Healthy aging strategy

Also known as Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034

Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 is a strategy for making the future better for New Zealanders as we age.

Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 was launched on 1 November 2019 by Minister for Seniors Tracey Martin. It replaces the Positive Ageing Strategy 2001. 

Why do we need a new strategy?

This new strategy help ensures we create opportunities for everybody to take part, contribute and be valued as we age.

The number of people aged over 65 years is increasing and the trend will continue in the future. This reflects increased longevity, which is an achievement offering opportunities for all people irrespective of their age.

Many of us will continue working as we age, supporting families and whānau, passing on knowledge, volunteering and contributing to society. However, growing numbers of older people are not doing so well. Things like lifelong disability, health issues, job losses and relationship breakdown can impact how we live our later life. These factors may result in complex needs, poorer outcomes and challenges accessing services.

The Positive Ageing Strategy 2001 used a wide range of indicators that were intended to identify key issues and where action was needed. What we need now are actions supported by targeted indicators that measure progress and drive performance. 

How does this strategy fit with other related strategies?

This new strategy links to and complements other strategies, including:

What are the approach and focus of the healthy aging strategy?

The healthy aging strategy focuses on those aged over 65 years as well as the next generation of older people who are currently 50–64 years old. The previous Positive Aging Strategy 2001 only focused on those aged over 65 years. 

Some terms used in this strategy include:

  • older people – people aged over 65 years old
  • later life – the years after reaching the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation or NZ Super
  • older workers – people aged over 50 years old who are still working or seeking work.

What are the vision and guiding principles of the Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034?

The vision of this strategy is that older New Zealanders lead valued, connected and fulfilling lives”.

There are 5 guiding principles in the Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034:

  • valuing people as they age
  • keeping people safe
  • recognising diversity and that everyone is unique
  • taking a whole-of-life and whānau-centred approach to ageing
  • taking collective responsibility to plan and act for later life. 

Key areas for action

The strategy identifies 5 key areas with each including what we want to achieve and what needs to happen to do this:

  • achieving financial security and economic participation
  • promoting healthy ageing and improving access to services
  • creating diverse housing choices and options
  • enhancing opportunities and participation and social connection
  • making environments accessible.

Key areas

What we want to achieve and what needs to happen

Achieving financial security and economic participation

1. What we want to achieve


All people have sufficient income, assets and other support to enjoy an adequate standard of living as they age.


What needs to happen

  • People are saving for later life earlier.
  • Information is provided on the impact of different options on retirement savings, including time out of the workforce.
  • Supplementary assistance is available to help with basic needs when required, and those who are entitled to this are receiving it.

2. What we want to achieve


New Zealand is financially prepared for an ageing population.


What needs to happen

  • Central and local government undertake timely planning to respond to the financial and economic impacts of an ageing population.

3. What we want to achieve


Older workers are treated fairly, recognised for contributing expertise and skills, and have access to training and upskilling.


What needs to happen

  • Employers consider and respond to the impacts of the ageing workforce on their business and future workforce needs.
  • Workplaces are hiring/retaining older workers – creating working environments that provide support through upskilling, retraining, flexible work environments, and providing opportunities for learning and development regardless of age.

4. What we want to achieve


As people age, they can work if they wish or need to.


What needs to happen

  • Ageism, discrimination, negative stereotypes and attitudes towards older workers are confronted.
  • Older workers who are looking for work, wanting to be self-employed or need to upskill or retrain are supported.

5. What we want to achieve


Those who cannot work up to the age of NZ Super entitlement due to their health or a disability are provided with support.


What needs to happen

  • Financial assistance is available to help with basic needs for those who cannot work, and those who need it are getting it.

Promoting healthy ageing and improving access to services

1. What we want to achieve


People enter later life as fit and healthy as possible.


What needs to happen

  • People stay as fit and healthy as they can throughout their lives.
  • People recognise and understand that all of the key areas for action in this strategy impact on health outcomes for older people.

2. What we want to achieve


People have equitable access to the health and social services and the support they need to live and age well.


What needs to happen

  • Continue to implement the Healthy Ageing Strategy 2016, the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016 and the Carers Strategy Action Plan.
  • Access to health (including mental health) and social services for vulnerable population groups is improved.
  • Government and social sector agencies and communities work together to improve access and co-ordinate assistance for socially isolated and other vulnerable older people.
  • Initiatives are developed that better address the physical and social determinants of health.
  • The needs of older people are addressed when social services are designed and delivered.
  • Diversity is explicitly recognised, and sufficient flexibility is built into the design of services to allow for this.

3. What we want to achieve


A whānau-centred approach is taken to the design and delivery of health and social services.


What needs to happen

  • Those designing and delivering services recognise the importance of co-design, and include a whānau-centred partnership approach, while not losing an individuals view

Creating diverse housing choices and options

1. What we want to achieve


People can age in a place they call home, safely and, where possible, independently.


