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Gerontology Matters
March 2015

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology

In this issue:

A message from the President

Social media are internet technologies that allow individuals and organisations to interact with each other. Examples of social media technologies include Facebook, Twitter, blogs and instant messaging and require users to have access to an electronic device that will connect to the internet, the most common of which are computers and mobile phones. In recent times the use of social media has significantly increased whether for personal or professional use. Increases in the use of social media have been identified in all age groups with organisations like Age Concern offering short courses to older people on how to use the internet.
As social media technologies have evolved, individuals and organisations interested in the wellbeing of older people have formed social networking communities. Both Age Concern New Zealand and The Australian Association of Gerontology use Facebook and Twitter to promote their organisations, advertise upcoming events and provide information about the key issues impacting on older people. As an academic and researcher in gerontology I, along with others, also use Facebook and Twitter to disseminate information related to gerontology.
Over the next couple of months NZAG will be entering the social media space through the use of Facebook and Twitter. In our strategic plan we outline NZAG’s vision and a set objectives that relates to how we intend to turn our vision into reality. Those specific objectives that we can meet through utilising social media include:
  • Promoting and disseminating quality gerontological research.
  • To stimulate public interest and promote action in all matters related to improving the quality of life and wellbeing of older people.
  • Liaising with other organisations with similar interests.
NZAG has already set up Facebook and Twitter accounts but at this stage both are inactive until we finalise a set of guidelines for using these social media technologies. We will be using Facebook to promote NZAG, advertise key events, share interesting and appropriate media including videos and photographs, as well as linking our Facebook “friends” to interesting scholarly articles and research that is being undertaken. Twitter is different to Facebook although it has similar functions. The difference is that you must deliver your message in a maximum of 140 characters. People “follow” you and are able to “like” your posting and/or retweet it on to others. Have a look at my Twitter and Facebook pages and think about following me on Twitter @Stephen_Neville or by liking my Facebook page.
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: Ageist Behaviour and Health Care

February 2015 - HIIRC

This paper examines national and international policies regarding attitudes of health care professionals when dealing with older people. The question is asked; is there an attitude of care and understanding or placation and dismissal and what could be the downstream health and well-being effects of such attitudes.

Click here for full paper> 

NZ: Grant Applications

The following was published by the NZ Herald - 4/3/2015

Applications are now invited for Grants in 2015 from the Oticon Foundation in New Zealand.

Funding for research and projects that aim to improve the lives of the hearing impaired in New Zealand through communication and knowledge will be considered.

Applications close 31 March 2015.

Please obtain further details from:

Oticon Foundation in New Zealand,
PO Box 9128, Te Aro, Wellington.
Phone 04 473 3330

NZ: 'Ageing Well' Science Challenge Launched

March 4 2015 - HIIRC

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce launched the Ageing Well National Science Challenge, confirming initial funding of $14.6 million.

The Ageing Well Kia eke kairangi ki te taikaumātuatanga Challenge is the fifth National Science Challenge to be launched, and involves multi-disciplinary research across a range of research organisations, Mr Joyce says.

Hosted by the University of Otago, it will bring together researchers from seven New Zealand universities and use science to sustain health and wellbeing into the later years of life. 

“The Ageing Well Challenge will help improve the lives of older people, and enhance New Zealand’s ability to cope with, and benefit from, our changing demographics,” Mr Joyce says.

The Challenge will work on science to reduce and moderate the impact of dementia, strokes, depression, impaired vision and hearing, and physical disability. It will develop new techniques and technologies that improve the ability of older people to live independent lives by researching innovations in housing, transport and care services.

“The number of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over is currently 650,000, and is projected to climb to more than 1 million in the late 2020s.  Those aged 65 years and over will then account for 20-22 percent of our population, compared with 14 percent currently,” Mr Joyce says.

“This rapid demographic change is one of New Zealand’s biggest long-term societal and financial challenges. Clever strategic ground-breaking science is needed now to start addressing this challenge.

NZ: An Online Archive of Nursing Oral Histories

The following was published at

Nursing in New Zealand has a long and illustrious history. There are many fascinating stories and experiences that have been captured over the years through a variety of projects and research completed by academics, nurses and families. The aim of this website is to capture this rich history and create a resource that nurses, students, academics and family members can access in order to gain a better understanding of nursing history in New Zealand.

NZ: Another Way to Save on Super

March 6th - Opinion Piece by Brian Fallow - NZHerald

The following is an opinion piece published by The NZ Herald. 

Is it right to pay more than the dole to wealthy superannuitants? 

The debate about how to rein in the fiscal cost of New Zealand Superannuation, in light of an ageing population, tends to focus on two of the available levers: pushing up the age of eligibility, or scrapping the indexation of super payments to the average wage, in favour of some other metric which would rise more slowly. 

But there is a third option, means testing. A version of that, founded on the notion of basic income, is advocated by Professor Susan St John of Auckland University's Retirement Policy and Research Centre in a recent paper, Improving the Affordability of New Zealand Superannuation.

Raising the age is unpopular but inevitable, given the trend of increasing longevity. 

But as people need to be given plenty of notice, and as the oldest cohorts of baby boomers are already retiring, even if the policy were adopted now - and there is scant political prospect of that - it would only nibble at the fiscal problem for years to come. 

It also raises the issue of providing a decent income for those whose occupations mean they are physically worn out by 65. 

Progressively weakening the relative value of the pension for everyone who receives it - for example, by raising it by the average of consumer price inflation and average wage growth - is also problematic. 

US: Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program Call for Applicants

Candidates who have a strong commitment to health and aging issues, leadership potential, and interest in aging-relevant policy work are invited to join the next class of Health and Aging Policy Fellows (2015-16). 

