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Taking a closer look at the hard questions about an older NZ

26 March 2012

Taking a closer look at the hard questions about an older New Zealand

The 2012 Services for Older People conference taking place in Wellington this week (Thursday and Friday, 29-30 March) will bring together a gathering of national and international experts on ageing issues.

The conference theme is “Moving Forward Together, Nuku Tahi - Hikoi Tahi - Maranga Tahi”.

“As every year passes the pressure on finding answers to the hard questions associated with an ageing population will only grow bigger and bigger. That’s why it is so important to frame what the issues are so we can have a closer look at them and move forward together,” says Paul Barber of the NZ Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS).

“We are fortunate that the level of inquiry and expertise in New Zealand on ageing issues is so high, as will be seen this week. The standard of international speakers who are coming to this conference will be a real boost to lifting that growing knowledge base and will inject some new ideas in areas such as models of aged care emerging in the USA and the use of humour therapy in Australia for older people with dementia”.

Presenters at the conference include Charles Waldegrave, a lead member of a research team who have been tracking a group of older New Zealanders under the NZ Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NZLSA), and Dr Richard Egan, of Otago University, will talk about beneficial ways that spirituality can be woven into services for older people.

There is a strong focus on issues specific to meeting the needs of Maori kaumatua and kuia. Professor Chris Cunningham will talk about drivers of wellbeing for older Māori. Māori service leaders Alayna Watene and Rangimahora Reddy will share their stories of successful projects and Dr Catherine Love will talk more about the Wellington Tenths Trust and its work with and for kaumatua.

The Minister for Senior Citizens and Associate Minister of Health, Hon Jo Goodhew, will address the conference on Friday afternoon.

The conference is being held at Te Raukara – Te Wharewaka o Poneke on the Wellington waterfront.

NZCCSS is the national umbrella organisation for the churches’ social service agencies. NZCCSS supporting members are the Anglican Care network, Baptist Churches of New Zealand, Catholic Social Services, Presbyterian Support Services and the Methodist and Salvation Army churches. Under its “Valuing Older People” programme NZCCSS provides a hub for information and resources that cover the following strands: Social services and Older People; Care and Support in the Community; Poverty and Older People; Housing; Workforce; Dementia and Alzheimers; Spirituality and Ageing; and Research on Ageing. For further background see: www.nzccss.org.nz


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