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Are We Starving Our Older People?

Media Release
June 2004

ARE WE STARVING OUR OLDER PEOPLE?

Are older people in this country starving will be the number one question that Dr Graham Davison will address at a workshop on Nutrition Support for Older People's being held in Wellington on the 18th June and Christchurch on the 19th.

New Zealand's ageing population risks being forgotten as the media and health professions turn their attention to the global obesity epidemic. Yet this is a population group that is growing in numbers and by all accounts will live longer and outnumber its younger tax-paying counterparts - the future funders of the health system that it will come to rely on.

"We are part of an ageing population that is living longer. We need to ensure that this population can maintain a quality of life that will permit them to age in place if we are to minimise the impact of future financial and health burdens," states Kaye Dennison, Chairperson of the NZ Nutrition Foundation's newly formed Working Group for Older People.

Formed to help improve the quality of life of older people through improved nutrition and physical activity, the group launched in November 2003 with the first of several seminars aimed at raising awareness and knowledge amongst caregivers and health professionals.

Currently it is estimated that approximately 70% of older people live on an income of less than $20,000 per year1 which means that budget constraints can limit food choices, access to supermarkets and to physical activity opportunities.

"Health is all about physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being. We need to look at all these aspects, integrate the best practices and support positive ageing strategies to allow older people to maintain their independence," says Ms Dennison

This workshop is the first of a series focused on Older People's health and will address all of these issues by bringing together a range of speakers with expertise in these areas.


References:

1. Davey JA & Gee S. Life at 85 plus:

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