Guide 

See a more comprehensive listing of conferences at our web site 
For more information click here.
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