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27 May 2024

The Selwyn Foundation commends new research into the challenges facing Chinese, Indian and Korean seniors living in Auckland

‘Belonging as an ageing Asian’: The Selwyn Foundation commends new research into the challenges facing Chinese, Indian and Korean seniors living in Auckland

The Selwyn Foundation was delighted to support Emeritus Professor Edwina Pio’s new research, ‘Belonging as an ageing Asian’, which looks at the experiences of ageing Asian migrants in Auckland and how their wellbeing might be enhanced through more culturally appropriate policy and practice. Through a lens that investigates the intersections of age, gender, language, ethnicity, work, culture and religion/faith/spirituality and social structures, Professor Pio’s research explores how Chinese, Indian and Korean people aged 65+ stay connected, active and engaged in their adoptive city.

Population ageing is one of the most significant transformations of the 21st century, with the number of those aged 65+ growing faster than all other age groups. In Auckland, there are 31,353 Asians aged over 65. The three largest groups in this age bracket are Chinese (16,836), Indians (9,345) and Koreans (1,434).

The impetus for Professor Pio’s research was the dearth of available information on ageing Asians in New Zealand’s largest city, despite their exponentially growing numbers. Through focus group interviews conducted with older migrants from the Chinese, Indian and Korean communities, she has identified five key themes: their love of Auckland; the importance of being active and engaged; concern about elder abuse; the significance of enhanced linguistic and cultural sensitivity and mindfulness (by service providers); and what their future holds.

With additional insight from professionals working in the older person’s sector, Professor Pio’s evidence-based research seeks to inform central and local government policy and practice, so enabling more responsive decision-making and appropriate access to care.

As a champion of services that enhance older people’s wellbeing, and funder and co-investor of initiatives to enable all seniors to age with dignity and respect, The Selwyn Foundation commends Professor Pio’s research to policymakers of all disciplines within both the public and private sector. Chief Executive Denise Cosgrove says: “As Professor Pio points out, ageing Asians seem to be victims of various forms of exclusion, whether institutional or otherwise, and policymakers have also been slow to respond to this rapidly changing demographic.

“It’s clear that, to improve the ageing experience of this group which is growing exponentially – and to enhance their sense of belonging and general quality of life – much more needs to be done to understand their specific needs as they age and to deliver healthcare and other services that are responsive and appropriate to their cultural practices and sensitivities.

“For employers, it’s also worth noting that older Asian migrants may be valuable contributors as economic enablers and that their wisdom and skills can benefit workplaces immeasurably.

“A much greater understanding and provision for this cohort is necessary, therefore, which can only add to the richness of our multicultural city and create a greater sense of community and belonging for all who call Auckland their home.”

Professor Pio received an ONZM in the 2023 New Year Honours for her service to ethnic communities. This latest research was sponsored by The Selwyn Foundation and was conducted prior to Professor Pio’s forthcoming residency as visiting academic at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, Oxford, UK.

For an Executive Summary of Professor Pio’s research, visit https://www.selwynfoundation.org.nz/careers/about-us/news/.

Culturally and linguistically appropriate support is available for older people in the Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese-speaking communities in Auckland through Age Concern Auckland’s Asian Service: www.ageconcernauckland.org.nz/what-we-do/asian-services/

Age Concern’s Elder Abuse Services are available across the country: www.ageconcern.org.nz/Public/Public/About/Our_Impact1/Elder_Abuse_and_Neglect_Prevention.aspx

The Office for Seniors also offers a free, confidential 24-hour Elder Abuse Response Service helpline:

Freephone: 0800 32 668 65
Text: 5032
Email: support@elderabuse.nz