The New Zealand situation
- The New Zealand population aged 65 years and over is projected to more than double over the next 50 years to exceed 1.18 million in 2051.
- Most older people have enough money to live on, but some experience difficulties. Around 7% of the older population experience quite marked material hardship, and a further 5% to 10% have some difficulties.
- Living arrangements for older people are expected to change between now and 2021 – declining levels of home ownership mean more are likely to live in rented accommodation; the number of people living in institutions is expected increase by around 32%, and those living alone will increase by around 45%.
- Many older people are involved in unpaid activities, either inside or outside of the home, and they account for around 15% of all unpaid work.
- In 2002 there were 18 people aged over 65 for every working age person; by 2031, this will be 45.
So, what does this all mean? It means that the country needs to gear up to manage the significant increase in numbers of older New Zealanders. We need to put in place effective mechanisms to enable New Zealand’s rapidly ageing population to live their latter years in dignity. Advocating for Government policy and action on developing housing appropriate to older Kiwis’ health needs is the priority area for the Church.
What’s the Church is doing to support older New Zealanders?
- Providing fellowship opportunities for older Kiwis through community lunches, regular services and other activities
- Organising church and community projects through which seniors (and others) can make a meaningful contribution by volunteering their professional expertise and skills (everything from building projects, project management, administration work, to being parish treasurer or teaching Sunday School
- Advocating for change in Government policy that affects older Kiwis such as calling for the Government to make ageing in place a reality rather than policy objective (see our media releases)
- Involvement in many practical ministries that positively impact on the lives of older Kiwis, such as providing church services in rest homes and volunteers for non-church programmes such as meals-on-wheels.
Check out what the Church has said about family violence and other important community issues on our media releases
Where you can get more info
- For a Christian perspective on getting older in New Zealand, check out the “Coming of age: bring on the baby boomers" commissioned by the Presbyterian Church.
- Check out the Church’s discussion paper presented to the Prime Minister (Sep 2007) encouraging the Government to make ageing in place a reality rather than policy objective.
- Check out New Zealand Christian Council of Social Services discussion papers including Rising to the challenge: the role of Christian social services in matching older peoples housing with support needs.
- Age Concern is a national organisation that works for the rights and well-being of older people through provision of services such as visiting services, lobbying, and elder abuse prevention.
- GreyPower is a lobby organisation that promotes the welfare and well-being of all those citizens in the 50 plus age group.
- Presbyterian Support works alongside older people and their families with its nationwide network of in-home support and aged care facilities.