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ISSN 2463-5367

Gerontology Matters
June 2016

In this issue:

A Message from the President


I am currently acting President while Stephen is away. As such he asked me to provide the President's message for the June and July newsletters. Having had recent conversations with Associate Professor Linda Robertson, who serves on the Executive Committee in the South Island and Dr. Beatrice Hale, who is a NZAG member, I asked if they had any timely topics of interest for our members. They crafted the message below and ends this by posing a question, which is very thought provoking and certainly calls out for research. Linda and Beatrice, many thanks for a timely and interesting message.

Translation of knowledge is a current buzz phrase, meaning that knowledge from research should be of some practical use. While many programmes such as ‘falls prevention’ are evaluated and measured, this is done quite narrowly in terms of the success of a specific outcome, such as exercises leading to fewer falls incidence, demonstrated through measurable outcomes. But such a programme might have more factors than the exercises to create and maintain success. Simply replicating the central feature of a programme is not necessarily enough to make it successful in terms of, for example, membership, motivation and enjoyment. We suspect that we can all identify with having great intentions to carry on with activities that are good for us such as an exercise programme. But how often do we follow through, or more likely fail to follow through? What might keep us motivated?

Successful programmes will often have underlying features, implicit and unrecognised which play a part in their popularity. Yet these underlying features may be essential to people maintaining their participation in a programme and continuing the changes in their lives. Such taken-for-granted features need to be explored so that the hidden and often invisible aspects underpinning such programmes can be identified and used by others in new replica programmes. These invisible attributes might seem self-evident but are often quite complex. Examples include the familiar aspects of a programme such as its organisation, the characteristics of individual leaders, and its economic considerations. A very important, but often overlooked, aspect is the social impact of a programme. As we know, ageing and poor mobility can lead to considerable isolation. Any programme which contains social aspects, whether obvious or unstated, is of significant value.

As Green (2000) suggests that “it is well recognised that evaluations should be concerned with both process and outcome indicators” (p126). How well do we explore and acknowledge the process indicators, making the successful ones operational for future programmes?

Kind Regards,

Debra Waters
Vice President

Green, J. (2000). The role of theory in evidence-based health promotion practice. Health Education Research, 15(2), 125–129.

Information relevant to NZAG members

New Zealand: Comprehensive clinical assessment of home-based older persons within New Zealand - An epidemiological profile of a national cross-section

Source: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

Since 2012, all community care recipients in New Zealand have undergone a standardised needs assessment using the Home Care International Residential Assessment Instrument (interRAI-HC). This study describes the national interRAI-HC population, assesses its data quality and evaluates its ability to be matched.

Read more here >

New Zealand: Nutrition risk factors as predictors of hospitalisations and mortality among Māori and non-Māori community-living octogenarians

Source: Massey University

The aim was to examine the consequences of high nutrition risk (hospital admissions and mortality at 24-months) using the Seniors in the Community: Risk Evaluation for Eating and Nutrition, Version II (SCREEN II) nutrition risk domain scores among the participants of the Life and Living in Advanced Age Cohort Study New Zealand.

Read more here >

New Zealand: ‘Not on the radar’: dentists’ perspectives on the oral health care of dependent older people

Source: Gerodontology

We explored the following research questions: (i) what challenges do dentists face when providing oral health care to dependent older adults; and (ii) to overcome those challenges, what recommendations would dentists providing care give those planning and implementing oral health policy and services for dependent older adults?

Read more here >
Moira Smith, one of the authors of this paper, is a member of the NZAG conference panel 'It Makes Sense-keeping capacities and senses to contribute to Making Active Ageing a Reality'. For more conference information click here.

New Zealand: Study: Housing Crisis Affecting Health of Elderly

Source: Newshub

New research is showing older people who are forced to rent may be suffering poorer health outcomes compared with those who own, and live, in their own homes.

The Massey University study is highlighting the societal impact New Zealand's housing crisis is having, particularly in the larger centres where unaffordability is growing.

Ninety-two-year-old Shirley Wright is not who you'd expect to be in a flatting situation, but living with 12 others, she couldn't be happier.

"It's much better living in an environment when you're older than living alone because when you live alone you imagine all sorts of things," Ms Wright says.

Ms Wright lives in Auckland's Abbeyfield House. It's a charity-run, shared accommodation and there are 15 around the country where volunteers help with the day-to-day running.

For Ms Wright, the sense of community and togetherness the home offers is vital for her wellbeing and happiness.

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 >

Opinion: Shifting the Focus in our view of Ageing – How NZAG conference themes have changed

Judith Davey - Blog Post for Age Concern 7 March 2016

One of the first blogs I wrote for the Age Concern web site, in November 2012 was about the New Zealand Association of Gerontology (NZAG) Conference in Auckland, with the theme “Ageing and Diversity. As members will know, these conferences come around every two years and there is one in September this year. It will be in Wellington at the James Cook Hotel.

As I am one of the organisers for this conference, I have cast back my mind back over the various NZAG conferences I have attended, how the themes have developed and what I contributed. The first one I have a record of was in 1999. This was held at Te Papa, Wellington, and was a joint enterprise of NZAG, the New Zealand Geriatrics Society and the Senior Citizens’ Unit of the Social Policy Agency (one of the ancestors of the Ministry of Social Development).  Like most organisations in that year, the date was a focus – remember when we thought that the Y2K bug would cease all electronic communication, if not bring about the end of the world? So the title for the conference was Challenges and Opportunities: Issues for the Millennium.

