In this particular reported study, the holistic health of older adult living in New Zealand has been described. Precisely, by examining the positive life experiences of New Zealand’s older adult, a critical discussion has been developed to identify the quality of life as well as the life expectancy of the older adult living in the country. Evidently, over the past couple of decades, better immunisation and advancement medical science have massively contributed towards improved mortality rate (Tobias & Cheung, 2013). In addition, the study will compare the life expectancy data of New Zealand to that of India to evaluate how New Zealand has been placed at the international level. Moreover, the report will investigate the factors influencing the quality of life for the older adult.
In the discussion, government policies of New Zealand related to the older adult of the nation have been further analysed. Also, the policies of the New Zealand government intending towards the older adults have been compared with an international perspective for a better understanding of the measures. In the meanwhile, the collaborative engagement and the concept of sustainability protocols have been integrated into the reported study so that the most significant outcome will be delivered creating a formidable learning environment (Harper, 2015). Additionally, the theme of the selected strategy of Healthy Ageing Strategy 2016 has been summarised in the report as well. Convincingly, the background of the strategy and the reason for its development has been further explained to define the most sustainable practices leading to success. Effectively, the comparison of current statistical data around life expectancy for the older adult in New Zealand with international data will reveal what is the significance of the government policy measures influencing the life expectancy of the older adult.
Comparison of life expectancy data (New Zealand versus India)
The analysis of life expectancy data will be crucial for this particular study to understand the differences of government practices and policies in New Zealand and India related to older adult health and safety. Critically, according to the reports published by Statistics New Zealand, life expectancy for females and males are 83.2 years and 79.5 years respectively in 2012-2014 periods as shown in figure 1 (Stats.govt.nz, 2017).
Figure 1: Life Expectancy in New Zealand (2012-2014)
Source: (Stats.govt.nz, 2017)
Since 2005-2007, the life expectancy of males and females has increased by 1.5 years and 1 year respectively in 2012-214. Evidently, as per the reports and media release, the life expectancy gap between New Zealand male and female has lessened in the last 8 to 10 years. Moreover, the life expectancy of both Maori and non-Maori population in the nation has been increased since 2005-07 (Stats.govt.nz, 2017). According to the historic data, in 2005-07, the life expectancy of a non-Maori person was 8.2 years more than a Maori person.
In order to compare the life expectancy situation of New Zealand with another nation, India has been selected as the preferred country for research purpose. According to the statistical data released by the Union of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India, the condition of life expectancy in the country has increased since 2001-2005. The published reports can be shown that mortality rate among Indian males has gone up from 62.3 years to 67.3 years in 2011-2015, up by five years (Sampath, 2017). In case of India females, the life expectancy rate has increased to 69.6 years from 63.9 years. Precisely, health indicators in the Indian sub-continent are showing the signs of massive improvement since the last decade or so. According to the experts and medical practitioners, better nutrition, immunisation, and health living standards have contributed to the growth in life expectancy rate of Indian population.
Factors that influence life expectancy for people
In the statistics of life expectancy, a better health condition and health policies for the elderly population can influence the average life expectancy of a nation on a positive note. Meanwhile, health and safety of the older adult can be essential to increase the overall life expectancy rate of a country (Marks, 2011). Markedly, there are a number of factors influencing the life expectancy rate of a target population that have been summarised in the section as follows:
Socioeconomic status can be identified as one of the most evident factors affecting the life expectancy of a social population. Meanwhile, socioeconomic status includes employment condition, education, income, standard of living, and economic wellbeing. For instance, better employment opportunities will influence the health security of the national population. Moreover, improved income status will mean significant amount of money will be spent on health and safety of population (Tobias & Cheung, 2013). Thus, life expectancy of the people will be gone up. Furthermore, better standard of living and economic wellbeing will certify good health and safety leading to higher mortality rate. Economic wellbeing of a nation signifies that population of the country will have an improved Gross Domestic Product per capita (Malcolm, 2014). Hence, rural population of the country will be looked after in a superior way. Also, education standards of people will confirm that people will be health conscious. In this way, a better socioeconomic condition has led to improved life expectancy of social population (Harper, 2015).
Quality of health facilities
Quality of health facilities and accessibility of the health system can be termed as another leading influencing factor in higher life expectancy. In the developed countries, quality of health system has been prioritised by the government. Precisely, government spend significant amount of capital in health sector to deliver better health system (Creedy, Enright, Gemmell & Mellish, 2010). Also, the government policies have ensured middle-class and lower class people will easily access to the health facilities as per their requirements. Furthermore, advancement of modern medical science has offered better immunisation and treatment for people. Clinically, improved health facilities have certainly influenced the life expectancy (Creedy & Gemmell, 2014). However, in developing countries, social population have lacked significant access of better health system due to monetary issue. Hence, life expectancy of the population has been reduced (Malcolm, 2014).
