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A Time For Action, A Time For All Ages

People of all ages around New Zealand will be celebrating International Day of Older Persons on Friday 1 October, with activities and events that will be promoting active and positive ageing.

Age Concern says that while 1 October is a day for celebrating the value and contributions of older people in our society, it is also an opportunity for New Zealanders to reflect on progress towards healthy ageing in this International Year of Older Persons 1999.

"The best way to ensure you are physically and mentally active and in good health in older age is to start early by making it a part of everyday living," says Claire Austin, Chief Executive of Age Concern New Zealand.

"As well as personal factors, such as healthy lifestyle, balanced diet and regular exercise, there needs to be policies that will encourage healthy active ageing.

"Such policies must create supportive social and environmental conditions, with adequate access to services. This means having enough money to live on, opportunities to stay involved, warm and secure housing, and health care when we need it," says Claire Austin.

Age Concern has been involved in developing a Regional Plan on Ageing for the Asia-Pacific region with the United Nations. This Plan calls upon governments, including New Zealand, to establish National Plans on Ageing.

Claire Austin says, "Preparation in our society for ageing must consider not only the financial implications of an ageing population but also the impact of social, educational, employment and health policies upon current and future generations".

"The fact that New Zealand does not have a National Plan on Ageing is a major shortcoming," Claire Austin says.

Age Concern sends out a call to leaders in government, non government and the private sectors, to work together to develop sustainable strategies to achieve a society for all ages.


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