The elderly population in Christchurch is growing rapidly, and with it come both opportunities and challenges. Aotearoa-New Zealand expects the number of older adults to double over the next 20 years, creating a need for social and health services to provide equitable and culturally safe care to all older New Zealanders. To meet this requirement, the community has implemented strategies to ensure public transportation and other public facilities are accessible to older people, organize events that encourage younger generations to interact with older people through community programs, and provide ways in which the wider community can support older people and those with dementia. Longitudinal and large data sets are essential for understanding the experience of aging from birth to old age.
To this end, New Zealand's research funding system has increased funding to inform and address major health and well-being issues for older people. Government strategies and policies are increasingly focusing on the social aspects of aging and health inequities, requiring researchers and organizations to be better connected to end users. It is important that New Zealand continues to fund research that identifies unique and courageous service delivery solutions that result in positive social, financial, psychological and physical aging for older New Zealanders. Age Concern is a key organization in Christchurch that connects, supports, empowers, celebrates, and respects all older people in an inclusive community.
They organize social outings, provide a range of services such as home and health services, and maintain a directory of useful information. The NZ Super is also quite flexible, allowing elderly New Zealanders to leave the country for up to six months a year, helping Pacific residents stay connected to their families and communities. Dementia New Zealand is another important organization in Christchurch that works to raise awareness, educate, and support those affected by dementia. Through their efforts, they aim to improve the quality of life for individuals with dementia as well as their caregivers, communities, and support networks.
The proposed changes to the New Zealand strategy for caregivers will make it possible to provide financial support and training to family caregivers, which will facilitate equitable and culturally appropriate care delivery. Like most Western countries, the significant increase in the proportion of elderly New Zealanders over the next 20 years will bring new opportunities and challenges to meet the needs of this population. It is essential that we continue to fund research that identifies unique and courageous service delivery solutions that result in positive social, financial, psychological and physical aging for older New Zealanders.