We’ve just spent two days in Wellington at the annual Ageing Well conference, hosted in the beautiful Te Wharewaka on Wellington waterfront. Te Arai have several projects funded under this NZ government (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) initiative to increase the evidence base of what it means to age well in Aotearoa, NZ. Michal and I were invited to present our research in the morning and Ofa led a ‘speed dating’ session on her Pacific family caregiving study. (On Ofa’s behalf I should clarify this was to identify research partners rather than an academic form of Tinder).
Michal’s presentation on the ELDER study was really well received. There was lots of interest in her findings about quality of dying in residential aged care and people were reassured that NZ does well compared to other countries internationally. She wove her personal experience of being a clinician – and caring for older parents – into the huge amount of data ELDER generated. There’s a Twitter thread on her presentation if you are interested.
I presented Elderbirdsong – again to really positive feedback. And it was also very interesting to see how our findings complemented other projects being funded by Ageing Well, including Sally Keeling and Hamish Jamieson’s work using interRAI to explore loneliness across NZ – they found loneliness was one of four predictors of entry into aged care for older New Zealanders. Also Charles Waldegrave and Catherine Love presented new work on Māori experience of loneliness. They highlighted the importance of using culturally specific measures of loneliness for Māori and the need for interventions to be culturally tailored and include attention to wairua (spirituality) and the social determinants of loneliness such as housing.
There’s some amazing work coming out of the partnership between the University of Waikato (including John Oetzel and Mary Simpson) and Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust (whose CEO is the amazing Rangimahora Reddy and whose work – which puts kaumātua (Māori elders) at the centre of everything they do – is very inspiring). Their Kaumātua Mana Motuhake project developed and tested a tuakana-teina/peer educator model for kaumātua with very positive results. It was great to hear they had received more funding to spread the project across NZ.
We will have some exciting news to announce in this space soon too about future projects building on this work….we will let you know as soon as we can!