Please add NZAG to your safe senders list
ISSN 2463-5367

Gerontology Matters
March 2016

In this issue:

A Message from the President

I have had several conversations with colleagues recently who have asked me to explain to them what the Ageing Well National Science Challenge is all about. I thought that it would be a useful topic for me to overview for Gerontology Matters. I am co-writing this column with Debra Waters, the Vice President of NZAG who is also on the management directorate for the Ageing Well National Science Challenge. Some of you will already know this information so apologies if it is redundant.
Ageing Well is one of eleven National Science Challenges. Three of which are related to health. The mission for Ageing Well, is to “add life to years in the latter years” with a goal of the three health challenges being to enable people across the life-course to reach their full potential.

There are five research strands associated with Ageing Well challenge:
  • Enabling independence and autonomy / tino rangatiratanga for whānau and families
  • Reducing disability
  • Ensuring a meaningful life through social integration and engagement
  • Recognising contributions of knowledge and experience of older people
  • Developing age-friendly environments
Outcomes from the Ageing Well National Science Challenge are already having a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of older people in New Zealand. These include input into the consultation rounds associated with the update of the Ministry of Health: Health of Older People’s Strategy, which is all about supporting the health and wellbeing of older New Zealanders, prompting local bodies across New Zealand to recognise and incorporate into planning documents the importance of liveable communities, as well as the development of affordable housing strategies and promoting ageing in place.
The overview we have provided can be further investigated by visiting for more information. This website also highlights the key areas of research currently being undertaken and future ageing related events. The Ageing Well National Science Challenge promises much for older people living in New Zealand. Both of us welcome any dialogue related to this Science Challenge in coming issues of Gerontology Matters.

Stephen Neville

NZAG Wellington Members Catch Up


NZAG Wellington members catch up with Auckland-based Life Member Dr Margaret Guthrie (third from the left) over lunch on a beautiful summer's day.

Information relevant to NZAG members

New Zealand: Saying "No" to Elder Abuse

Source: Super Seniors

Older people can experience abuse ranging from superannuation being siphoned off by family members to bank accounts being emptied by 'friends' to being physically hit or threatened.

A recent Office of Seniors report found abuse, which is linked to vulnerability, pressure and coercion, has also been experienced by one
in 10 older New Zealanders.

Read more here >

Entries Open for the Ryman Prize

NZ$250,000 prize for improving quality of life for older people on offer

The search is on for the best work around the globe that has enhanced quality of life for older people.

Launched last year, the NZ$250,000 Ryman Prize is one of the world’s richest prizes and is the only award of its kind which is targeted at the health of older people.

The prize winner is selected by an international jury and entry is open to the brightest and best thinkers, scientists, clinicians or inventors anywhere in the world.

The prize will go to the best discovery, invention, medical advance, idea or initiative anywhere on earth that enhances quality of life for older people.

Entry for the 2016 Ryman Prize are now open at

Entries close at midnight on Friday, April 28 2016.

New Zealand: Does Vibration Training Reduce the Fall Risk Profile of Frail Older People Admitted to a Rehabilitation Facility? A Randomised Controlled Trial

Source: Disability and Rehabilitation

A serious concern, particularly in developed countries, is that an increase in the older population will undermine the sustainability of the public healthcare system. This is supported by data showing that per capita health expenditures is five times higher for people older than 75 years of age than for those aged 25–34 years. One reason for high medical treatment costs among older people is an increased prevalence of falls (defined as an unexpected event in which the participants come to rest on the ground, floor, or lower level and fall-related injuries). Intrinsic fall risk factors, impaired postural control under single (e.g. walking/standing) and particularly multitask conditions (e.g. walking/standing while talking), and deficits in maximal and particularly explosive force production of lower extremity muscles, have most frequently been reported to increase the risk of falling among older people.

Read more here >

Focus on Falls: Toolkit for Clinicians

Focus on Falls is a quarterly publication for everyone interested in understanding and preventing falls in older people. Reducing harm from falls is the name and the broad aim of the programme.

In this issue:
  • Looking through another lens at Whanganui District Heath Board
  • Addressing the challenges of an aging population
  • Reducing falls risk through medicine review: An improvement in Hawke's Bay
  • Archie and Joy - flying the flag for being bold, not old
  • Evidence based publications and resources
For everything you need in falls prevention click here >

New Zealand Opinion: Prime Ministerial Taskforce on Positive Ageing 1996-7

Judith Davey Blog Post February 2016

In April 1996, under the Prime Ministership of Jim Bolger, the Prime Ministerial Task Force on Positive Ageing was set up 1. It was chaired by Sir Ross Jansen who had a distinguished career in local government and the health sector. The other members were David Richmond (Professor of Geriatric Medicine), David Harrison (from the insurance industry), Sue Suckling (management experience in the private and public sectors) and Alan Nixon (ex-officio from the Department of Social Welfare). There was thus a variety of experience in the group.

