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Ageing Well - What happens when you outgrow middle age?
01 Jan 2016

What happens when you outgrow middle age? by The Selwyn Foundation

We’ve all heard that New Zealand’s population is ageing. The number
of people over 65 has doubled since 1980, and this will continue to rise.
By 2025 there will be more people aged 65+ than children under 14.

These statistics are a good thing – as a nation we are living longer and we now expect to live over 20 years longer than we did in the 1950s. But that also means living a further 20 years into our retirement. What does this mean for us on a national level? Well, it raises a few challenges. For a start, an increased older population means higher healthcare costs. With more retirees reliant solely on superannuation, there will be an increased demand for affordable housing. Living longer means we’ll need this healthcare and housing for longer.

There are also issues on a more individual level. Sadly, many seniors living on their own may have limited social contact, and this has a negative effect on their overall wellbeing. We need to ensure people remain engaged with the community as they grow older.

So ageing is changing. We’re living longer and are more aware of how to keep ourselves healthy. Our older population is not only going to be larger, but also look different in five, 10 or 20 years’ time. By ageing well now, we can retain our independence a lot longer, whether this is living in our own home or in a retirement village. But what is ageing well? How can we do it, both individually and as a community?

 

In our “Ageing Well” series, The Selwyn Foundation brings you a collection of articles that focus on some of the issues facing our older people and the not-so-old ones supporting them. We’ll cover topics such as loneliness and isolation, the importance of staying active, spirituality, innovation in aged care, and retirement villages and residential care.

The Selwyn Foundation exists to serve the needs of older people and the most vulnerable elderly members of our community. It’s our belief that to care for older people, you have to care about them.

“It’s not how old you are, it’s how you are old,” Jules Renard, noted author.

© The Selwyn Foundation 2016.