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Gerontology Matters
February 2015

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology

In this issue:

A message from the President

One of NZAG’s priority areas for 2015 is to harness and better utilise the extensive expertise we have amongst our members. You will remember in the November issue of Gerontology Matters our request seeking offers from members to assist us with priority 3 of our Strategic Plan: to influence policy at all levels to enhance the well-being of older people. While we have not had an overwhelming response the offers of assistance from those members who did are gratefully received. For those of you who have yet to reply there is still time and your input will always be welcome. I am grateful to Dr Judith Davey and Dianne Rodgers who are the executive board members responsible for this portfolio.

Through generous sponsorship from the Selwyn Foundation, NZAG collaborates with the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) to host a monthly webinar series. I attended the February webinar titled “Community Aged Care Reforms in New Zealand and Australia” and we had a small turnout from New Zealand members. These webinars are free to NZAG members and are usually held during the afternoon. All it requires is for you to have a computer with video and sound capability. The format for all of webinars is to have a speaker from Australia and one from New Zealand to give a balanced and Trans-Tasman view on the topic. If you haven’t already I hope you will think about attending one of the upcoming webinars soon. If you have any trouble registering or are unsure about the process please contact the NZAG office or one of the executive members. 

The NZAG executive will be having their first meeting for 2015 this week. I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge all of their hard work as without their support NZAG would not exist. Volunteerism is vitally important to organisations such as NZAG and so I would like to start 2015 by thanking Dr Judith Davey, Diana O’Neill, Dr Asmita Patel, Dr Kathy Peri, Dianne Rodgers and Dr Debra Waters for their commitment to supporting the vision of NZAG.

Finally, a plea to Waikato members. If there is anyone interested in picking up the role of Waikato Hub Representative please indicate your interest to the NZAG Office. This position has been vacant in excess of 12 months. We have tried unsuccessfully on numerous occasions to solicit interest. If we are unable to secure a person soon we may have to consider hosting the hub outside of the Waikato area.

Enjoy the last days of summer!
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: Working with older people with multiple long-term conditions: A qualitative exploration of nurses' experiences

Originally posted 7 July 2014; Last updated 3 February 2015 - Health Improvement & Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

The following was originally published by the Journal of Advanced Nursing

In this descriptive exploratory qualitative study, the authors used interviews with 42 nurses to better understand how nurses are working with older people with multiple long term conditions; gain an understanding of how nurses perceive professional patient navigation; and explore barriers and facilitators to nurses adopting a navigation role in primary care practice.

NZ: Older People Have Plenty of Sex - Why We Should Talk About It

February 2015 - David Lee

The following was published by the NZ Herald.

The preconceptions we as a society have of there being a lack of any, “late-life,” sexuality are far from the truth claims David Lee.
However, with this discovery and due to the fact that we reside in a currently ageing population, David Lee, a Age UK Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, looks at the important issues surrounding this subject.
                  Original Photo by Patrick

For example, David expresses his worry over the lack of awareness or concern for the matter our sexual health services appear to have. 

NZ: The Ageing Workforce and the Argument for Phased Retirement

Opinion: The New Zealand workforce is ageing and we can expect labour shortages to emerge in the future. This challenge calls for better valuing of older workers and maximizing their potential.

Judith Davey, the Senior Research Associate for the institute for governance and policy studies at the Victoria University of Wellington believes that participation by older workers can be encouraged through flexible and innovative working conditions, including phased retirement. 

Judith believes that we all need to know more about attitudes to retirement in the era of labour shortages when compulsory retirement at a set age is a thing of the past. 

AUS: Weights Keep Brain Nimble, Research Suggests

October 2014 - Matt Stewart

The following was published by Stuff

Pumping iron could be a powerful weapon in the fight against dementia, new research suggests.

The University of Sydney study shows resistance weight training could be crucial in keeping the ageing brain nimble, as working out with weights was found to boost the mental agility of older people with mild cognitive impairment - a common precursor of dementia that is not treatable with drugs.

Geriatrician Maria Fiatarone Singh, the study's chief investigator, said weight training stimulated hormones that promoted muscle growth. "It's possible these hormones are also having similar benefits for brain function," Singh said.

One hundred participants did six months of weight training and showed a significant lift in overall cognitive function especially in planning, organizing, strategising and visual memory. The gains were still there a year after the training finished. "The next step is to see how long this lasts and who benefits most from such exercise," Singh said.

