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  • HART 4:32 pm on 15/08/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , HART   

    Do Flexible Workers Do Better? 

    As we begin to look at flexible work practices (working flexible hours or being able to work at home when necessary), we found that 225 were full-time (21%), 237 (22%) flexi or part-time, and 597 retired (56%).  Patterns in working preferences compared to the actual working conditions of older people showed that: two-thirds (62%) of those currently working full-time are happy to do so, but a nearly a third (31%) would rather be working part-time or flexible hours, and 7% would rather not be working. Nearly three quarters (73%) of those already working part-time or flexible hours are happy with this arrangement, 17% want to stop working, and 10% wanted full-time work.

    Another question we asked was whether people’s job made it “difficult to be the kind of spouse or parent I’d like to be”.  Not surprisingly, while almost two-thirds (62%) of those working full-time agreed with this, over three-quarters (77%) of those with part-time or flexible hours disagreed.

    How prepared workers were for retirement also showed clear patterns:  62% of full-time workers agreed with the statement “I worry about the standard of living I will have in retirement”, while half (51%) of those working part/flexi-time agreed. Similarly, more full-time workers (66%) agreed with the statement “I worry about having enough income in retirement” than part or flexi-time workers (54%).

    Most of this difference is explained by the observation that full-time workers tended to be younger (56% were between 60 & 64), while about a third of flexi/part-time workers were between 60 & 64 years of age. A large proportion of full-time workers (37%) were between 65 and 69, and around 8% were over 70 years of age. Interestingly, the research showed that 42% of flexi/part-time workers were between 65 & 69, and an impressive 25% over 75 years of age!

  • HART 2:34 pm on 26/06/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Connection with friends, HART,   

    Happiness in Retirement? 

    I know many couples who are having great difficulty living in each other’s company after retirement. I recall my own grandparent’s slight bickering and now I see this problem with my husband and me. My close friends who have partners/spouses alive, appear to be in the same bind. Love’s young dream is a distant memory and you feel as though you are just ”Putting up with”  each other. I do feel it seems to be the men who find it the most difficult, as women generally have been busier prior to retirement. This atmosphere leads to resentment and both parties feeling they would be better off without the other[Not wishing them dead!!] Although there is still a great sense of loyalty to each other, there is constant stress and debate, i.e. nagging, not listening ,and disagreement.

    Twenty years ago I would have dismissed this happening to us but it has, and I do not know what preparation could have eased this. It just creeps up on you.   This may be different for people who have not had children, as they would have been in slightly closer proximity during all of their relationship, not just in retirement.

    I need to clarify that those negative aspects of our retired relationship is not like this all the time ,and I am probably giving you a slightly biased viewpoint as it is mostly from the female perspective. This is not just my own experience .I have talked to a few women that I know well. My own mother used to complain that my father had “taken over” and watched everything she did in the home, whereas before he had stayed in the garden ,”his domain” if you like .These are niggly things, but can aid to undermine the retirement years.

    Unless you have POTS of money, early retirement can be quite destructive too. In our case we both do voluntary work, and to the outside world we probably seem like a happily retired couple. And some, not most, of the time we are. Am I seeking perfection? I truly don’t think so. I feel we are now just marking time, and so does my husband. And yet I do not feel depressed, rather in just  a static place.

    We lost our eldest son 2 years ago, and I think in a strange way it did  make us a bit closer. For my part, I had lost my mother a few months prior and that was a difficult time for me. And then there’s the kids marriage break ups. Life is never dull!! And the grandkids with their piercings etc which I can tolerate, but my husband cannot. So I guess we may not be as static as I had thought. I think that’s about enough for now I have been sufficiently carried away for one day!

  • HART 11:03 am on 25/06/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , HART   

    Letter to HART 

    Greetings to the Team,

    Your Report which ends, “You who have reached the pinnacle, remain as a guiding light to us all” encouraged me to drop you a line, as I have reached the pinnacle being half way through my 94th year!

    I have been particularly interested in the subject ever since I read a publication entitled ‘Stepping Out Towards Retirement’ published in 1978 by Radio New Zealand when I myself was approaching retirement.