Health Behaviours of Community
Health behaviours of the social population can be identified as an important factor affecting the mortality rate of people living in a country. Arguably, if the social population has followed negative health behaviours such as excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco, the life expectancy rate will be reduced (Robbins, 2014). Also, nutrition of social population is a vital aspect in health behaviour. A poor nutrition of social population can significantly decrease the mortality rate as malnutrition can create an adverse effect on the health of ageing population and elderly adult. Furthermore, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits will also impact the life expectancy rate in a negative way (Buckle & Creedy, 2014).
Theme of the ‘Healthy Ageing Strategy 2016’
The Healthy Ageing Strategy 2016 can be identified as a strategic modification the Heath of Older People Strategy 2002 to provide better health and wellbeing of elderly adult living in New Zealand. In this particular strategic intervention, government policies, service delivery, and funding set up have been included by the government of New Zealand ("Healthy Ageing Strategy", 2017). The strategy prioritises high quality health services for the elderly adult population. Furthermore, healthy ageing through older years of elderly population has been ensured so that life expectancy of the older adult can be increased. Also, a better support system has been delivered under the strategy to fulfil the complex needs of the older adult (Sandiford, Consuelo & Rouse, 2016).
The primary theme of the New Zealand’s Healthy Ageing Strategy is to make the people of the country health smart ("Healthy Ageing Strategy", 2017). In other words, the Ministry of Health aims to create a health smart population by providing the individuals as well as carers and families with adequate information about prevention of long term conditions. The theme of the strategy is based on healthy ageing in order to enhance the life expectancy rate in the country. Furthermore, the theme of the New Zealand’s Healthy Ageing Strategy can be understood by discussing the five major strategies that supports the healthy ageing initiative of the government.
- Ageing Well
- Living well with long term conditions
- Acute and restorative care
- Support for people with high and complex needs
- Respect end of life
It can be seen that all the five strategy themes are based on a single theme of making the population health smart. By making the population health smart, the government can develop an environment of healthy living and improve the life expectancy rate in the nation. The theme of the strategy initiates the individuals, care takers and families to age well and live well with long term conditions ("Healthy Ageing Strategy", 2017). Furthermore, the government can create a better society and community for the ageing population by providing sensitive and soothing care and meeting their high and complex needs. Finally, the strategy aims to make individuals and care takers respect the end of life ("Healthy Ageing Strategy", 2017). Therefore, it is quite clear that the strategy is based on a theme of creating a health smart population for healthy ageing.
The background of the strategy and the reason for its development
According to Honourable Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-liga, the New Zealand Population is getting aged day by day and more than one fourth of the population will be above 65 years of age by the end of 2036 ("Healthy Ageing Strategy", 2017). Previously, the New Zealand government introduced an ageing healthcare strategy known as the Heath of Older People Strategy (2002), which was implemented to improve the health care services for aged population and disabled people. However, the strategy has been found to have certain drawbacks and the government bodies have been unable to properly implement the actions according to the plan (Shreeve, 2010). The older strategy mainly focused on taking care of the old age and disabled people in place of making them aware of how to prevent the issues of ageing. In other words, the older strategy was formed to add years to life in place of adding life to years (Hazan, 2011). The drawback of the strategy to make individuals understand the importance to respect the end of life led to the formation of the new strategy. Furthermore, the older strategy lacked in making the individuals and carers understand the importance of living a healthy life and how the life expectancy rate can be improved in the nation (Kawada, 2014).
Healthy Ageing Strategy (2016) was developed with a collaboration of more than 2000 people that include older age people, care takers, political parties, and other individuals from healthcare sector. This strategy was developed to present strategic direction for the changes and set of actions that are required to improve the health of aged people, while entering or throughout their older years. A campaign was launched by the Ministry of Health of New Zealand under the leadership of former Prime Minister John Key, to collect feedback from the common people in order to understand what people need and expect from the government (Barber, 2017). Additionally, more than 200 submissions were published over the Ministry of Health website to actively collect feedback of the common people ("New strategy to drive healthy ageing", 2017). The feedbacks of common people were considered as individuals get aged in different ways and at different times. Additionally, the needs of the people may vary from one person to another depending upon their financial status, health behaviour of the community and quality of healthcare services (Barber, 2017). Hence, the healthy ageing strategy was developed keeping in mind that healthy ageing is a life-long process. However, the strategy has faced several criticisms from the opposing political parties as the new initiative of the government has increased the spending over the healthcare system, which is already high as compared to the GDP of the nation (Keene et al., 2016). But, the immense support of the public and healthcare communities has helped the New Zealand Government in successfully introducing the new strategy.
Comparison of the theme of the strategy with an international perspective of similar theme
In order to compare the theme of the Healthy Ageing Strategy with an international perspective of a similar theme, the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health (2016-2020) of World Health Organisation has been considered. By studying both the strategies, it can be seen that the themes are almost similar in both the cases as they aim to develop health smart population in order to increase the life expectancy rate across ageing population. According to the Health Ageing Strategy (2016), the major points of the action plan of the New Zealand government have been derived from the Global Strategy of the WHO. It can be seen that the theme of Health Ageing Strategy aims to develop an age-friendly environment, meet the needs of the ageing people, and implement long term care systems which are common to the themes of the Global Strategy of WHO.