The objective was to develop public consensus on:

the environment that is necessary to ensure that people move through their lives towards a healthy, independent, safe, secure and dignified old age, in which they are able to participate in and contribute to society to the extent of their abilities and wishes, and enjoy the respect and support of their families and communities.

This is the type of vision which could easily appear in policy statements today – it rings all the same bells. A very similar statement appears on the first page of the 2014 Report on the Positive Ageing Strategy.

Read more here >

Oral Health Study, University of Otago, Wellington

I am conducting a study investigating the feasibility and acceptability of providing oral health care services for older people living in nursing homes receiving nursing level, hospital level and psychogeriatric/dementia level care. 

I would like to interview members of the aged-care sector, such as facility managers and administrators, members of non-governmental organisations and aged-care associations, for their views on providing on-site oral health care services for dependent older people.   

If you would like to participate in the study or find out more about it, please contact:

Dr. Moira Smith
Research Fellow
Dept. of Public Health, University of Otago, Wgtn.
021 476 099
This study has been granted ethical approval by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (D16/009).

United Kingdom: Can Yoga Create Calm in People with Dementia?

Source: Alzheimer Scotland

This practitioner research project aims to examine whether yoga can help bring about calm in people with dementia. Over the last decade, there has been an upsurge of interest in the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Yoga is a mind-body ‘science’, based on stretching and strengthening movements (asanas). It also pays particular emphasis on good breathing practice, as well as on specific breathing ‘exercises’, known as ‘pranayama’. The combination of breathing and movement, especially when co-ordinated, leads to feelings of well-being, both physically and mentally. Existing research has predominantly focused on how yoga can improve physical mobility for people with dementia; the emotional experience for the individual would seem to be relatively unexplored.

Read more here >

United Kingdom: Resilience and Wellbeing in People Living with Dementia in Relation to Perceived Attitudes in their Communities

Source: Alzheimer Scotland

Pressures on service provision for people with dementia are increasing. There is a growing focus not only on service delivery, but also on what services should look like from the point of view of the person being supported (Wilkinson and Weaks 2008). A considerable amount of care and support is provided informally by unpaid carers and community resources (Alzheimer Scotland 2010). There is increasing recognition of the need to nurture and use these natural supports which include: the assets that people with dementia and carers bring and the support provided within communities (Alzheimer Scotland 2010).

It has been long established that people with dementia are at risk of becoming socially isolated and disconnected from their local communities (Scotland's National Dementia Strategy 2013-2016, Snyder 2001). Following consultation with over 24 people with dementia and others, it was reported that perceived attitudes contributed more than environmental factors, to a community being considered dementia friendly (Milton 2012). Reactions from others on learning of an individual’s dementia diagnosis can have a significant impact on the person with dementia’s sense of self (Langdon et al 2007).

Read more here >

United Kingdom: The Risk of Overweight/Obesity in Mid-Life and Late Life for the Development of Dementia - A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies

Source: Age and Ageing

The increase in the number of older adults is a major healthcare challenge for the 21st century. Given this demographic ageing in society and the high correlation with age, dementia will become an increasing global public health issue with an ever-increasing impact on health and social care resources. Currently, in the UK, dementia affects over 830,000 people with 23 million having a close friend or family member with dementia.

Epidemiological studies addressing the risk of overweight/obesity and dementia have reported equivocal results, particularly when the risk is considered with regard to the age at which the presence of overweight/obese is assessed. Studies have suggested that obesity in mid-life is related to a greater risk of subsequent dementia, although in older adults this has not always been observed. 

Read more here >

United Kingdom: Help Them Home - The Challenges Facing Families of Older Patients

Source: Royal Voluntary Service

The health and social care system in Britain is under severe pressure. For example, in England the latest data on delayed discharges shows that in September 2015, there were over 147,000 days of delay when patients who were clinically fit could have left hospital, over 30% higher than five years previously.

We know from our previous report, Going Home Alone, that hospitals and the wider system are also under pressure to discharge prematurely, and this is associated with a five-fold risk of readmission within three months, compared to those who judged they were discharged appropriately.