Read more here >

Australia: Ageing is everyone's business: a report on isolation and loneliness among senior Victorians

Source: Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

A set of six ‘building blocks’ has been identified as the basis for an integrated approach for action to address social isolation and loneliness among older people from state and local government, funded services, community-based organisations and community members. Consequently, an integrated and coordinated approach is proposed, in partnership with a broad range of key stakeholders including local government, businesses, peak bodies and community organisations. The aim is to enhance the benefits to the state of Victoria associated with our ageing population at the same time as reducing the risks and costs associated with premature decline in individual wellbeing and capacity caused by loneliness and isolation.

Read more here >

United Kingdom: What do we know about the nutritional status of the very old? Insights from three cohorts of advanced age from the UK and New Zealand

Source: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Very old people (referred to as those aged 85 years and over) are the fastest growing age segment of many Western societies owing to the steady rise of life expectancy and decrease in later life mortality. In the UK, there are now more than 1·5 million very old people (2·5 % of total population) and the number is projected to rise to 3·3 million or 5 % over the next 20 years. Reduced mobility and independence, financial constraints, higher rates of hospitalisation, chronic diseases and disabilities, changes in body composition, taste perception, digestion and absorption of food all potentially influence either nutrient intake or needs at this stage of life. 

Read more here >

World Congress of Public Health - Call for Abstracts

As a key WCPH2017 partner, the Public Health Association of New Zealand would like to encourage public health workers and leaders everywhere in the Asia-Pacific region to engage with this World Congress – to submit an abstract and to attend if they can.

The call for abstracts is now open and closes 26 August, so you still have plenty of time to put an abstract together and to plan for your attendance in April next year.

For more information click here >

United Kingdom: Housing disrepair & health impact in later life

Source: Care & Repair England

This report sets out the national picture with regard to the scale of poor housing conditions amongst older people, the resulting impact on the health and wellbeing of an ageing population, and the concentration of poor housing in the owner occupied sector. It quantifies the scale of action necessary to address housing disrepair amongst older households, identifying the benefits of targeted use of public funds for those in greatest need.

Read more here >

United Kingdom: City’s £6m loneliness project celebrates a year of connecting people

Source: Yorkshire Post

A £6m lottery-funded project to bring lonely or isolated older people in Yorkshire’s biggest city “out of the shadows” has celebrated a year of success.

Leeds’s Time to Shine project was awarded the funding in September 2014 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Ageing Better programme, which handed out £78m nationally for schemes tackling social isolation in older people - including a further £6m to a similar project in Sheffield.

Read more here >

For more information on Time to Shine click here >

United Kingdom: Interventions to promote or maintain physical activity during and after the transition to retirement: an evidence synthesis

Source: Public Health Research

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. Interventions that may change or preserve activity levels around the time of retirement have the potential to provide benefits in terms of increased health and well-being for people in later life. Research has highlighted health inequalities in health statuses in the retired population and in response to interventions.

Read more here >

China: Beijing tracks the elderly 

Source: NZ Herald

These days, when people over 80 in Beijing take a bus, see a doctor or spend money, their activities are digitally tracked by the government, as part of an effort to improve services for the country's rapidly growing elderly population.

The data amassed with each swipe of the multi-purpose "Beijing Connect" old person's card goes into a massive database of the elderly in the capital. City authorities hope the information will enable them to better cope with their burgeoning population of over-60s, which already stands at 3 million.

Read more here >

New Zealand Newsletters of Interest

Age Concern - Seniority Magazine

Winter 2016

Click here to view >

Events: Workshops, Webinars and Conferences

New Zealand Conferences



Early Bird Rates apply until 18th July 2016
Click here to Register Now

More Details
See the Conference Website for more details including the Conference programme detailing the fabulous line up of speakers, presenters, workshops etc...

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 >

2016 HCHA Conference

28-29 September 2016
Te Papa, Wellington

Registrations open 7 July, with the early bird opportunity closing on 18 August.  Mark these dates in your calendar.

Find out more here >

Call for Abstracts:
We invite abstracts on the above, or on any other topic that you think may be of interest.  Attendees include service providers, health and disability funding and planning, needs assessment agencies, relevant community, primary, secondary and specialist services, and providers of technology, training and other organisational supports.

Download Abstract Submission Form here >

Alzheimers New Zealand 2016 Conference

3-5 November 2016
TSB Bank Arena and Convention Centre

Top flight speakers from New Zealand and overseas will share the latest research, evidence, learnings and insights, and discuss how we can address this challenge.

With real life case studies, and an emphasis on what works, this conference has practical relevance to the real world of people affected by dementia, policy makers, service providers, health and care professionals, researchers and NGOs.

Find out more here >
International Conferences

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

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 >

IOF 6th Asia Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting

4-6 November 2016

The International Osteoporosis Foundation and the Endocrine and Metabolic Society of Singapore (EMSS) look forward to welcoming you to Singapore for the IOF Regionals 6th Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting taking place at the Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre (Suntec) from November 4-6, 2016.

Download Programme

Find out more here >

IV World Congress on Geriatrics & Gerontology - International Conference on Healthy Ageing in Changing World

23-25 November 2016
Indian Institute of Science, India

The International Congress, which is held every year, is an opportunity for many well-known gerontologists, geriatrics scholars, policy decision-makers, professional activists, related companies, and researchers to get together and share recent discoveries and study results.

Find out more here >

15th World Congress on Public Health (WCPH2017)

3-7 April 2017
Melbourne, Australia

As a key WCPH2017 partner, the Public Health Association of New Zealand would like to encourage public health workers and leaders everywhere in the Asia-Pacific region to engage with this World Congress – to submit an abstract and to attend if they can.

The Congress serves as an international forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences on key public health issues, contributing towards protecting and promoting public health at a national and global level.

Read more here >

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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