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Gerontology Matters
September 2014

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology

In this issue:

A message from the President

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology’s conference “The Age of Ageing” was held in Dunedin from the 12th to 14th September. If you were not able to attend you certainly missed an excellent conference. I was particularly impressed with the quality of the speakers and range of topics presented. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank the organising committee for all of their hard work, the presenters, as well as the delegates for choosing to attend the conference. There were plenty of opportunities to network with others, whether to reconnect with existing friends and colleagues or to meet new people.

It is with sadness that I note the recent death Dr Ron Barker, a life member of NZAG. Dr Barker was a physician and the Medical Superintendent of Cornwall Hospital Auckland from 1960 to 1974. Along with Dr James Newman he was instrumental in the development of Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation (AT&R) units for older people. By 1975, as Deputy Director General of Health he persuaded the then Minister of Health, Bob Tizard, to urge Hospital Boards to appoint geriatricians and develop AT&R units in order to establish comprehensive services to maintain function and well-being of frail older people. He also became Director General of Health in the 1980s, a post he maintained until his retirement. In 1982, he led a six-person New Zealand delegation to the First World Congress on Ageing, held under the auspices of the United Nations. Dr Barker, along with a group of others, set up the New Zealand Geriatric Society for medical geriatricians as well as NZAG. Consequently, we recognise and appreciated Dr Barker’s contribution to our organisation, and to our wider communities of interest. On behalf of NZAG I send our condolences to his family.
Stephen Neville

2014 NZAG Conference Presentations

The 2014 NZAG conference was a great success. Thanks to all the attendees and presenters for sharing their information. Members of NZAG are now able to access the conference presentations, where the author gave permission, on the members-only section of our website.

View the conference presentations >

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

Information relevant to NZAG members

NZ: Aged Residential Care Nurse Entry to Practice evaluation programme report

August 2014 - Health Improvement & Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

The following report is the executive summary of a report by Sapere Research Group.

It presents the results of a comprehensive evaluation of an Aged Residential Care (ARC) Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) programme pilot commissioned by Health Workforce New Zealand and the Office of the Chief Nurse, Ministry of Health.

Seven district health boards (DHBs), 11 ARC facilities and 15 registered nurse graduates participated in the 2013 ARC NETP programme pilot which was implemented by each participating DHB.

NZ: Retiring means being old, wise and happy

September 2014 - The Daily Mail

The following was originally written by Martin Johnston for the Daily Mail. Image by Dean Purcell: Betty Somerville, aged 91, is a picture of health and happiness and says life is what you make of it.

Betty Somerville, aged 91, is a picture of health and happiness and says life is what you make of it. Photo / Dean Purcell

People become happier as they settle fully into old age, a survey suggests.

The study by the Oddfellows organisation in Britain found the proportion who were "very happy" was more than twice as high in the over-70s, compared with people in their 50s.

In New Zealand, a large survey of people in their 80s or 90s found that around 90 per cent reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their life. This was despite most participants having, on average, three health conditions, said one of the Auckland University researchers, Dr Ruth Teh.

NZ: Business boss sings praise of aged staff

September 2014 - Nelson Mail

The following was written by Sarah Dunn for the Nelson Mail.

Nelson's ageing population represents a golden opportunity for employers and marketers, says BusinessNZ's chief executive Phil O'Reilly.

O'Reilly said many mainstream companies did not overtly target older consumers, but the older generation was likely to have less debt, behave in a less risky manner and have the ability to spend more money on goods that appealed to them

These consumers displayed similar virtues in the workplace, O'Reilly said. He emphasised the importance of "soft skills" such as loyalty, stability and customer service which gave mature workers a professional edge over their younger counterparts. He said training and sensitive handling could easily address "hard" or technical skills, and mitigate stereotypically negative behaviour, such as discomfort with technology and resistance to change.

O'Reilly said keeping older people in work would become increasingly important as the population aged and younger workers were tempted overseas to work in global centres such as Singapore and Los Angeles.

NZ: Attitudes to ageing in midlife are related to health conditions and mood

August 2014 - Health Improvement & Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

The following was published by the HIIRC.

Health is an important aspect of individuals’ lives as they age. In this cross-sectional study, the authors used data on the first 300 participants from the Canterbury Health, Ageing and Life Course study to investigate the relationship of sociodemographic factors, diagnosed chronic health conditions, and current depression, with attitudes to aging in midlife.

Based on the results, the authors conclude that "physical and mental health are related to attitudes to aging. Most chronic conditions examined are significantly associated with attitudes toward aging in the physical change domain. Diagnosed lifetime depression and anxiety, and current depression, are negatively related across attitudinal domains. Individuals can feel positive about aging while experiencing poorer health, but this is more difficult in the presence of low mood".

NZ: New Zealand Nutrition Foundation (NZNF) Committee for Healthy Ageing Bulletin No 19

August 2014 - NZNF

The Committee for Healthy Ageing, a special interest group of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation, was initially established in 2004, to champion the cause for improving the quality of life of older New Zealanders, through nutrition and physical activity.

Each quarter, their bulletin updates you on issues of importance or topical interest in relation to optimal nutrition and physical activity of older people. 

In this issue the Committee looks at the nutritional issues for older people who like to challenge themselves with more major endurance events, beyond the current minimal recommendations for physical activity published last year by the Ministry of Health

NZ: Awareness and understanding of dementia in New Zealand - final report

August 2014 - Health Improvement & Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

This article is reserved for members-only.
Read it online or become a member to read it.

NZ: Sunlight linked to preventing dementia risk

August 2014 - The New Zealand Herald

The following was written by The New Zealand Herald. Image by Karen Roe.