Going Home Alone identified that the majority of patients did have some form of support at home from friends and family, professional carers and volunteers, and many were living with a partner or spouse at the time of readmission. However, it did not get under the skin of this support, how family, spouses and carers were coping, or their views on the support received and required for their loved ones on discharge. Examining this part of the process is critical if we are to improve outcomes and prevent the vicious cycle of readmission with all the human and health and care system costs that entails

Read more here >

United Kingdom: Dementia in the Family - The Impact on Carers

Source: Alzheimers Research UK

In order to highlight the impact of dementia and the importance of investing in research to defeat the condition, we commissioned Opinion Leader to spend time with family carers to understand how caring for a loved one affects them.

We want to understand the experiences of people caring full-time for someone with dementia and examine the relationship between a person with dementia and their carer.

This report highlights the challenges and the hardships, but also the rewards and the touching moments. The research shines a light on the reality of living with dementia, both for the person with the condition and those who often sacrifice personal well-being to ensure their loved one gets the best care they can provide.

Read more here >

United States: Effect of Structured Physical Activity on Prevention of Serious Fall Injuries in Adults Aged 70-89: Randomized Clinical Trial (LIFE Study)

Source: British Medical Journal

Each year, 30% of community living older people fall, and 20-30% of those who fall experience moderate to severe injuries. Among those aged 70 and older, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries. In 2010, 2.3 million non-fatal fall injuries were treated in US emergency departments, and more than 662 000 of these patients were admitted to the hospital. Falls among older people cost $28.2b (£19.5b; €26b) each year in the USA, and most of this cost is incurred by injurious falls leading to hospital admission. Fall injuries are independently associated with subsequent disability in important activities, such as bathing and shopping, and with increased risk of long term admissions to nursing homes.

Despite the cost and morbidity associated with serious fall injuries, data on prevention of these events are lacking from randomized trials. Several exercise based interventions have shown a reduction in falls, but none had sufficient statistical power to show a reduction in serious fall injuries.

Read more here >

United States: Meeting the Dietary Needs of Older Adults - Workshop in Brief

Source: National Academics Press

On October 28–29, 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Food and Nutrition Board convened a workshop in Washington, DC, to examine factors in the physical, social, and cultural environment that affect the ability of older adults to meet their daily dietary needs. The workshop built on two previous Institute of Medicine (IOM) workshop summaries, Providing Healthy and Safe Foods as We Age (IOM, 2010) and Nutrition and Healthy Aging in the Community (IOM, 2012).

Read more here >

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 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.

Canada: An Evidence Informed National Seniors Strategy for Canada

Source: National Seniors Strategy Canada

Given that the life expectancy of Canadians has almost doubled over the last century, our coming of age should be recognized as triumph rather than a disease. Older Canadians are now the fastest growing segment of our population with their numbers expected to double over the next two decades so that by then, one in four Canadians will be older than 65 years of age. This unprecedented demographic shift will present both challenges and opportunities. Meeting the growing and evolving needs of our ageing population will require concerted coordination and effort between municipalities, provinces, with the federal government playing a key leadership role on this issue of significant national importance. 

Read more here >

Europe: Physical Activity and Neurocognitive Functioning in Aging - A Condensed Updated Review

Source: European Review of Aging and Physical Activity

This condensed review gives an overview about two methodological approaches to study the impact of physical activity on cognition in elderly, namely cross-sectional studies and randomized controlled intervention studies with pre- and post-measures. Moreover, this review includes studies investigating different types of physical activity and their relation to cognitive functions in older age. Behavioral data are considered but the main focus lies on neuroscientific methods like event-related potentials (ERPs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Read more here >

Germany: Update on the FORTA List - A Validated Tool to Improve Drug Treatment in Older People

Source: University of Heidlberg

The FORTA (Fit fOR The Aged) List, the first drug classification combining positive and negative labelling of drugs used to treat older people, has just been updated. FORTA does not only cover drugs which are inappropriate for older people (similar to negative lists, e.g. Beers) but also promotes medications with proven benefits. The updated tool for improving the often complex medications of older people is based on evidence and expert knowledge and is now accessible for everyone at no cost here
In a newly published clinical trial using the FORTA approach significantly improved the quality of medications for older people. Patients whose medications were evaluated and adjusted according to FORTA had significantly lower rates of adverse drug reactions and their clinical conditions ameliorated. Moreover, the use of inappropriate medications could be reduced and the prescription of necessary drugs increased. This approach is supposed to help physicians, e.g. GPs (average contact time per patient is about 8 minutes in Germany), to swiftly review the medications of their patients and choose the appropriate drugs. 

