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Gerontology Matters
Start of Year 2014

The New Zealand Association of Gerontology

In this issue:

President's Welcome

Firstly, Happy New Year to you all. I hope that you had a restful and enjoyable festive season. I always start a new year curious as to what it will bring. In regards to NZAG I am excited and looking forward to supporting the development of our organisation. I mentioned in the last newsletter some of the events we have planned for 2014. Please let me know if you have any further topics that you would like included in our joint webinar series with the Australian Association of Gerontology, email your suggestions to

Our first event for 2014 will be Professor Simon Biggs’ visit to New Zealand. Professor Simon Biggs is currently the Professor of Gerontology & Social Policy, School of Social & Political Sciences at Melbourne University in Australia. He will be visiting New Zealand from February 17th to 28th, and his visit has been made possible through the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to his current appointment, Simon was the Professor of Gerontology and Director at the Institute of Gerontology, King’s College in London.
Professor Biggs’ interests in gerontology include the relationship between social identity and adult ageing, international and national social policy as it relates to older people, the changing adult life-course, as well as the social and personal experience of ageing and intergenerational relationships. His research and publications are both impressive and influential within the field of social and critical gerontology. Some examples of his research projects include the World Heath Organisation’s ‘Age friendly cities’ study, the use of adaptive technology in later life and a prevalence study into elder abuse and neglect in the United Kingdom.

A programme of public lectures, round table discussions and small group consultations is being finalised and will be available to NZAG members very soon. We will keep you posted and hope you will be able to attend. Some of the topics Professor Biggs will be presenting on include Elder abuse, social ageism and human rights, Age friendly workplaces, Social aspects of dementia and Policy responses to population ageing. He will be presenting his work in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. I think you will agree that this is an opportunity not to be missed and I hope you will attend at least one of the events planned. Until next month, take care.
Stephen Neville

The International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (IAGG)

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Information relevant to NZAG members

New Zealand Association of Gerontology Conference 12-14 September 2014

Welcome and haere mai to Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South. 

The ‘Age of Ageing’ Conference of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology follows the NZAG tradition of offering stimulating and thought-provoking research and perspectives on growing older. Keynote speakers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand will offer insights into current ageing issues.  Concurrent sessions will focus on living well with multiple chronic conditions; social aspects of ageing; health promoting communities; cognitive and behavioural aspects of ageing; health promoting communities; and policy and well-being.  We will also examine age friendly environments; health promotion and literacy, improving the health care experience, and spirituality and ageing.

Dunedin's beautiful Otago peninsula is acclaimed internationally and is home to incredible wildlife including Yellow Eyed Penguins, New Zealand Sea Lions, Fur Seals and the magnificent Royal Albatross. Dunedin also has some of the best examples of heritage architecture in New Zealand. St David’s Theatre is central to the University and the city, and to the nearby Otago Museum, where the conference dinner will be held.  Not far away are the Botanic Gardens, the Toitu Settlers Museum, and Chinese Gardens. Plan to stay and visit nearby Fiordland, Southern Alps ski fields or Central Otago wine country. Come for an exciting conference and a beautiful environment.

We anticipate a stimulating, exciting conference, sharing ideas and support in our search for knowledge of the modern phenomenon of ageing, in this age of ageing populations.

Mobilising and organising for large scale change in healthcare 

‘The Right Prescription: A Call to Action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia’ 

November 2013 - NHS Improving Quality
“This report presents the findings from an 18 month exploration of the use of a mobilising and organising approach to large scale change initiated by the English National Health Service (NHS).” 

Quality of Residential Care: The Consumer Perspective 

November 2013 - Fight Dementia
“This [Australian] report looks at the action that might be taken in the short term to ensure there is zero tolerance of poor care and in the longer term to develop a more consumer oriented care system.” 

Growing older, staying well: mental health care for older Australians

November 2013 - Sane Australia

“This study finds that more support, services and education are needed to appropriately care for Australia's ageing population.”

