The popular LiLACS NZ study released a new report today that shows the need for daily and weekly care for older New Zealanders is expected to significantly increase within the next decade.

The Life and Living in Advanced Age: a Cohort Study in New Zealand — Te Puāwaitanga O Ngā Tapuwae Kia Ora Tonu (LiLACS NZ) is carried out by the University of Auckland. It is the world’s first longitudinal study of an indigenous population in advanced age, and is made up of a series of reports comparing Maori health needs with those of older non-Maori. The Government invested $1.8 million into the study in 2013.

The newly released report, titled Intervals of Care Need: Need for Care and Support in Advanced Age — includes five key findings about the care needs of older New Zealanders over the next decade.

The key findings are:

  • Seventeen percent of Māori and 15 percent of non-Māori in advanced age need at least daily assistance
  • Overall, Māori with critical and short intervals of care need are significantly less likely to be living in residential care than non-Māori
  • Using New Zealand population projections, large increases in the need for daily and weekly care are expected by 2026
  • The number of older Māori and non-Māori with cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes mellitus diagnoses is projected to increase by up to 200 and 75 percent respectively
  • Trends in dependency suggest that more recent cohorts of older people generally appear to have better levels of function than earlier cohorts

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming new research about the care and support needs of older Maori.

“We know our ageing population will have a significant impact on models of care so research like this serves as an important guide for the future,” Ms Wagner says.

“It helps inform the development of local and national aged care policies and provides all New Zealanders with an opportunity to better prepare for their own health and well-being in later life.

“Last December, the Government released its Healthy Ageing Strategy, which recognises the higher care needs of some older Maori and makes commitments to reducing health inequities.”

The latest LiLACS NZ report is available at: https://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/assets/fmhs/faculty/lilacs/docs/Intervals-of-Care-Need.pdf

For more information on the Healthy Ageing Strategy: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/healthy-ageing-strategy

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