Authored by Farhad Pazan & Martin Wehling 
For any inquiries, please contact us: 
Christine Schummer 
Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg 
Faculty of Medicine Mannheim 
Clinical Pharmacology Mannheim 
Director: Prof. Dr. Martin Wehling 
Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
Maybachstraße 14 
68169 Mannheim, Germany 
Phone: +49 (0)621 3839631 
Fax:  +49 (0)621 3839632 

Events: Workshops, Webinars and Conferences


Call for Abstracts Open
Click here for instructions and a list of themes for 2016

Breaking Conference News
We are delighted to announce we have confirmed Dr Kathleen Brasher as a Keynote Speaker!
Kathleen is a researcher and social innovator who works to inspire a new vision of later life. She is a foundation member of the Strategic Advisory Group for the WHO Global Age Friendly Cities and Communities Network. As a researcher at the University of Melbourne, Kathleen undertook the original research contributing to the development of the WHO Global Age-friendly Cities Guide, later working with older people leading the development and implementation of COTA Victoria’s Age Friendly Victoria initiative.
Kathleen provides advice to state and local governments, businesses and other organisations across Australia and internationally on the creation of age-friendly environments.  With a long involvement in the health and community sectors as clinician, academic and in policy-making Kathleen brings to her work a deep understanding of the multiple strategies possible to bring about active ageing.
Kathleen is Chair and Director of Carrington Health, a community health service, and Director of Life Experience, a social enterprise with a mission to transform the face of ageing in Australia for the better.

More details
See the Conference Website for more details including our preliminary programme.

Auckland District Council of Social Services (ADCOSS) Forum: Towards an Age-Friendly Auckland - The Missing Links

9:30am - 3:30pm
17 March 2016

Western Springs Hall
956 Great North Road
Western Springs

For more information click here >

For catering please email your interest by 13 March 2016 to

Age Concern 2016 Conference - Ageing Well: Power of the Past, Force of the Future

30-31 March 2016
Brentwood Hotel

Age Concern is pleased to invite you to the 2016 Age Concern Conference: 'Ageing Well: Power of the Past, Force of the Future'. 

This will be a wonderful opportunity for us to collectively celebrate older New Zealanders 'Ageing Well' and will allow us to discover how the past can influence the future - of older people, of issues affecting older people, and of Age Concern. 

The 2016 Conference will be a vibrant and dynamic event, with a range of speakers, including Dr Maurice Curtis from the Centre for Brain research at the University of Auckland, who will be presenting on 'Your Mouldable Brain: How exercise, environment and brain diseases alter the brain'. Maurice is well placed to present on the brain - he is renowned for discovering that the human brain has the capacity to make new brain cells, which is a phenomenon thought not to exist in the brain. His presentation is set to be absolutely fascinating and very relevant for those of us working with older people who are experiencing cognitive decline. 

Many of you expressed that you really enjoyed the break-out workshops that were held at the 2015 Age Concern Conference 'Celebrating Age', so we are excited to announce that this year's conference will run in the same style. 

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.  
View the Programme
Register Now

New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services - Services for Older People Conference

12-13 May 2016
Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland

The conference is open for anyone working with older people in aged residential care, home support or community-based services to attend.

Find out more here >

Australian and New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine 2016 (ANZSGM) Annual Scientific Meeting

1-3 June 2016
Melbourne Convention Centre, Victoria

"The AGEnder Paradox" will showcase the intersection of gender issues and ageing, examining the question of how women and men age differently, and highlighting the impact these differences bring to bear on the medical care of both sexes as they age. 

Find out more here >
Register Now

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 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 AAG Conference: Re-imagining our Future - Abstract Submissions are Now Open

2-4 November 2016
National Convention Centre

Presenting at the AAG Conference is a powerful way to gain recognition for your expertise among fellow gerontology leaders, practitioners and professionals. It is the platform for discussion and sharing of ideas with your peers and colleagues.

Submissions close 18 April 2016.

Read more here >

Alzheimers New Zealand 2016 Conference - Call for Abstracts

3-5 November 2016
TSB Bank Arena and Convention Centre

Call for Abstracts for Alzheimers New Zealand's biennial conference which will also be the 19th Asia Pacific Conference of Alzheimers Disease International.

Submissions close on Tuesday 7 June 2016. 

Find out more here >

Global Disability, Ageing & Healthcare Conferences Online Guide 

See a comprehensive list of conferences on the Global Disability and Health Care Services website.

Forward to Friend

Contact NZAG

Copyright © 2016 New Zealand Association of Gerontology - Te Ropu Matauranga Kaumatuatanga o Aotearoa, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp