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28 Jul 2021

The Selwyn Institute

Promoting accessibility of information on ageing and the care of ageing people

‘To be informed is to be empowered,’ says Hilda Johnson-Bogaerts, Director of The Selwyn Institute, the Foundation’s knowledge hub dedicated to promoting opportunities for learning, research and information-exchange on ageing well and caring for ageing people.

Hilda says: ‘We understand the importance of knowledge-sharing and the need to access up-to-date and reliable information, particularly for older people and their families as the risk of illness, frailty and mortality increases with age. This need has also been accentuated in recent times by the global pandemic. Following on from the launch of our ‘Be well, be kind, be safe’ website pages during the first COVID lockdown last year, The Selwyn Institute is further developing the content of its webpages so people can add to and enhance their knowledge on age-related societal and health issues in a straightforward and accessible way.’   

The Foundation’s long-standing partnership with the University of Auckland has enabled the Institute to undertake specific research into the kinds of health and wellbeing information that seniors need and want, how they access that information and whether this changes per age cohort of elders. Over the past twelve months, it has hosted a final year undergraduate student of the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Population Health, who has conducted a comprehensive study into this question, compiling evidence on older people’s information needs and preferences from a variety of audiences.

As part of the research, an online/hard copy needs assessment questionnaire on the topic was completed by the key family/whānau contacts of guests who attend the Selwyn Centres, as well as by independent living residents across the Foundation’s villages. Preliminary findings from parts of the study analysed to date highlight the importance of accessing health and wellbeing information from trusted sources only, and that this must be relevant, quick and easy to find, and with alphabetical listing.


The final report and recommendations, to be published towards the end of the year, will provide reliable quantitative data and qualitative lived experience comment on older people’s ageing well information needs from the statistically robust volume of replies that were received. The outputs will inform Selwyn’s planning and future development initiatives for www.selwynfoundation.org.nz in terms of the content and navigation, ultimately making it easier for elders and their family/whānau to find the information they need.

In parallel with this research study, the Institute has continued to produce a wide range of informative articles for the Foundation website on wellbeing and ageing well: visit www.selwynfoundation.org.nz/learning/information-about-ageing/. Its latest articles will also be published in the next edition of The Selwyn Institute’s ‘Digest’ e-newsletter, which you can sign up to at www.selwynfoundation.org.nz/learning/contact-us/