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News and Reports

Reconnecting Aotearoa

Loneliness is a major public health challenge that must be addressed. That is the central message of a new book, edited by the former director and deputy director of Mahi a Rongo | The Helen Clark Foundation, Kathy Errington and Holly Walker.

The book, Reconnecting Aotearoa, is a new collection of essays on loneliness published by Bridget Williams Books, that builds on research from Mahi a Rongo | The Helen Clark Foundation, as part of the BWB Texts series.

Copies of the book are available at the link below or at your favourite book store.

https://www.bwb.co.nz/books/reconnecting-aotearoa

You can read our report into loneliness, Alone Together, here. Our follow-up report, Still Alone Together, is available here.

Action Needed Now To Prioritise Aotearoa’s Older People

Swift action must be taken in order to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand can fully appreciate and support our ageing population now and in the coming decades, a new report has found. Read the full story

Te Kōrero mō Ngā Kaumatuā – Exploring the context of older people in Aotearoa New Zealand

created by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS), is an easy-to-read guide outlining the eco-system of services, legislation, research and support available for older people in this country.

AGEING IN AOTEAROA

The New Zealand Health Work and Retirement Study – Health and Ageing Research Team (HART) Massey University

The New Zealand Health Work and Retirement (NZHWR) study of ageing began in 2006. It was the first of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand and remains the longest ongoing cohort of ageing research in the country. Every two years, the NZHWR study surveys thousands of New Zealanders aged 55 years and older to examine their experiences of health and wellbeing in consideration of their social, economic, and physical environments.

This book was published in 2023 – view on online

VALUING AGE: The economic contribution of older New Zealanders

New Zealand has an ageing population. New Zealanders are living longer, healthier and more active lives. The ageing of our population is often portrayed in terms of increased costs; including costs of health care, residential care and New Zealand Superannuation.

The positive contribution that is made by older people to our public, families, employment, volunteering and community, deserves much wider recognition and respect.

Older people work, volunteer, provide care and participate widely in community and family life. Many families, communities and organisations depend on older people for their skills, knowledge and experience; older people provide care and support to thousands of others who benefit from their assistance. With one of the highest rates of over 65’s workforce participation, older New Zealanders are significant economic contributors through taxation, spending and saving. Older people form an important, growing market for the providers of goods and services.

Every aspect of New Zealand life is greatly enriched by the active involvement of those over 65. This valuing age infographic draws on existing research, including ‘The Business of Ageing’ and shows the positive economic impact and contribution made by older New Zealanders.

World Health Organisation – Ageing & Health

Key Facts

  • Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%.
  • By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years.
  • In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low and middle income countries.
  • The pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past.
  • All countries face major challenges to ensure that their health and social systems are ready to make the most of this demographic shift.

To read more

What to do when you suspect elder abuse? Trust your gut!

Age Concern New Zealand (ACNZ) Media Release – 8 June 2022

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is marked on 15 June each year. Unfortunately, elder abuse is prevalent in New Zealand but often not reported.

But we can all play our part in speaking up, so older Kiwis can be free from the fear, mental anguish, emotional pain, and distress the elder abuse causes.

The impact of elder abuse is profound for older people, but also avoidable if they get help and intervention services early.

“Trust your gut and get in touch with us,” says Karen Billings-Jensen, Chief Executive at Age Concern New Zealand.

“Talking to someone early on is a game-changer. If we all acted on the inkling we have, when something seems a bit off, older people’s lives and dignity would be saved,” she says.

Click here to read the full media release.

Living with Covid in the Community

Age Concern Wellington Region 2022 Survey of Seniors

Since the reporting of New Zealand’s first Covid-19 case on February 28, 2020, Covid-19 has forced New Zealanders to change the way they live. For many seniors, this disruption to normal life has been exhausting and stressful.

When the Omicron wave began to impact New Zealand in early 2022, we heard stories of many seniors staying home and isolating. We also heard of some seniors still keen to get out and about. We wanted to discover more about what was happening for seniors as large numbers of the population began to be impacted by Omicron. This survey represents a snapshot of the wellbeing of seniors in early March 2022.

https://www.acwellington.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-Seniors-Survey-Living-With-Covid-in-the-Community.pdf

Affordable Housing for Generations: Building better Homes Towns & Cities – National Science Challenge Research

Bulletin: Ageing in Place as an Older Tenant: independence and uncertainty

B. James (Public Policy & Research)

Homeownership has been falling since the 1980s. The proportion of people living in an
owned home fell by 26.2 percent over the years 1986-2013, from 75.2 percent to 49
percent. In 2013, 19 percent of people aged 65 years and older, and just over 20 percent of
those aged 55-64 years lived in rental housing (James et al., 2020).

We asked 108 older tenants about their experiences of ‘ageing in place’ in rentals in five
areas: Waiheke Island, Marlborough District, Western Bay of Plenty District, Tauranga City
and the Hawkes Bay.

Key themes emerging from the research were: the loss of homeownership; tenure insecurity
and homelessness; unaffordable rents; and poor dwelling condition. All these affect seniors’
ability to age safely and securely in their homes and communities.

World Health Organisation

Social isolation and loneliness among older people: advocacy brief | World Health Organisation

This advocacy brief on social isolation and loneliness among older people highlights the growing public health and policy concern about these issues, which have been made more salient by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The brief summarizes the scale, impact, and harms of social isolation and loneliness among older people, and outlines what can be done to reduce them. This brief also describes several policy windows that offer opportunities for addressing social isolation and loneliness among older people and proposes a three-point global strategy for tackling these issues.

Click here to read more:

ATTITUDES TOWARDS AGEING

Research commissioned by the Office for Seniors

New Zealanders’ attitudes to ageing and older people have a major influence on our efforts to face the challenges and embrace the opportunities of our ageing population.

For this report, the Office for Seniors commissioned Nielsen Ltd to undertake research to understand New Zealanders’ attitudes towards older people and to ageing. Until now, no all-ages research has been undertaken on this topic in New Zealand.

Overall, the report shows New Zealanders have high levels of respect for seniors and acknowledge the value of their contribution to society. These findings complement a forecasted rapid growth in the economic contribution of seniors as consumers, workers, volunteers, and taxpayers as highlighted by the Office for Seniors in 2015.

But there is room for improvement. A number of older people in the research report feeling lonely, socially isolated, and/or invisible. In addition, our reported actions and behaviours point towards areas for improvement in our businesses, workplaces, communities, and homes. With an almost doubling of the ageing population in the next 20 years, it is essential seniors are connected to their communities, feel valued and respected, and are able to contribute to society.