Current New Zealand Situation
The Importance of Research and the HOPE Foundation’s Role in it.‘Ageing is a dynamic and ongoing process that is part of the normal life course. Responsive health and support services that respect and value older people are a key factor in enabling older people to continue active lives and contribute skills and knowledge to their families and communities.’
Health of Older People Strategy, New Zealand Government 2002.
The Strategy document, recognising the value of research in preparing the country for an ageing future, applauds the fact that the universities of New Zealand are gradually developing a body of graduate student research, that a research workforce is slowly emerging and that these efforts need to be brought together to provide a focus for furthering research on ageing, for co-ordinating that research and disseminating the research findings throughout New Zealand.
These observations are in line with the HOPE Foundation’s objectives of encouraging and supporting multi-disciplinary innovative academic research and disseminating the results to the community and policy makers throughout the country. There are plenty of opinions out there but progress can only be made on the basis of sound research. The Foundation is without question in the forefront of developing that core group of researchers that hopefully will continue to focus its efforts on the needs of current and future generations of older New Zealanders. It is clear that the Government does not have the resources to fund all of the needed research, hence the rationale for The HOPE Foundation as a private, non-government funded initiative.
The HOPE Foundation identifies with the Government’s emphases as stated in the Health of Older People Strategy, the Government’s action plan to 2010 to support positive ageing. The Strategy states that the concept of Positive Ageing “embraces a number of factors including health, financial security, independence, self-fulfilment, community attitudes, personal safety and security and the physical environment. Positive ageing means that older age is both viewed and experienced positively and includes changing attitudes and expectations amongst younger generations regarding ageing and older people.”
To this list of the necessities for good ageing, The Foundation would add by way of expansion: quality well-designed housing, good nutrition, easy access to public transport, competent financial advice, access to an appropriate range of community services, flexible working conditions for those desiring to continue working, spiritual support and reliable, affordable and non-complex communications systems.
The Foundation, through its scholarship programme at the Universities of Auckland, Waikato, Massey, Victoria (Wellington) and Otago is actively generating and supporting New Zealand-based research into ageing as it affects New Zealanders and the New Zealand community. It does not limit its funding support to health issues important as these are, but recognising with the Government that good ageing involves many factors, is prepared to sponsor research in a variety of disciplines. For an update on the Foundation’s scholars, click here.