    I had never ever given a thought to retirement and it served as a timely wake-up call.  By the time we both retired in 1987 I had realised the importance of sensible preparation and persuaded the Board to allow me to conduct Seminars for Staff on a 6 months trial.  In the event they were so successful they went on for 2 years, involving over 200 Hospital Staff.  I have all the documentation and feedback responses from the participants.  Then economic circumstances intervened and the seminars were discontinued.  They had certainly proved their value.  When I used to tell participants they would have an extra 2000 hours a year to spend when they retired, it really made them think!  I never had groups larger than 12 to ensure ample opportunity for interaction and discussion.  Each Seminar extended over three weeks.

    In recent years we have been inundated with the prospect of the approaching retirement of the Baby Boomers and the problems that will descend upon us.

    Up until your recent projects eventuated I had seen no reports of Baby Boomers themselves being asked what their views on impending retirement were.  It is long overdue and you are all to be congratulated on breaking new ground.

    Every generation is different as are the economic environments at the time.  Advancing technology is an obvious example.  I myself am currently exploring my iPad and its mysteries and having a ball in the process!

  • HART 11:30 am on 17/03/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: HART   

    Just a quick post to clarify comments on the forum: if you want to remain anonymous: click on the ‘Reply’ link, then click the ‘Post’ button after typing your comment (without filling out the name/email/website fields)

    • Anonymous 6:00 pm on 28/03/2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m one for whom the non-financial benefits of continuing to work far outweigh drawbacks. I was “downed” with very sudden-onset, moderately severe rheumatoid arthritis at 60. In spite of relatively severe pain etc I continued my practice as a psychotherapist, albeit with fewer clients. I’m now 67, the RA is well-managed & I continue to work, even when my body protests. This is not for financial reasons, but to help give my days structure & to feel I’m making a significant contribution to others’ lives. I do voluntary work, have several rewarding hobbies & could fill retirement time easily. I’m lucky to have a profession where I can call the shots.


  • HART 2:32 pm on 25/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , HART   

    Thinking of working a bit longer? 

    laptop on beach1Thinking of working a bit longer?  For some nearing retirement, continuing in the workforce may be an undesirable financial necessity, while for others the thought of not working fills them with dread!

    There is evidence that older workers are happier than their younger counterparts.  Older workers generally report being more satisfied, committed and motivated than younger workers, and they tend to see the work environment as less stressful.  ICC results show that most of those aged 60 to 79 were still working (72%), even though nearly three-quarters were also receiving superannuation, suggesting many older workers in New Zealand seek continued paid employment beyond the obvious financial benefits.

    However, health is a major influence on the choices people make regarding their continued participation in the workforce, and poor health has been identified as the main reason why people retire earlier than anticipated.  Some of our participants were unable to work due to a health or disability issue. Our earlier research indicates that approximately 17% of 55 – 70 year-olds retire due to poor health, while others are also retiring to protect their health for their future retirement.

    We know that approximately 30% of retirees find the transition to retirement stressful, and this is particularly so for those with fewer financial resources or for those who are unable to retire when and how they want to. We asked ICC participants about their work preferences. Many expressed dissatisfaction with their current work status.  For instance, many full time workers would prefer to be work part-time or to have more flexible work schedules.  Nearly a quarter said they wanted to be fully retired yet only 16% were, suggesting that a number of our participants continue to work in spite of their preference to be retired.

    A small percentage of those surveyed aged over 60 were unemployed and looking for work.  There is considerable evidence that negative stereotypes about older workers and their health and productivity are still often held by employers.  These stereotypes can prove resistant and makes seeking employment for older New Zealanders a stressful and often futile activity.

    These preliminary findings pose a number of questions for discussion:

    Are some of us continuing in paid employment because of a financial need of some sort?

    Or are we deriving other non-financial benefits from continued work involvement?

    Is there more that can be done at an organisational and policy level to extend the working lives of older workers experiencing ill health or disability if they desire to continue in the workforce?

    What are the barriers to finding employment past 60 years of age and what can be done to overcome negative stereotypes that persist about older workers?

    • Anonymous 12:32 pm on 23/03/2014 Permalink | Reply

      In hindsight I would have made more effort to stay in employment as subsequent events have placed a financial burden on me. (11 yrs retired) While I enjoyed my work and environment my relationship with management was stressful. Retirement decisions for those with ‘partners’ of similar ages are necessarily a compromise at times so in my case maybe little would have changed! F-B

    • masseyhart 11:48 am on 17/03/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Claire. Agreed, there will be a lot who continue to work for the money. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some further insight into this issue through this forum and the HART study

    • Claire 4:37 pm on 15/03/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Everybody Ihave spoken to aged 65-73 are at work for the money. Many are propping up families due to relationship breakups and the financial hardship caused by this.Some want to travel and some want to reevaluate their living arrangements Most want to help families, with grandchildren top of the list. These people are all women in nursing,domestic work.,or rest home caregivers.

  • HART 10:44 am on 17/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: HART,   

    Moving House 

    Moving House?  Nearly half of older New Zealanders plan to move as they age.


    Future housing choices.

    In the ICC study we asked people what housing they would anticipate and prefer as they grew older.  Previous interviews with New Zealanders aged 67 to 93 have shown that there are three ways of understanding housing experiences and moving decisions.  First, there are very practical issues around the environment and things like the quality of the present house and amenities in the neighbourhood. Second, many housing decisions are made around relationships with the environment and people in the area. Family and friends are a very important factor in housing choices. Third, there is the importance of time. People form strong relationships with the place where they live and many people prefer to stay where they have always lived.

    The ICC results

    So, how many New Zealanders in the ICC study aged 62 to 76 see themselves making these different choices? Nearly half (49%) said they could see themselves moving to a “new place of residence” as they age.  However, many (45%) also wished to stay in the same area by “moving to a smaller home in the same geographical location”.

    The most common reason for anticipating moving was a move to a smaller home (67%) which needs less work or maintenance.  Another reason endorsed by 36% was downsizing to release money to live on.

    A smaller but substantial proportion (30%) wished to change location, with 15% wanting to move to a warmer climate, 15% to move closer to health and support services, 21% moving to be closer to family or whānau, and 1% to family or whānau lands.

    Retirement Villages

    Over a quarter (27%) said they had considered moving to a retirement village in the future. Of these, the most common reasons were declining health (71%) and so family or whānau “didn’t have to take on the responsibility of looking after you” (57%).

    Another common reason was wanting less stress in managing the home (48%) and more assistance with chores (46%).  Facilities, such as improved security (47%), inbuilt facilities (42%), and “convenient location to facilities” (44%) were also rated highly as reasons to move to retirement villages.

    Social aspects were also rated highly with 36% endorsing “greater opportunities for keeping active”, 32% wanting to be around people the same age and 28% expecting greater social life.

    Conversely, money was the most important thing discouraging moving to a retirement home or village as many people rated expense (58%) and nothing to bequeath family or whānau (37%) as reasons for not moving.  A lack of privacy (55%) and “lack of respect for older people in some institutions” (44%) were the other most common reasons that discouraged moving to a retirement village in the future.

    A small proportion of the ICC sample (14%) also indicated that they may need to move to an “assisted living facility” like a rest or nursing home.

    Housing Preferences According to Age

    It seems likely that these housing choices will change as we get older.  There were some differences in the ages of those wanting to move.  First, moving to a smaller house and changing location was a less likely reason for those who were older (possibly because they have already moved into a smaller house).  Second, planning to move because of a health issue, to be closer to health services, or to a retirement home/village was also more likely among those were older.

    Those factors that were most likely to discourage people from moving into a retirement village or complex were loss of independence, privacy, space and a lack of respect.  These were generally endorsed, but were less likely to be endorsed by those over the age of 74.

    Moving away from friends, family, the family home, or wanting to leave something to bequeath their family were reasons discouraging moving to a retirement village for those of all ages.  Losing contact with neighbours in contrast was more likely to be an important reason with increasing age, as did having to change to a new doctor.

    Expense was one of the most important concerns and although there was a slight ‘dip’ in importance between ages 65 & 69 (when most people were retiring), this remained important for all age groups. Rather obviously the statement that retirement villages are “… just for older people” became less important with older age.

    Questions raised by these findings

    Current government policy is aimed at supporting people to stay in their own home. For those who choose to stay in their existing home, there is as much support as possible provided to enable people to do this even if they become disabled.  Is this policy working for those who choose to stay in difficult living conditions or in rural areas?

    Since the ICC study shows that 49% of older New Zealanders would like to move, this also provides an impetus for considering what sort of housing opportunities may need to be provided in the future to enable people to age well.  What sort of housing options could be focussed upon?  For example, is the current Village model ideal for the older person who wishes to move to a smaller more supported home?

    • Anonymous 2:06 pm on 02/04/2014 Permalink | Reply

      My Mum went into a Village situation after my father died but she hated the constrictions on her choices. She was used to living in her own home and deciding what colour she wanted to paint it etc. She is now settled in a small unit in town and is very happy but it was very difficult finding this type of dwelling in good modern condition. Will there be a shortage of smaller homes or will older people be forced into walled Villages on the outskirts of towns?

    • chris teo-sherrell 3:58 pm on 18/03/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Very pleased to see this research and look forward to the fuller report. Would be interesting to see to what extent older people already move. Are the baby boomers really that different? Seems like we’ll be needing a lot more smaller dwellings as a result of the boomers reaching retirement age.

  • HART 10:06 am on 17/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: HART, Volunteering   


    Volunteering.  Older people give more time to society.

    Older volunteers have a great deal to offer society in terms of work skills, lifetime experience, cultural knowledge and intergenerational links to the community. Volunteering is also good for older people.  A great deal of research has shown that volunteers are likely to have better physical and mental health, longer lives, and to be generally happier.

    Volunteers fixing a fence for Department of Conservation in Boundary Fence Mainland Island, Hawkes BayThe ICC results showed that volunteering rates are high in the New Zealand population of older people.  Overall, the proportion of people who volunteered at least once a year was very high (85%), with over half (52%) volunteering weekly or more.

    The two most common volunteering activities undertaken monthly or more were for leisure groups (36% ), community or service organisations (34% ), and religious, church, or other spiritual organisations (24% monthly or more).  Sports clubs (20% monthly or more) and “providing a community service” were also relatively common (14% monthly or more).

    Older people were more likely to be volunteering.  Forty percent of those between 60 and 64 years of age were giving time to a group or organisation at least once a week.  After retirement age (i.e. between the ages of 65 to 74) this proportion was higher at around 54%. For those between 75 and 79 years old it was even higher, with 65% of this age group volunteering their time once a week or more.

    These results indicate that most of this increased volunteer activity involves more time given to hobby and leisure groups, religious groups, and organisations that help people.  People did not increase the time given to activism, environmental stewardship, or in cultural knowledge and traditions or arts areas.

    Marae live by the time and effort given freely by its people, our findings showed that nearly half (46%) of those identifying as Maori had performed at least one role on their marae (e.g. ringa wera, kai karanga, or pou korero).  However it should also be acknowledged that there are many who live too far from their marae to help, are too ill to help, or are helping their local Māori community in other ways.

    Interviews with individuals have also shown that although people are keen to volunteer as shown in the ICC survey results, there are also barriers to continuing participation including costs, transport and ageism.  Given that there is much enthusiasm for ongoing and developing contribution through volunteering, and that volunteering is beneficial for society and individuals, what are the needs for support and encouragement to include as many people as possible in these activities.

  • HART 3:28 pm on 14/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: HART,   

    Internet Access 

    Internet Access.  Most older people have access to the internet at home


    ICC had a strong interest in the digital media use of older people.  With the internet becoming a central part of our lives there is a danger that some sectors of the population will be excluded because of barriers to use leading to a new form of inequality – ‘the digital divide’.

    Overall, the great majority (88%) of older people in this study have access to the internet from home.   Of those working, 66% were using the internet at work. A relatively small proportion (11%) used the internet from somewhere like a library or café.

    Home internet access was lower for the older group, with 93% of 60-64 year olds with access dropping to 79% of 75-79 year olds. The proportion saying they had somebody help them “use the internet” was 13% for those below 65 and 29% for 75-79 year olds.