What needs to happen

  • A variety of functional and affordable housing is available with good access to public transport and services to accommodate the diversity of people as they age.
  • The benefits of universal design are considered in new builds so housing is accessible, safe and functional for all life stages.
  • Tools are available to help us consider housing options as we age.
  • There is sufficient public and community housing suitable for older people, with appropriate support.
  • Effective support is provided for older people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
  • There are adequate protections provided for older tenants.
  • Cultural diversity is considered in the design and provision of housing.

Enhancing opportunities and participation and social connection

1. What we want to achieve


As we age, we remain socially connected and actively participate in our communities.


What needs to happen

  • People are supported to plan for their later years from as early as possible – thinking about what they want to do, the activities that could help build and maintain their social connections as they transition out of paid work.
  • Uptake of Age Friendly Aotearoa New Zealand, which includes a focus on social connection and participation, is increased.
  • The value of volunteering, networking and paid work for people as they age is promoted.
  • Increase the accessibility of the built environment for older people with disabilities to help them participate in society (New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016).

2. What we want to achieve


Reduced loneliness amongst older people.


What needs to happen

  • Raise awareness of the impact of loneliness and social isolation on older people and encourage communities to address these.
  • Take a joined-up approach across government and social sectors to co-ordinate assistance to socially isolated and other vulnerable older people (Healthy Ageing Strategy 2016).
  • Loneliness is addressed earlier in a person’s lifetime so they have the necessary tools to live a better life as they age.
  • Community environments are designed to make it easy for older people to be socially connected.

3. What we want to achieve


All older people are respected and valued.


What needs to happen

  • New Zealand society values older people and recognises their lifetime of contribution.
  • Positive attitudes and imagery of older people are promoted.
  • Ageism is confronted and addressed. Everyone has opportunities to contribute to society regardless of age.
  • Older people from different groups (eg, different cultural and interest groups) are engaged with to enable them to contribute to decisions. People are supported to make choices and have the right to make decisions about their lives as they age.
  • People are treated with dignity and as individuals. Professionals take the time to explain clearly to older people what is going on, as soon as practicable.
  • People understand their rights and are empowered to make their own decisions.
  • Those who need support to communicate or make decisions receive it in an appropriate way at the right time (New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016).
  • The uptake of mechanisms such as enduring power of attorney are increased so people’s interests are safeguarded should they lose the capacity to make decisions.
  • Implementation of the Advance Care Planning Strategy, which encourages people and health professionals to talk about advance care plans for health and end-of-life care, continues.

4. What we want to achieve


As people age, they feel and are safe.


What needs to happen

  • Communities are supported to provide safe environments and to work proactively with older people to address safety concerns.

5. What we want to achieve


The prevalence of elder abuse and neglect is reduced, and those who experience abuse are well supported.


What needs to happen

  • A coordinated, system-wide approach to preventing, identifying and eliminating elder abuse and neglect is created.
  • Awareness of the risk factors and occurrence of elder abuse and neglect is known and understood.
  • Those who experience elder abuse and neglect get the support they need. Those providing support receive professional training.

6. What we want to achieve


As people age, they safely use technology to improve their lives.


What needs to happen

  • Innovative technological solutions that help older people, and digital design that addresses their needs is encouraged.

7. What we want to achieve


People who do not use technology can still access the services they need.


What needs to happen

  • Different ways of accessing government services that meet the needs of all older people (eg, face-to-face and online) are considered.

8. What we want to achieve


People can successfully transition through and adapt to life changes.


What needs to happen

  • Awareness is raised of ways of adapting to change for older people.
  • Preparing for expected/likely changes to people as they age is promoted.
  • The benefits of social connection are known and understood.
  • Older people are supported to make their own decisions.
  • Opportunities to master new activities and encourage and support lifelong learning are provided.

9. What we want to achieve


Those who wish to volunteer can do so.


What needs to happen

  • Barriers to volunteering are identified and addressed.

10.What we want to achieve


Recognise older people are as diverse as any other group, with individual aspirations and needs.


What needs to happen

  • Services are planned, designed and delivered recognising diversity and differing needs.

Making environments accessible

1. What we want to achieve


New Zealand communities, facilities, places and spaces are age-friendly and accessible.


What needs to happen

  • Implementation of age-friendly Aotearoa New Zealand continues.

2. What we want to achieve


As we age, we can easily and safely get to where we want to go.


What needs to happen

  • The public transport network is improved so it better meets the needs of older people.
  • Footpaths, cycle lanes and crossings are designed and maintained so they are safe for all to use and encourage walking and cycling.
  • Transport options are available so older people can move around, irrespective of where they live or any disability issues they may have.

Learn more

Better Later Life summary Office for Seniors Te Tari Kaumātua, NZ
Better Later Life accessible version Office for Seniors Te Tari Kaumātua, NZ
Strategy on a page Office for Seniors Te Tari Kaumātua, NZ
Better Later Life indicators Office for Seniors Te Tari Kaumātua, NZ
Bibliography of Better Later Life Office for Seniors Te Tari Kaumātua, NZ

References

  1. Better Later Life He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 Office for Seniors Te Tari Kaumātua, NZ, 2019
Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.