Caring for an ageing population: points to consider from reform in Japan

November 2013 - Nuffield Trust

“This report explores how Japan has tried to meet the needs of its ever-growing older population through a new social care system, looking at points of interest for England.” 

Be fitter, healthier and happier by staying active

November 2013 - UK Department of Health

“This report sets out what is known about dementia care, support and research. It highlights where improvements are being made and where progress can be seen – it also shows where improvements are needed, including where better data is necessary.” 

2008-09 Adult Nutrition Survey findings for older Maori and Pacific people 

16 December 2013 - NZ Nutrition Foundation
The following is from the NZ Nutrition Foundation:

In issue 9 of this bulletin, we looked at the findings of the 2008-09 Adult Nutrition Survey (1), as they related to older New Zealanders, and made some comparisons with the 1997 National Nutrition Survey. In this issue, our focus is on selected nutrients specifically for older Maori and Pacific people. Separate reports presenting results for Maori and Pacific people compared with non-Maori and non-Pacific people respectively have been published, but these reports do not distinguish between age cohorts.

Because of the low number of Maori and Pacific people aged 71+ years, the 51-70 years and the 71+ years groups were aggregated to one group – 51+ years. To provide more reliable data, these population groups were over-sampled – Maori comprised 22% of the total survey population (15.3% of the 2006 census) and Pacific people 15.8% of the survey population (6.9% of the 2006 census data). The study was designed to ensure that there were approximately 30 or more people in each of the key categories analysed, and this was the case in the older cohorts reviewed in this bulletin. 

Opinion Piece: Retirement Income Policy under scrutiny

November 2013 - Judith Davey

The following is by Judith Davey, a member of the NZAG executive:
This year the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income (CFLRI), formerly the Retirement Commission, is carrying out its three-yearly review of retirement income policy. As part of this, it put out a discussion paper, “Focusing on the Future” in October and a final report (with the same title) on 12 December. The report is clear and readable, with plenty of evidence to support its recommendations. I found myself in strong agreement with many of its conclusions.

What will concern most New Zealanders, especially those over 65 or approaching that age, is the sustainability of NZ Superannuation (NZS). The CFLRI sets out suggestions for keeping NZS fair and affordable. But raising the age of eligibility does not appear explicitly in the recommendations. Instead it recommends that the proportion of life over the age of 20 in receipt of NZS should be kept at a minimum of 32%. How easily will the NZ public get their minds around that one? It implies a link to life expectancy, as is being considered in some European countries. I believe there is growing public acceptance that some change is inevitable. Is this the way to go?

Experts reveal the most effective lifestyle choice for preventing dementia

12 December 2013 - NZ Herald

The following is from the NZ Herald:
Doing regular exercise is the most effective single lifestyle choice people can make to reduce their risk of dementia, according to one of the most extensive studies yet into people's long-term health outcomes.

The 35-year investigation, carried out by researchers at Cardiff University, found that consistently following just four out of five key behaviours could reduce dementia risk by 60 per cent, while also cutting the chance of heart disease and stroke by 70 per cent.

Of the five behaviours - exercise, not smoking, having a low bodyweight, a healthy diet and low alcohol intake - exercise was found to be the most effective at improving long-term physical and mental health.

Advance care planning for Maori, Pacific and Asian people: The views of New Zealand healthcare professionals

17 December 2013 - Health Improvement and Innovation Resource Centre (HIIRC)

The following is from the HIIRC:

This qualitative study used interviews and focus groups to explore the views of generalist palliative care providers in community and hospital settings about barriers to advance care planning adoption and methods to increase knowledge about Advance Care Planning (ACP) among Maori, Pacific and Asian cultural groups in New Zealand.

$804m available for seven National Science Challenges (including ageing well)

20 December 2013 - HIIRC

The following is a NZ Government press release, via HIIRC:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced funding of up to $804 million over ten years for the second tranche of New Zealand’s National Science Challenges.

The ten National Science Challenges were announced in May, and funding for the first three Challenges was released in October. 

