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Gerontology Matters
End of Year 2013

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology

In this issue:

President's Welcome

This is the last issue of Gerontology Matters for 2013. This year has seen further change within NZAG, all of which is exciting. In particular we have strengthened our relationship with our Australian colleagues (AAG) through our joint webinar series. So far we have jointly hosted two webinars that were free to members. The most recent was titled “Indigenous Ageing: Tools for Better Practice”. The feedback from these webinars has been extremely positive and is a fantastic way of bringing together and connecting people interested in issues impacting on the health and wellbeing of older people in Australasia. The Selwyn Foundation is sponsoring New Zealand’s involvement in the webinar series and NZAG is grateful for their support. If you have any particular topics you think would be of interest for future webinars please send your ideas directly to me at

Next year will see a number of NZAG hosted events. In addition to the webinar series, which will continue through 2014, Professor Simon Biggs will present seminars in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland in February. This visit is made possible by the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University. Some of the topics Professor Biggs will present relate to elder abuse, policy responses to an ageing population, the social aspects of dementia and age friendly workplaces. Professor Biggs is an internationally acclaimed scholar and we are very fortunate that he is visiting New Zealand and is available to share his work with us.

On the 12th to the 14th September the NZAG conference will be held in Dunedin. The conference organisers are calling for abstracts so I hope you will consider presenting a paper or attending the conference as a delegate. Information about the above events, as well as any other activities for 2014 will either be posted on the NZAG website, via Gerontology Matters or emailed directly to you. Finally, I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas. For me the festive season is a time spent with family and friends, relaxing, enjoying a good book and a Kiwi summer. The next issue of Gerontology Matters will be in early February. So until then, take care.
Stephen Neville

The International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (IAGG)

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Information relevant to NZAG members

New Zealand Association of Gerontology Conference 12-14 September 2014

Welcome and haere mai to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South. 

The ‘Age of Ageing’ Conference of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology follows the NZAG tradition of offering stimulating and thought-provoking research and perspectives on growing older. Keynote speakers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand will offer insights into current ageing issues.  Concurrent sessions will focus on living well with multiple chronic conditions; social aspects of aging; health promoting communities; cognitive and behavioural aspects of ageing; health promoting communities; and policy and well-being.  We will also examine age friendly environments; health promotion and literacy, improving the health care experience, and spirituality and ageing.

Dunedin's beautiful Otago peninsula is acclaimed internationally and is home to incredible wildlife including Yellow Eyed Penguins, New Zealand Sea Lions, Fur Seals and the magnificent Royal Albatross. Dunedin also has some of the best examples of heritage architecture in New Zealand. St David’s Theatre is central to the University and the city, and to the nearby Otago Museum, where the conference dinner will be held.  Not far away are the Botanic Gardens, the Toitu Settlers Museum, and Chinese Gardens. Plan to stay and visit nearby Fiordland, Southern Alps ski fields or Central Otago wine country. Come for an exciting conference and a beautiful environment.

We anticipate a stimulating, exciting conference, sharing ideas and support in our search for knowledge of the modern phenomenon of ageing, in this age of ageing populations.

Opinion Piece: Sue Kedgley - Elderly Kiwis in care deserve national watchdog 

05 November 2013 - NZ Herald

The following is an opinion piece by Sue Kedgley that appeared in the NZ Herald:

Most people will welcome Grey Power's call for an Aged Care Commissioner to tackle the rising incidence of financial abuse of vulnerable older Kiwis.
This is a serious and growing problem.
But why confine the role of an Aged Care Commissioner to investigating financial abuse among the elderly?

Rest-home audits can be viewed by public 

26 November 2013 -

The following is from Stuff:

Public access to rest-home audits will be available from today, with the introduction of a new website.
Part of the Ministry of Health website, the new site included general information such as certification details and the number of beds in the more than 650 aged care providers nationwide, Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said.
The move has come after a string of public complaints this year about the care in rest homes.
Where available, previous and current rest home audit summaries would be made available on the site along with details of corrective recommendations and the facility's progress, Mrs Goodhew said.

Nurse 'over the moon' at scooping $10,000 prize

27 November 2013 - Otago Daily Times

The following is from the Otago Daily Times:

A personal health service record and communications tool for older people won the top prize of the Southern Innovation Challenge in Dunedin yesterday.
Clinical nurse specialist Eileen Richardson said she was ''over the moon'' when she heard the idea of the older people's health team at Dunedin Hospital had won $10,000.
For the challenge, Ms Richardson pitched ''My Health Hub'' to an executive judging panel at Dunedin Hospital last week.