Older people who do not get enough vitamin D face a much higher risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the largest study of its kind on the topic has found.
The findings were based on a study of 1,658 adults aged 65 and over, who were healthy and able to walk without assistance.
The participants were followed for six years. By that point, 171 participants had developed dementia and 102 had Alzheimer’s disease.

NZ: Call to address ageing population

August 2014 - Radio NZ

The following was written by Radio New Zealand News.

A retirement researcher says successive governments have ignored the future effect of an ageing population, and more research is needed to prepare for it.

Statistics New Zealand say 14 percent of the population is now aged 65 or older, up from 11 percent 20 years ago.

It's the fastest growing age bracket, increasing by an average of 2.9 percent a year between 2006 and 2013, and 3.9 percent in the June 2014 year.

The co-director of Auckland University's Retirement Policy and Research Centre, Michael Littlewood, said the figures were not surprising, and not enough was being done to prepare for an elderly population.

NZ: The Ministry of Social Development's Senior Services Newsletter

August 2014 - Ministry of Social Development

The Ministry of Social Development offers a number of services for seniors, one of which being an email newsletter. The newsletter acts as a resource for organisations working in the seniors community

The latest newsletter includes information about SuperGold card updates, information for those working and receiving the NZ Superannuation, and elder abuse prevention information, among other articles. 

NZ: The role of practice nurses in providing palliative and end-of-life care to older patients with long-term conditions

August 2014 - Health Improvement & Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

The following was written by the HIIRC.

Many people with palliative care needs will receive care from a primary care provider. However, GPs often have limited time to deal with these patients' supportive care needs, which is where primary care nurses can make a significant contribution.

In this qualitative descriptive study, linked below, the authors explore the role of practice nurses in the provision of palliative and end-of-life (EoL) care to older patients with long-term conditions in New Zealand.

Australia: Step to it - Why walking matters

September 2014 - Alzheimer's Australia
Step To It is a joint initiative between Alzheimer's Australia and the Heart Foundation to encourage physical activity. The resource guide attached below includes information about how to start walking, why it is important, and what supporting organisations are doing to encourage walking.

Walking is one of the most basic forms of movement and can be a powerful protector against illness and disease. It could even lead to a longer life - as being physically inactive can take three to five years off your life.

UK: Obese people at risk of dementia - research

August 2014 - The New Zealand Herald.
Gordon Allan says that healthy eating plays an important part in maintaining his wellbeing. Photo / Christine Cornege

The following was written by The New Zealand Herald. Image by Tony Alter.

'The risk of dementia in people who are obese in early to mid-adult life seems to be increased,' experts say.

Patients under the age of 70 who are admitted to hospital for obesity carry a higher risk of developing the condition than those who were not recorded to be obese, experts found.

A study by Oxford University, which looked at records from 1999 to 2011 of more than 450,000 people admitted to hospital with obesity, found that those between 30 and 70 years old were all more likely to go on to have dementia than non-obese people of the same age. The study was however limited, as it only followed up patients for 12 years.

UK: The Functional Fitness MOT programme

July 2014 - Later Life Training.

This article is reserved for members-only.
Read it online or become a member to read it.

UK: One chance to get it right

2014 - Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

The following was written by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

On Jan. 15, 2014, the British Columbia (B.C.) Ministry of Health and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research held a forum to examine best practices in home care services for seniors. The forum, hosted in Vancouver, brought B.C. government representatives, health authority leaders and researchers together with international experts in research and policy.

The goal of the forum was to provide an opportunity for B.C. participants to learn how other jurisdictions are addressing the shared challenge of providing sustainable home care for seniors. The following report synthesizes findings from the international forum.

USA: Hearing loss and healthy aging

2014 - The National Academies Press

This article is reserved for members-only.
Read it online or become a member to read it.

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

New Zealand Population Health Congress

06-08 October 2014 - Auckland, NZ

The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine, the Public Health Association and the Health Promotion Forum warmly welcome your registration for the inaugural New Zealand Population Health Congress being held 6-8 October 2014 at the Aotea Centre, Auckland.

The Congress will be a major event in New Zealand's population health calendar this year. It is a chance for you to learn, discuss and debate advances in population health thinking and practice in areas such as child health, housing, nutrition, indigenous health and climate change.

The overarching Congress theme is 'Connecting Communities, Science and Policy' and the programme provides multiple opportunities to achieve this goal. 

"Tailoring Options for the Fit and Frail" - The annual Retreat of the NZ division of the Australian New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine

06-08 November 2014 - Hamilton, NZ

Where: Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, Waikaton, New Zealand

Themes: Onco-geriatrics, service models and medical and nursing topics.

Main speakers: Dr Robert Prowse and Professor Sandie McCarthy

Programme: Currently being developed, but the usual pattern will be followed, i.e. Thursday afternoon, Friday morning and Saturday morning. Friday afternoon and evening is for social activities.

Dementia: the future is now

14-15 November 2014 - Rotorua, NZ
We have come a long way in the 30 years since the first Alzheimer's 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 Alzheimer's New Zealand conference "Dementia: the future is now" showcases these exciting developments and is a must attend for members of Alzheimer's NZ, people affected by dementia, health professionals, community, home based and residential providers, primary health care professionals, educators, researchers and policy makers.

Conferences - Overseas 

International Network in Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development Conference
05-10 October 2014 - Winnipeg, Canada

Shaping Our Future, National Respite and Community Care Conference 2014.
22-24 October 2014 - Sydney, Australia

3rd International Conference on Healthy Ageing in the Changing World 2014 
17-19 November 2014 - Bangalore, India

Rewinding the Aging Clock
29-30 November 2014 - Hong Kong, China
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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