The program is aimed to create a cadre of leaders who will serve as change agents in health and aging policy to ultimately improve the health care of older adults. The year-long fellowship offers a rich and unique training and enrichment program that is focused on current policy issues, communication skills development, and professional networking opportunities to provide fellows with the experience and skills necessary to help affect policy. 

Application submission deadline: April 15th

Find out more details >
Or visit the website >

UK: Active Ageing: Realizing its Potential

March 2015- Australian Journal on Ageing

Active ageing is now established as the leading global policy strategy in response to population ageing. This pre-eminence was assured by its promotion by international governmental organisations (IGOs) such as the World Health Organisation, United Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In practice, however, the term 'active ageing' often serves merely as a convenient label for a wide range of contrasting policy discourses and initiatives concerning ageing and demographic change. A key theme of this article is that lack of clarity about precisely what active ageing entails is a serious barrier to its widespread adoption as a policy strategy. There are other barriers too and these are also examined. It is argued that the over-emphasis on productivity and the labour market in active ageing discourses has detracted from the major potential of this approach to promote much wider well-being across all age groups. Thus the article concludes with an outline of the steps necessary to realise this greater potential.

UK: A Call to Action: The Global Response to Dementia Through Policy Innovation

March 2015 - WISH Dementia Forum

The social and economic burden of dementia is clear enough today. Yet the future costs to societies and economies will be enormous without significant intervention now to change care practices and the course of disease. 

World leaders and heads of state, including World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Margaret Chan and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, are joining international organizations in calling for global effort to address dementia. 

This report follows on from these efforts from the forefront of policy, research, drug development and care with the intention of providing an overview of the global dementia landscape and to propose a way forward to an improved future, where accessible care and treatment will contribute to reducing the global burden of dementia.

Wales: Living with Dementia

February 2015

Dementia is a growing issue and concern for societies across the world. Our ageing population means that dementia will affect an increasing number of people in the coming decades. it represents one of the major health and social care challenges and therefore presents a major challenge facing Wales and the UK.

Following the G8 summit held in London that shone a global spotlight on dementia, this report looks at how, given dementia is a collection of different diseases, with different causes, the hopes of the summits 'cure for dementia' are unrealistic but it is still important to look at coping with dementia. 

The Welsh Government has supported a number of initiatives aimed at meeting the challenges associated with caring for rising numbers of people with dementia. The National Dementia Vision for Wales sets out the specifically Welsh aspects of this challenge, such as dementia's effect on rural communities and the communication needs of people whose first language is Welsh. 

Scotland: Living and Dying with Dementia

February 2015

The G8's dementia Summit, held in London in December 2013, prompted a renewed focus on dementia. In particular it highlighted the challenge faced in the UK and globally from the projected 'explosion' in dementia cases over coming decades. 

Like the Welsh report, this report also focuses on the fact that there cannot be a single cure for dementia and given the longer period of time that would be necessary to work out the "cures" it would required to counter this terminal condition, we have to instead look at coping methods.

Initiatives such as Dementia Friends have helped to strengthen this focus and the Scottish Government and its partners have made good progress in general in caring for people with dementia. 

This paper looks at how we can ensure there is a stronger focus on dementia as a terminal condition and the barriers that could prevent many people from accessing and receiving appropriate high quality care at the end of their lives:
  1. Identification and planning
  2. Inequality of access
  3. The quality of care experienced by people

AUS: Australia Dementia Research

2015 - March - The Australian
Australian scientists have made a breakthrough in the treatment for Alzheimer's disease and dementia with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that can restore memory loss.

Researchers at the University of Queensland's Brain Institute hope to trial a planned "cheap, mobile" ultrasound device for humans in two years after the technique was found to work on mice. 

The drug-free treatment uses ultrasound waves to break apart the neurotoxic amyloid plaques that cause memory loss and cognitive decline. 

It is hoped the breakthrough will help in the treatment of sufferers particularly those diagnosed early in the progress of the disease - and open up new avenues in research in both Alzheimer's and dementia. 

Research director Professor Jürgen Götz said the new method could revolutionise Alzheimer's treatment by restoring memory. 

"We're extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer's without using drug therapeutics," Professor Götz said. 

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 and Events - New Zealand

Age Concern Conference 2015

21 - 22 April

Age Concern is thrilled to invite you to the 2015 Age COncern Conference: 'Celebrating Age: Act locally, think globally'.

See the programme here for more details >
Register here >


Commission Forum a Rare Opportunity to Hear and Talk with Dr Atul Gawande

16 -18 May
The Health Quality & Safety Commission is urging people working in the aged and end of life care sectors to take full advantage of a rare opportunity to hear and talk with one of the world's leading advocates of innovative thinking about care for the elderly, terminal illness and death.

American Surgeon Dr Atul Gawande, who writes about health for the New Yorker Magazine and is the author of bestsellers such as The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, has sparked much international discussion about the subject of his latest book, Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine, and What Matters in the End. 

On Monday 18 May, Dr Gawande will be headlining a day-long forum that will focus on themes of aged and end of life care, as well as teamwork and communication in the health and disability sector, drawing on both Being Mortal and The Checklist Manifesto, along with Dr Gawande's other books.

To find out more information on the forum call (04) 913 1745 or email
For further information on Dr Gawande's Auckland Writers Festival appearances contact Penny Hartill

The forum is at the VIsa Platinum Gallery, Te Papa, Wellington, 9.30am-4.30pm, Monday 18 May. Booking is essential from here or by emailing

For Tickets to the Auckland Writers festival go to Ticketmaster.

Conferences - Overseas 


The 2015 Ageing Summit
10-12 February 2015 - London, UK

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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