Elderly won't suffer from investment in youth health - committee head

24 November 2013 - NZ Herald

The following is from the NZ Herald:

Investing more of New Zealand's health dollar in young Kiwis will not result in shortcomings for the elderly, the head of a parliamentary committee into child health says.
Dr Paul Hutchison, chairman of the health committee which this week made a raft of recommendations around early intervention health programmes, told TVNZ's Q + A the Government needed to reprioritise the health budget to better address the needs of many young New Zealanders.
"This dollar spent very early on, not only improves the health outcome of the younger, it gives them the chance to be productive and lead highly functional contributory lives."

Be fitter, healthier and happier by staying active

01 November 2013 - 50s FORWARD NEWS & VIEWS

The following is from 50s FORWARD NEWS & VIEWS:

There are many benefits for older people who stay active and Age Concern can help.
Age Concern New Zealand chief executive Ann Martin says regular exercise, ongoing learning and keeping connected to others are all ingredients for healthy ageing.
“Together they keep us mentally and physically fit and healthy.”
Ms Martin says Age Concern can be the first port of call for older people.
“Age Concerns throughout the country know what their local communities can offer and are well equipped to give older people the information they need to access the services they need for healthy and active living.”
Ms Martin says that volunteering can be a very effective way to stay active and connected with your community.
“Giving your time and effort is extremely valuable and in return it can provide a new lease of life and a sense of achievement by contributing to your community.”
Ms Martin says as well as staying mentally and physically active, helping others can give a renewed sense of well-being and usefulness, as well as a great way to make new friends and contacts.
She says staying active, whether it is in paid work or volunteering, can give an older person a sense of purpose.
“A great deal of voluntary work in New Zealand is done by older people, who can bring valuable experience and skills to an organisation.
“And, older people are wise, with a lot of knowledge to pass on to other people - of all ages.”
Click here to read the national media article the above comments were provided for.
Click here to find out what activities are available in your town or city to help you get active or stay active.

National Dignity Champions Awards Presented

02 October 2013 - Age Concern
The following is from Age Concern:

Making a positive difference to the lives of older New Zealanders has earned four people national acknowledgement by Age Concern.
At an event in Wellington on International Day of Older Persons on October 1st and also to mark the first anniversary of Age Concern’s Dignity and Respect Campaign, Age Concern’s Patron, Judge Ken Mason, presented the four Dignity Champions Awards to people whose actions reflect the values of the campaign.
There was one national category award, presented to BNZ security and fraud coordinator Bronwyn Groot, of Auckland, as well as three community awards, for Dunedin’s Jan Christie, North Shore City’s Gordon Michie and Nelson’s Kay Chapman.

Putting the focus on older New Zealanders

24 October 2013 - Health Improvement and Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

The following is from the HIIRC:

In this prospective cohort study, surveys were used to identify factors associated with discussion about falls by older adults with their general practitioners and other health professionals. 
The authors used data from 245 older people in Victoria, Australia, and found that few talked with and initiated a talk with their health-care providers about falls. They identify anxiety or depression, chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and having a self-reported fall in the last 12 months as being associated with discussion of falls with general practitioners, while a higher perception of risk of sustaining a serious injury from falling was associated with discussion about falls with other health professionals. The authors also identify different barriers to discussion about falls.

Premiums leave elderly vulnerable

11 November 2013 -

The following is from

Elderly Kiwis are in a catch-22 as they hit retirement with their health insurance becoming unaffordable just when they need it the most.
In a domino-effect, the ageing population is ballooning health insurance claims which is causing the cost of premiums to sky-rocket, forcing thousands to let go of their health cover and seep into an already pressure-cooked public system.
The number of Kiwis with health insurance fell from 1.39 million in March 2010 to 1.34 million in March this year, while premiums rose from $895 million to $1.1 billion over the same period, according to Health Fund Association of New Zealand (HFANZ).

Life expectancy good, early retirement not so much

25 October 2013 -

The following is from

Life expectancy in New Zealand is higher than ever, but early retirement is killing people, specialists say.
Retiring too early could lead to a loss of identity or sense of purpose because people's daily routines were so linked to their work, psychologists have found.
The number of New Zealanders aged 65 and older had tripled in the last 50 years, and was a seventh of the total population, according to Statistics New Zealand .

$20M to help older people stay in their homes

25 October 2013 - LiveNews

The following is a NZ Government press release, via LiveNews:

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew today announced details on how a $20 million funding boost will help older New Zealanders stay in their own homes longer.
“A review of district health boards supply contracts for home care support prices found considerable variation across the country,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“This additional funding will help address those differences by lifting the contract prices at those DHBs that were found to be paying below the national average.
“In the remaining DHBs the funding will be used to focus on those older people at home with more complex needs, for example more personal care hours and increased assessments.

