Population ageing is the critical demographic change occurring in New Zealand. The ‘baby boomers’ moved into the 65+ age group in 2011, and will be an increasingly large percentage of our population. This generation will have different and diverse needs for independent living compared with previous generations. Many will be planning active ageing in work, but many will retire and contribute by other means, such as volunteering. Baby boomers will access digital media for many different purposes. Detailed understanding of these needs, the barriers to their achievement, their impact on the labour market, and on services, will contribute directly to the development of policies and services to support participation.

The Inclusion, Contributions and Connections study (ICC) used postal and online surveys of 3,200 ‘baby boomers’ aged 63­ to 78 years from a nationally representative sample of new Zealanders who have been participating in a study of ageing for seven years. The study was designed to answer three detailed questions about factors contributing to older people’s participation in society: independence, employment needs, and digital media use.

This detailed knowledge will be translated directly to organisations such as Retirement Villages Association and Housing New Zealand, Age Concern’s accredited visiting service, and DHB health promotion programmes. Reliable and valid data about work and retirement plans is also important to Treasury and MSD.  Some, such as the number of people planning to move house, and the ways in which older people are connecting with others have immediate policy implications.  We are starting this feedback process by providing some immediate, descriptive findings, on this website for all New Zealanders to share. We hope that the ICC participants, and any interested older New Zealanders will feel free to comment on, ask questions about, and enrich these findings.

Please share your reactions to these research findings.

The Health and Ageing Research Team (HART) is an interdisciplinary team based in the School of Psychology and includes researchers from the School of Health and Social Services, the School of People Environment and Planning and the University of Otago in Christchurch. The team includes senior researchers, emerging researchers, and a large group of postgraduate doctoral, masters and honours students who work on projects in ageing research, and are supervised by HART staff.

HART-team-2014-01

Back row from left: Dr Polly Yeung, Prof Steve La Grow, Dr Mary Breheny, Dr Juliana Mansvelt, Vicki Beagley.   Front row from left: Dr Andy Towers, Dr Sally Keeling, Prof Fiona Alpass, Prof Chris Stephens, Brendan Stevenson.  Missing: Dr Jo Taylor
Further information can be found at HART

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