Updated strategy for older people under way Tuesday, 12 May 2015

NZ Government Press Release

An updated Health of Older People Strategy will be completed by the end of the year, Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says.

The updated strategy will take into account changes to the health and disability support service sectors since 2002, the emerging challenges faced by the healthcare system and the development of a new Health Strategy.

"The financial sustainability of our healthcare system is crucial. This is especially significant given our ageing population," Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

"The number of New Zealanders aged 65 and over has increased from 467,000 in 2002 to 675,000 in 2015. We expect this number will increase to around 900,000 by 2025. We need to ensure healthcare continues to be effective and affordable for that growing demand."

A greater focus on new models of care and wellness will ensure the health system can keep up with the changing needs and expectations of our ageing population.

A stronger emphasis on person-centred care will also empower older New Zealanders to participate in decisions and choices that impact on the care and support they receive.

The new Health of Older People Strategy will be informed by those older people and those who work with them. It will provide a clear direction and priority areas for the sector to focus on and a foundation for high quality and sustainable services into the future.

The current strategy, released in 2002, resulted in a number of improvements in the health of older people. These include ready access to more timely assessments for home support services to help keep older people in their homes for longer, updated standards and consistent auditing.