Global Age Watch Index 2013 - Insight Report

HelpAge International

The following is from the introduction to the report:

This ground-breaking report is important for at least three reasons:
  • It broadens the way we understand the needs and opportunities of older people, going far beyond the adequacy of pensions and other income support which, though critical, often narrows policy thinking and debate about the needs of this age group.
  • It involves a pioneering application of human development methodology to the construction of an index of the wellbeing of older people.
  • It challenges countries in every part of the world. The report’s ranking of countries in terms of the needs and opportunities of older people shows that a country’s GNP neither guarantees good living for older people nor is an obstacle to improving their situation. Older people in poorer countries often have better lives on average in several key respects than those in somewhat richer ones. The index of older people thus serves as a challenge to governments and community groups to raise their sights as to what is possible. As the number and proportion of older people rises in many countries, the importance of these lessons cannot be overstated.

The National Evaluation of Peer Support Networks and Dementia Advisers in implementation of the National Dementia Strategy for England

March 2013 - Department of Health Policy Research Programme Project 

The following is from the executive summary of the report:

  1. To describe the range of Peer Support Networks and Dementia Adviser services, their evolution, establishment and delivery and governance characteristics.
  2. To assess the models of Peer Support Networks and Dementia Advisers in relation to: influence on the well-being of people with dementia and carers; contribution to achieving the objectives of the National Dementia Strategy; integration, sustainability and transferability within the wider health and social care economy
  3. To identify ways in which Peer Support Networks and Dementia Advisers contribute to the well-being and resilience of people with dementia and carers, specifically in relation to: accessibility of services; involvement and information; support for making choices and independence.

A preliminary evaluation of the Short Break Stay Program 

Respite care for people with dementia in Melbourne, Australia.

The following is from Brotherhood of St Laurence: 

Recognising the need for a respite service which provides real support and reassurance for carers of people with dementia, Brotherhood of St Laurence Aged Services devised the Short Break Stay program at the Banksia Community Respite Centre in Melbourne, Australia. There is clear evidence that the program, which provides a three-day stay for people with advanced dementia in a homelike living space staffed by experienced personnel, has been a resounding success even beyond what was anticipated by the managers, providers and carers who developed and delivered the program.

Key findings
This preliminary evaluation suggests that the Short Break Stay Program is highly successful in meeting the respite needs of carers and the high care needs of their care recipients. Carers have given the program whole-hearted endorsement for a range of reasons.

  • The Short Break Stay program offers an innovative dementia-specific, respite care service enabling a three-day break for carers which is long enough for them to receive some tangible respite from their caring role but short enough to avoid unduly disrupting the care routines already established at home unlike the standard fortnight in residential aged care facilities.
  • The program staffing ratio of 2:6 and the person-centred care approach enable close attention to each individual.
  • Carers valued highly the availability of staff to spend time with them to learn about their care recipient’s preferences and needs, as well as the regular communication provided during the client’s stay.
  • Carers appreciated the careful matching of clients with staff as well as with other clients to ensure
  • some commonality among the clients taking a short break at any particular time.
  • Carers appreciated the efforts made to replicate the care that clients received at home and, especially, the attention paid to transitions into the Banksia Centre and back home, which for people with dementia or cognitive impairment can often cause great anxiety and distress.
  • The Banksia Centre offers clients and carers a smooth and seamless transition between day and short-break respite.
  • Carers were confident that the Short Break Stay program included access to specialist services if required.

Conferences - New Zealand

Annual Elder Law for the Health Sector Conference & Managing the Deteriorating Patient Symposium

February 2014 - Auckland, NZ

This conference will focus on addressing the ethical and legal challenges within aged care and analysing the strategies needed to improve the continuum of care for patients at risk. 
So far there is a strong agenda with speakers from: 
Clinical Update NZ, Gillespie Young Watson,Buddle Findlay, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Buchanan Gray, Gaze Burt, Waitemata DHB, University of Otago, University of Auckland, Blackstone Chambers, Claro Law, Christchurch Hospital, Office of the Health & Disability Commissioner, Bay of Plenty DHB, Totara Hospice, Wellington Hospital, Auckland City Hospital, True Colours Children’s Health Trust, Arohanui Hospice, Mercy Hospice Auckland,

NZAG members are eligible for a 10% discount for this event, watch this space for registration details.

Dementia: the future is now

November 2014 - Rotorua, NZ

We have come a long way in the 30 years since the first Alzheimers group was formed in New Zealand and the dementia community started to focus on helping people affected by dementia.
We are now at a watershed moment with exciting developments in research, diagnosis, prevention, support services and treatment options, both here and internationally.
The biennial Alzheimers New Zealand conference Dementia: the future is now showcases these exciting developments and is a must attend for Members of Alzheimers NZ, people affected by dementia, health professionals, community, home based and residential providers, primary health care professionals, educators, researchers and policy makers.

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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