The remaining seven Challenges and their funding levels are:
  • Ageing Well (Kia eke kairangi ki te taikaumatuatanga) – harnessing science to sustain health and wellbeing into the later years of life (up to $34.9 million over 10 years)
  • A Better Start (E Tipu e Rea) – improving the potential of young New Zealanders to have a healthy and successful life ($34.6 million over 10 years)
  • Healthier Lives (He Oranga Hauora) – research to reduce the burden of major New Zealand health problems ($36.7 million over 10 years)
  • Science for Technological Innovation (Kia kotahi mai – Te Ao Putaiao me Te Ao Hangarau) – enhancing the capacity of New Zealand to use physical and engineering sciences for economic growth ($116.5 million over 10 years)
  • New Zealand’s Biological Heritage (Nga Koiora Tuku Iho) – protecting and managing our biodiversity, improving our biosecurity, and enhancing our resilience to harmful organisms ($207.1 million over 10 years)
  • Our Land and Water (Toitu te Whenua, Toiora te Wai) – research to enhance primary sector production and productivity while maintaining our land and water quality for future generations ($227.3 million over 10 years)
  • Sustainable Seas (Te Tini a Tangaroa me Nga Moana Whakaumu) – understanding how we can utilise our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints ($146.5 million over 10 years).

From the US: The Potential of Technology to Transform Elder Care

13 January 2014 - Chicago Now

The following is from Chicago Now:

Watch this interesting session from the recent Silvers Summit where Halle Tecco, Founder and CEO of RockHealth (a startup funding source for healthcare entrepreneurs) and Rick Valencia, VP and GM at Qualcomm, talk about the power of technology to transform the elder care space.

I find it surprising when technology folks fail to distinguish between frail and healthy older adults and how informal (and formal) supports interact with these two different populations. Simply noting that 10,000 baby boomers become age 65 every day merely communicates the size of the market, but not where the opportunities are to transform how aging is addressed. What happens at the inflection point when an older adult crosses the boundary between independent and requiring assistance/monitoring is more salient. Sadly, this nuance is often overlooked and so the market is overwhelmed with solutions looking for problems with no deep understanding of how elders and those who care for them access support.

From the US: The future of elder care?

19 January 2014 - The Boston Globe

The following is from The Boston Globe:

It’s not much to look at: a squat, blond-brick building on a narrow Hyde Park street. But, until recently, Park Place was a jewel – the kind of nursing home to which staff would gladly send their own parents.

It wasn’t fancy, but it was small and homey, owned and run by the Sheehan family, which had eight nursing homes around the state. Longtime staffers knew their patients, most of modest means. Administrators listened.

“My mother can’t speak for herself,” said Polly Walker, whose mother Cecile, 90, has Alzheimer’s. “She needs total care, and individual attention, and they’ve been wonderful.”

But in December 2012, the Sheehans sold Park Place and three other nursing homes to a California-based real estate investment trust, which in turn leased the properties to a recently formed Seattle operator called Videll Healthcare LLC.

Conferences - New Zealand

Annual Elder Law for the Health Sector Conference & Managing the Deteriorating Patient Symposium

February 2014 - Auckland, NZ

This conference will focus on addressing the ethical and legal challenges within aged care and analysing the strategies needed to improve the continuum of care for patients at risk. 
So far there is a strong agenda with speakers from: 
Clinical Update NZ, Gillespie Young Watson,Buddle Findlay, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Buchanan Gray, Gaze Burt, Waitemata DHB, University of Otago, University of Auckland, Blackstone Chambers, Claro Law, Christchurch Hospital, Office of the Health & Disability Commissioner, Bay of Plenty DHB, Totara Hospice, Wellington Hospital, Auckland City Hospital, True Colours Children’s Health Trust, Arohanui Hospice, Mercy Hospice Auckland,

NZAG members are eligible for a 10% discount for this event, watch this space for registration details.

Dementia: the future is now

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

Conferences - Overseas

Global Disability, Ageing & Healthcare Conferences Online Guide 

See a more comprehensive listing of conferences at our web site 
For more information click here.
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