AUS: Issues and Opportunities in Research and Education in the Asia-Oceania Region

February 2015 - AAG

The Australian Association of Gerontology held its 47th conference in Adelaide in November. The conference celebrates 50 years of the AAG and marked the growth and progress of this organisation in promoting gerontology within Australia. The conference also recognized our important place within the Asia/Oceania region, with a special symposium organized by the Special Interest Group on research and education on ageing in the Asia-Oceania Region. 

Our region offers some of the most urgent and interesting ageing contexts including high income countries with some of the oldest populations in the world, and lower income countries with the fastest ageing populations. Our region also includes countries with very large populations across a vast land area, such as China and India, and much smaller populations such as Fiji Papua New Guinea. 

Discover the opportunities and issues involved by reading on here >  

AUS: ANZSGM Annual Scientific Meeting 2015!

Wanju - Nyininy, nih, kaartdjinin!

Or translated from our Noongar people’s language: Welcome – sit, listen, learn! 

We cordially invite you to participate in our 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting - Paradigms in Perth: Deconstructing Delirium and Engaging Elders at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth, Western Australia.  

Delirium was described by the ancient Greeks, yet we still struggle with managing this prevalent scourge of older people. Alasdair MacLullich is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Edinburgh University and President of the European Delirium Association. Prof MacLullich will share his paradigm of delirium pathophysiology and detection as well as delirium services with us.

Providing relevant services to engage with older aboriginal people has been a major endeavour of Associate Professor Dina Logiudice from Melbourne Health and the Victorian Aboriginal Medical Service. She has an extensive background in cross-cultural assessment and will discuss managing geriatric syndromes in aboriginal people including dementia.
Other plenary topics concern challenging, common clinical issues, which are sometimes neglected. These include: Better management of older people across the acute care interface; Dialysis in older people; Suicide prevention; Epilepsy; and the expanding universe of Teaching Nursing Homes. 

To paraphrase Douglas Adams, “If you’ve managed six impossible things today, why not try dinner at the restaurant at the end of the universe?” The conference dinner will be at the State Reception Centre at Fraser’s Restaurant in King’s Park, with omniscient views of Perth.

Perth has undergone significant change in recent years and now has an enviable array of superb restaurants and hip bars. The conference venue is the five-star Pan Pacific Hotel, in the city’s centre. It’s a short walk to restaurants and the river. Or a quick free bus ride to King’s Park or elsewhere in town. Recommended day trips are to Fremantle or the Swan Valley wine region. You may wish to travel further afield to the iconic Margaret River wine region.

So, pack your paradigms and head for Perth!

Dr Sean Maher, Chair of the 2015 Organising Committee

Full program and conference information available at >

UK: Cyclists show fewer signs of ageing compared to non-cyclists

January 2015 - The Independent 

The following was originally published by the Independent
Research from King's College London, published in The Journal of Physiology, has found that staying active in older age delays the physiological signs of ageing. The study focused on cyclists aged 55-79. To qualify for participation cyclists had to be able to cycle 100km in less than 6.5 hours for men and 60km in 5.5 hours for women. Effects of ageing were not easy to identify in all participants. People of different ages displayed similar levels of muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity.

However, the authors concluded that ageing is most likely to be highly individualist and that more studies are required to follow healthy and active individuals over a longer period of time. 

EU: Manager of Chronic Pain in Older Adults - A Clinical Review

February 2015 - HIIRC

The following was published by the BMJ

The authors of this review summarize recent evidence on the assessment and management of pain in older patients. Evidence is taken from systematic reviews, metaanalyses, individual trials, and clinical guidelines.

USA: Addressing the Looming Demand for Care as Americans Age: How Nurses Are Reshaping Long-Term Services and Supports

11 February 2015 - Health Improvement and Resource Centre
The following was originally published by the Robert Wood Foundation. Image by Camil Tulcan

This report focuses on programs in America where nurses have managed to create formidable, sustainable and effective ways to care for those who, due to anything from frailty to an illness, are unable to care for themselves. 

It also takes a close look at how policies could be facilitated elsewhere and we would definitely recommend giving this a look through!

USA: Prevalence of Reduced Muscle Strength in Older U.S. Adults: United States 2011, 2012

January 2015 - NCHS Data Brief

The following was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Muscle Weakness is linked to impaired mobility and mortality in older persons. The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) Sarcopenia Project recently developed sex-specific criteria to diagnose different degrees of muscle strength (i.e, weak, intermediate and normal) in older adults based on maximum hand grip strength. These thresholds are related to the level of muscle weakness that is associated with slow gait speed, an important mobility impairment. This report uses the FNIH criteria to provide national estimates of muscle strength in older adults in the United States in 2011-2012. 

Asia: Redefining 'old age' and 'dependency' in the East Asian social policy narrative

2015 - AAG

The following was published by the Australian Association of Gerontology 

East Asian societies are currently some of the most rapid ageing in the world. Projections of the tradition old age dependency ratios (OADR) present a daunting future of the size of the aged population both in absolute terms and, in the context of low fertility. relative to the future workforce. Recently scholars, especially Sanderson and Scherbov, have argued that OADR is inadequate as a guide to the future levels of dependency based, as it is, on past scenarios of 'old age' and 'dependency' rather than current and future notions.  Indeed, in the context of rapidly ageing settings in East with developmental welfare sales, the OADR has probably never been truly relevant, is profoundly helpful and could lead to policy paralysis. As such, Sanderson and Scherbov suggest a new method to measure ageing prospectively to take into account both improved life expectancy and health across the life-course. We introduce these new measurements as a possible new, more radical and optimistic way to think about ageing in East Asia. These measurements more accurately demonstrate the 'boundaries' to 'dependency' and, hence, demonstrate the potential room for social policy interventions to maximize 'active ageing' for the population currently, perhaps incorrectly, defined as 'old' and 'dependent'. 


Japan: An Aging Society and Migration to Asia and Oceania

2015 - Koji Miyazaki

The following was published by AAG

Retirement migration, at first sight, looks like a rather narrow theme, a pinpoint offering little room for anthropological discussion. Even though retirement migration is still in its initial phase, and it is as yet unclear how the number of people staying overseas for longer periods than the usual duration will develop into society-wide matter of interest, it is a highly complex issue that offers the opportunity to reexamine the relations between people, aging, family, values, living space, labour and exchange. This final concept of "exchange" offers the key for locating this research project in the context of anthropological discussion.
Koji carries this on in order to study the general facets behind retirement migration, taking a look at the government policies on it, the responses from receiving strategies and person cause and effect of retirement migration.  The main point of interest being based around the fact that "retirement" is generally considered to be a part of the life-cycle that is purely based around consumption, a clear contrast to the production of wealth that is generally associated around labour migration. 

Read more >

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.

Conferences - New Zealand

Age Concern Conference 2015

April 21 & 22 - The Brentwood Hotel, 16 Kemp Street Kilbirnie, Wellington

The Age Concern Conference is an opportunity to celebrate both how Age Concerns have benefited older people as well as the contributions of older people themselves. 

The conference will be a vibrant and dynamic event, with a range of speakers, including Dr Natalie Jackson with a keynote address on the patterns of an ageing population, as well as a number of practical, hands-on workshops.

The interactive nature of the conference means that you will be listening to speakers you want to listen to and attending workshops that are of the most interest to you in your field of work, within the themes of Technology for social impact, Older people in context, Organisational sustainability and Leadership and governance. Find out more or register now!

More information >  

HOPE-Selwyn Knowledge Exchange Seminar
University of Auckland Tamaki Campus 
This event was held last year and the  HOPE Foundation 
for Research on Ageing November 2014 newsletter lists the speakers and topics.

For more information > 

Conferences - Overseas 


Medicine of the Older Adult 2015
25-29 May 2015; Edinburgh, Scotland

ANZSGM Annual Scientific Meeting 2015
6-8 May 2015, Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth

Regional Congress
19-22 October, Chiang Mai, Thailand

NZ: Seminar Invitation

Housing options for older people

Date and Time - Friday 13th March, 10am-3pm (lunch provided)
Place: Western Springs Garden Hall, 956 Great North Road, Western Springs (Accessible & good parking available)

Auckland's population is rapidly ageing. Ensuring the sufficient supply of quality housing for elderly is essential. This seminar will be the first step in bringing together recent information on Auckland's demographic structure and projections. The focus of discussion will be the housing options available for elderly and the responsibilities of public agencies and the community sector. What do you think on these issues? This seminar will include workshops in which the issues will be debated. The information and discussions that arise in the meeting will be collated and disseminated as input for policy and programmes. 

Speakers Include:
  • Dr Charles Crothers, AUT, on demographic changes in the Auckland region.
  • Terry Foster, Abbeyfield, will provide an overview of the issues relating to housing for older people.
  • Dr. Deborah Levy, University of Auckland Business School, to speak on housing financial issues.
Register to Participate (no charge):
Please RSVP to by 9 March 2015. Include the names of attendees, organisation, contact details and any special dietary requirements.

More information on or search ADCOSS on facebook

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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