However, the primary differences in the theme that can be identified between the two strategies is the focus of the New Zealand Government in making individuals and care takers to respect the end of life, whereas the theme of the Global Strategy and Action Plan emphasises on improving measurements, monitoring and research on ageing and health. As New Zealand is a well developed nation and is quite advanced in healthcare services, it has the capability to meet the needs of healthy ageing. But, there is a lack of proper monitoring, measuring and research theme in their healthy ageing strategy. On the other hand, World Health Organisation works for the welfare of the people in both developed as well as developing nations, which makes it difficult for the institution to use the same theme of enabling individuals to respect end of life in different countries ("The Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016-2020)", 2017). Furthermore, the political unrest and economic distress are major factors leading to poor life expectancy rate in the developing nations that makes the organisation choose another theme of measurement, monitoring and research in order to promote healthy ageing over the international platform.
By considering the above analysis, it can be seen that the life expectancy rate of New Zealand is quite higher than any other developing nations due to better healthcare infrastructure and high spending of the Government on healthcare services. Moreover, there are several factors that influence the life expectancy rate in different countries across the globe that are mostly common in nature. Furthermore, the Healthy Ageing Strategy (2016) of the New Zealand Government is primarily based on a theme of create a health smart population to further increase the life expectancy rate and provide a better environment for the ageing people. The government of the nation has effectively collaborated with the common public in order to re-design the older strategy and introduce the Healthy Ageing Strategy (2016). Additionally, the theme of the Healthy Ageing Strategy of New Zealand is mainly derived from the Global Strategy and Action Plan for Ageing and Health of WHO. However, the basic difference that can be found in both the themes is that the Healthy Ageing Strategy’s theme focuses on developing a health smart population due to the countries well structured healthcare infrastructure and the Global Strategy’s theme focus on developing a better healthcare environment for the population because of the poor healthcare infrastructure in the developing nations.
Barber, P. (2017). Healthy Ageing Strategy - NZ Council of Christian Social Services. NZ Council of Christian Social Services. Retrieved October 2017, from https://nzccss.org.nz/news/2016/12/healthy-ageing-strategy/
Buckle, R., & Creedy, J. (2014). Population ageing and long-run fiscal sustainability in New Zealand. New Zealand Economic Papers, 48(2), 105-110.
Creedy, J., & Gemmell, N. (2014). Can fiscal drag pay for the public spending effects of population ageing in New Zealand?. New Zealand Economic Papers, 48(2), 183-195.
Creedy, J., Enright, J., Gemmell, N., & Mellish, A. (2010). Population ageing and taxation in New Zealand. New Zealand Economic Papers, 44(2), 137-158.
Harper, S. (2015). Addressing Longevity, Life Expectancy and Health Life Expectancy. Journal Of Population Ageing, 8(4), 223-226.
Hazan, M. (2011). Life Expectancy and Schooling: New Insights from Cross-Country Data. SSRN Electronic Journal.
Healthy Ageing Strategy. (2017). Ministry of Health NZ. Retrieved October 2017, from https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/healthy-ageing-strategy
Kawada, T. (2014). Associated factors with gender gap in life expectancy: Recommendation for the use of healthy life expectancy. Geriatrics & Gerontology International, 14(3), 728-729.
Keene, L., Bagshaw, P., Nicholls, M., Rosenberg, B., Frampton, C., & Powell, I. (2016). Funding New Zealand’s public healthcare system: time for an honest appraisal and public debate. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1435).
Malcolm, M. (2014). Avoidable mortality and life expectancy in New Zealand. Journal Of Epidemiology & Community Health, 48(2), 211-211.
Marks, R. (2011). Promoting active and healthy ageing. Quality In Ageing And Older Adults, 12(1), 5-5.
New strategy to drive healthy ageing | Scoop News. (2017). Scoop.co.nz. Retrieved October 2017, from https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1612/S00227/new-strategy-to-drive-healthy-ageing.htm
New Zealand Period Life Tables: 2012–14. (2017). Stats.govt.nz. Retrieved October 2017, from https://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/health/life_expectancy/NZLifeTables_MR12-14.aspx
Robbins, R. (2014). Objective and Subjective Factors in Estimating Life Expectancy. Psychological Reports, 63(1), 47-53.
Sampath, J. (2017). Life expectancy in India goes up by 5 years in a decade - Times of India. The Times of India. Retrieved October 2017, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Life-expectancy-in-India-goes-up-by-5-years-in-a-decade/articleshow/29513964.cms
Sandiford, P., Consuelo, D., & Rouse, P. (2016). How efficient are New Zealand's District Health Boards at producing life expectancy gains for M?ori and Europeans?. Australian And New Zealand Journal Of Public Health, 41(2), 125-129.
Shreeve, M. (2010). Could Better Government for Older People deliver quality in ageing?. Quality In Ageing And Older Adults, 1(2), 7-17.
The Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016-2020). (2017). who.int. Retrieved October 2017, from https://who.int/ageing/global-strategy/en/
Tobias, M., & Cheung, J. (2013). Monitoring health inequalities: life expectancy and small area deprivation in New Zealand. Population Health Metrics, 1(1).