Discuss about the Health of Older Adults for Economic Conditions.
Old age does not have a specific definition but is characterized by incapacity of a person to perform the previous obligations, coming across new roles, or inability to make active assistances to society (World Health Organization, 2001). Nowadays, retirement does not mean that a person has become old. Therefore, various strategies and policies have been commenced by the government of few countries in order to help old people getting online and becoming familiar with digital services (Department for Works and Pension, 2015). Now old age is no longer the phase where a person becomes dependent on others instead older adults have the energy to work longer and make required contributions to the society.
In simple words, life expectancy is the average life span for which an individual may expect to survive if the mortality pattern and other conditions remain same as that on the time of its birth. With the passage of time, the life expectancy of older adults in every country has positively increased as result of changes in social, economic and political environment and circumstances (Turley & Thompson, 2013). For example, let us take two countries- New Zealand and India.
Comparison between New Zealand and India on the basis of Life Expectancy
The life expectancy data around the world has subsequently changed overtime. A lot of factors which affect life expectancy data such as regional variations, economic conditions, gender, mental illness and other illness like diabetes, obesity, etc. The measurement of life expectancy is made in accordance with the factors prevailing at the time of birth of an individual and therefore, it is referred to as life expectancy at birth (LEB). The derivation of Life expectancy at birth is made after consideration of variety of statistics and reports such as Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, Census Reports, Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme and many more. The increase in life expectancy is the result of improved lifestyle, better standard of living and greater literacy (OECD, 2016).
The data provided by the World Bank clearly demarcates increase in life expectancy over a period of time. In the year 1960, New Zealand had a total (both male and female) life expectancy at birth of 71.24 years with 68.7 years for males and 73.9 years for females. India faced a below average life expectancy at birth in the year 1960. The males in India had a life expectancy at birth of 41.8 years and for females it was 40.4 years with a total (both male and female) life expectancy at birth of 41.1 years.
The newest data delivered by the World Bank is for the year 2015. There has been a significant change in the data overtime and the change is positive and progressive for both the countries i.e. - New Zealand and India. The data for the year 2015 for New Zealand reports that that life expectancy at birth for males have increased to 79.7 years while for females it has increased to 83.2 years with a total life expectancy at birth (both male and female) of 81.4 years. Similarly, India has also made progress with the increase in life expectancy at birth for males to 66.9 years and for females to 66.9 years. With this, the total life expectancy increased to 68.3 years (World Bank, 2017).
Factors that influence Life Expectancy for people in New Zealand and India
The life expectancy at birth of an individual is influenced by a variety of factors like earnings, standard of living, education, accommodation, diet and many more (Guilmoto & Jones, 2015). The World Health Organization specifies that a person’s health is equally affected and determined by its physical, social and economic environment and the conducts and individualities of an individual (World Health Organization, 2017).
Life expectancy in New Zealand is affected by lower income of people due to which the necessities of life become out of their reach leading to poor quality of life and malnutrition. Moreover, regional variations have a great impact on the life expectancy as some regions are rich in some economic resources which while some are rich in other. There are basically socio-economic inequalities in health of Maori and non- Maori people in New Zealand (Wepa, 2015). Furthermore, religious beliefs and gender roles further extend the health inequalities between the two groups. The access to such resources and living in areas around them increase the life expectancy of a person (Ministry of Social Development, 2009). Major diseases suffered by the people in New Zealand are obesity and cardiovascular diseases. The impact of such diseases can be reduced by participating in physical activities along with a healthy and nourishing diet which will consequently lead to increased life expectancy and a better life. Alcohol consumption affects health and increases the chances of death due to road accidents. Males in New Zealand suffer from a higher mortality rates and smaller life expectancy than females.
India is still in its developing phase thereby is still struggling with a number of factors like poor sanitation, low literacy rate, malnutrition, etc. The factors affecting life expectancy also involve family background, economic status, edification, drug use, smoking and consumption of alcohol (International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 2014). The government of India has become successful to some extent in addressing some major issues like poor sanitation, unawareness among females regarding health issues, inaccessibility of pure drinking water, etc. These issues were a cause of poor health standards in India. Moreover, Malnutrition is also a cause of organ failure and death in older adults as this severely affects their heath. Also, there are various causes of death such as cancer, road accidents, HIV/AIDS, hypertension, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc.(ICICI Lombard, 2013). These causes of death are one of the major factors that affect the life expectancy in India. As far as rural India is concerned, high infant mortality rate is still a major consideration. Moreover, lower literacy rate is the major reason due to which such issues remains unsolved. Lack of education contributes towards lack of awareness regarding health care which significantly lead towards low life expectancy in India. Although, steps have been taken towards resolving this issue such that awareness towards health care can be increased along with increase in life expectancy.