    Email was by far the most common use with half (51%) using it twice a week or more.  Thirteen percent used the computer to find event information at least twice a week, and online shopping occurred the least frequently (11% used it twice a week or more).  There was little difference across the age groups; all showed a slight drop in frequency of use with increasing age, with email use and online shopping use dropping by around 10% between 60 and 79 years of age.

    Generally everybody (around 80%) agreed that the internet made it easier to reach or stay in touch with people, helped them to “feel more connected to friends and family/whānau” (64%), and increased how often they communicated with others (61%).  Less than half (43%) agreed that the internet made them feel less isolated and only 16% agreed that the internet made it easier to meet new people.

    There were a few interesting differences between those below and above 65.  Those who were older were slightly less likely to agree that the internet made it easier to reach people, contributed to keeping in touch, increased how often they communicated, and felt more connected. However, the proportion of those who agreed that the internet made them feel less isolated and made it easier to meet new people increased with age.

    These results suggest that the internet and its uses, especially email, are well accepted but there are some barriers to full access.  The oldest age group are more likely to see the internet as reducing isolation and enabling connections. However, these uses are currently low.  Older people’s use could grow with more targeted assistance.

  • HART 3:18 pm on 14/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , HART   

    How are we keeping in touch? 

    How are we keeping in touch? Texting children and friends.Paper Cup Phone

    The ICC study was particularly interested in social connections. The ability to keep up connections with friends and family, and supportive social networks are understood to be an important part of healthy ageing.  The ICC was tasked with examining how people keep in touch, and the ways in which people stay connected may be changing as society changes.

    Texting was the most popular method for keeping in touch with others.  Almost half of the ICC sample (45%) texted their children and friends two or three times a week or more. Around a quarter (27%) also texted relatives and neighbours (28%).

    Looking at the different age groups, we found that the frequency with which people talked or texted on the phone to their friends changed little with age, except for a small decrease after 74 years of age. Contact with relatives also dropped with increasing age. However, phone contact with children dropped steadily for those from 60 to 74 years of age (from 52% to 40%) before rising again to 45% of participants talking or texting at least 2-3 times per week after the age of 74. As people get older, they seem to keep in touch with neighbours more. The proportion of participants talking or texting twice a week or more to their neighbours rose from 20% to 39% in relation to the age of the participants.

    Meeting face to face was less common.  Around a quarter of the sample met with their children (26%), neighbours (21%), and friends (34%) twice a week or more. Very few met with other relatives this frequently (11%).  Meeting face to face with other people such as relatives and friends was very similar across all age groups.  Seeing children was also similar across the age groups except for those over the age of 74 who showed an increase in face to face contact with children (from 26% to 32% meeting twice a week or more).  As with phone contact, these older people were also more likely to report meeting their neighbours (14% of those under 74 years compared to 27% of those over 74 years).

    Online connections were fewer in this age group.  There was a moderate amount of online connection with children (20%) and friends (17%). Only 11%  interacted online twice a week or more with relatives and 3% with neighbours. Generally, there was no difference in how often different age groups spoke to friends, relatives, and neighbours online. There was a difference for speaking with children however, with 29% speaking twice a week or more dropping to around 19% for those aged over 65.

    Questions. The issues raised by these initial findings focus more on who is not connecting.  Older people in our sample are using a variety of ways of keeping in touch but the proportions for each mode are relatively small. Even texting to family and friends does not reach 50%.  Although the older age groups in the sample were more likely to have contact with children and neighbours, these remain relatively low proportions.  This raises questions about the difficulties of keeping in touch as we get older and the problems of isolation and loneliness that some older people face.

  • HART 3:16 am on 03/12/2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: HART   

    The Health and Ageing Research Team 

    This Forum is dedicated to the findings of The Participation of Older People: Independence, Contribution, Connection study.   It explores health (physical & mental) and wellbeing, and some new topics including: what constitutes a ‘meaningful life’; your lifestyle plans; your employment; and your experiences of digital media. There is a separate supplementary questionnaire for those who have cared for someone with a long term-illness, disability or frailty.

    As the results of the study are analysed by the HART team, summaries will be posted on this forum for comment.

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