He Korowai Oranga: Maori Health Strategy (2013/2014)
He Korowai Oranga simply means “the cloak of wellness” (Marc, 2009). This strategy for Maori health was supposed to be implemented by the health and disability sector of New Zealand in order to get the best health results for Maori who suffered from severe health inequalities (Kirch, 2008). This Maori health strategy highlights three important themes- firstly, the reduction of dissimilarities between health of two groups- Maori and non- Maori, maintaining and keeping up the progress made in Maori health and lastly, rangatiratanga (control) to be achieved by Maori over their own lives (Jones, 2014).
Rangatiratanga allowed various groups like iwi, Maori, hapu and whanau to become capable of having control over their own lives, health and wellbeing along with providing them ways so that they can form their own communities and organizations and thereby encouraging their development (McCarthy, 2016).
Maintaining and keeping up the progress made in Maori health-
He Korowai Oranga is a strategy for making improvements in the Maori Health. The theme of this strategy specifies for keeping up these improvements and considering the improvements already made as the base for the accomplishment in Maori and whanau ora results. Ministry of Health is responsible along with some other respective organizations for upholding the progress made and making attempts for improving it further.
Reduction of Inequalities-
The socioeconomic differences between the health of Maori and non- Maori emerged as a challenge for the New Zealand government and health sector. For the purpose of reduction of such discrepancies, increased access to various services is planned to be provided to Maori. For this some changes and alterations were planned to be made after determining the priorities where they are required.
Background and reason for the development of He Korowai Oranga
Among the various groups residing in New Zealand, Maori suffered from the most underprivileged health status. The basic purpose behind the development of He Korowai Oranga is whanau ora. In general terms, whanau ora mean family health. Therefore, the strategy aimed at achieving maximum health and wellbeing results for Maori families (Ministry of Health, 2001). With the help of this strategy, whanau was expected to become confident, attain a secure identity, and achieve a control over their own prosperity along with physical and mental wellbeing. There is an influence of social and political situations on the health of Maori and other native people (Castro, Lambrick, Faulkner, Lark, Williams & Stoner, 2013).
The principles stated by the Treaty of Waitangi influenced He Korowai Oranga in some areas (Palmer, 2008). These principles were fixed within the strategy for better results (Came, H., McCreanor, Doole & Rawson, 2016). These principles were- protection (protection of Maori values and assurance regarding reduction in health differences), partnership (partnership among groups like hapu, whanau, Maori and iwi for improving Maori health) and participation (Maori participation in different stages of planning and development of various health services) (Manley, McCormack & Wilson, 2013).
Comparison of the theme of the strategy with the international perspective of the same/ similar theme
With the increase in worldwide health inequalities, health inequalities are being suffered by various social groups. Due to this the socio- economic status of a person is reduced and makes a person vulnerable to diseases and poor health. The present state is a matter of concern and required to be resolved to reduce the unfairness. International and national engagements are essential for the purpose of redressal of such severe inequalities among health status of different groups (Szende, Janssen & Cabases, 2014).
Healthy Eating- Healthy Action: Oranga Kai- Oranga Pumau also known as HEHA Strategy was one of the strategies with similar theme as that of He Korowai Oranga Strategy. The basic purpose of this theme was national obesity prevention by creating responsiveness towards healthy eating and attachment towards family (sense of whanaungatanga) among the various groups (Ministry of Health, 2007).
Even after years of discussion about poor health of Maori, data in the year 2011 still came out with differences among two groups. The health dissimilarities between Maori and non- Maori lead to lower life expectancy of Maori males and females i.e. 73.3 years and 77.6 years as against the life expectancy of non-Maori male and females which was 79.9 years and 84.4 years. Such inequities are also the result of diseases like diabetes, cancer, obesity and vascular disorders which reduce the overall life of an individual.
Although, slowly and gradually people have started living a healthier life and there is a positive trend in the health conditions of various groups around the world. But some of the health problems still remain unaddressed which are required to be removed with immediate action. More strategies are required in this regard so that discrepancies in health is across the world is altogether eliminated (McPake, Normand & Smith, 2013). .
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