HOPE Foundation Newsletter December 2018

Posted by on 21 December 2018

THE GENEROSITY OF people is what makes the HOPE Foundation function on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.

As we approach Christmas it is timely to thank those whose generous spirit has enabled us in the past year to provide 10 post graduate scholarships, 2 summer student scholarships, 1 travel grant, support to researchers to present at the NZ As­sociation of Gerontology conference, fund raise and have fun.

Dr Maree Todd,
Clinical Director,
Older People’s Health,
Auckland District Health Board.
Chair of the Foundation

maree todd

I would like to thank Richard Ray for many years of support to the Board. Without the dedication of Board members like Richard we would not be where we are today. This does bring up a vacancy so if any of you know of, or are interested in helping, then let me know .

The HOPE Foundation could not have achieved what we have without our main sponsor. The Selwyn Foundation has been very generous in their support over several years and we are very grateful for this. However this support is changing as they focus on research of their own. This will be both a challenge and opportunity for us as we look to broaden our support base.

The Friends committee, under the leadership of Karen Andersen Yates have been very active this year. They have increased their supporters, and have held several successful functions. The most recent one was a fund raising auction hosted in the Ray White Offices in Remuera. Our thanks go especially to Megan Jaffe for making this possible.

To our supporters and donors thank you very much. Your generosity has allowed us to help young researchers, add to the pool of experienced researchers and increase knowledge in the ageing field.
Generosity is known to be positive for the health and welfare of those giving, even in small ways. Support for this comes from the  well-known aphorism, “it is better to give than receive”, and to modern brain imaging showing positive changes, so I encourage you to continue your support for all our benefit!

Giving can be in the form of time, expertise (Bupa supports our Treasurer) or donations. Consider supporting a scholarship in honour of a family member. Consider a bequest.
The increase in the proportion of people who are privileged to get to old age is one of mankind’s greatest achievements but this demographic change is unprecedented in human history.
We need to ramp up the research in all areas of human endeavour, so older people can live to their potential as contributing and valued members of society.

Thank you all for your generosity.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all

Thanks to Our 2018 Major Sponsors


  • JOGIA Charitable Trust 
  • St Andrews Village 
  • Bollard Charitable Trust 
  • Lois McFarlane Charitable Trust 
  • Lawrance & Stephanie - Agnes Hope Day Trust 
  • Russell Charitable Trust
  • Barbara Ellen Watson Trust
  • Friends of the HOPE Foundation

What practically does the HOPE Foundation support achieve?

By Dr Jill Waters

WE ARE OFTEN ASKED about the outcomes of our scholars research projects and how the funding has helped in improving ageing research in New Zealand. So, I thought I would highlight the achievements of three of our scholarship recipients, to show the variety of ways your donation has made a difference. 

Converting existing houses into designs more appropriate for older people

Fatemeh Yavari, an architectural graduate from Victoria University of Wellington, has published her PhD study looking at practical options of converting two common New Zealand housing types (villa and state house design) into more appropriate sustainable housing choices, to allow older people to age in place. Her study showed that the conversion of a three-bedroom house to accommodation designed to meet the requirements for ageing in place is possible.

However, energy and resource savings come from sharing, rather than just living in smaller units, and occupancy rate is the key parameter in potential energy savings.

Her proposed conversions were reviewed by a focus group of design and ageing experts, as well as two groups of potential clients aged 55 years plus. Private units were preferred over larger shared living space, making the villa conversion the preferred option. Fatemeh’s work has been published in ScienceDirect, a leading platform of peer reviewed scholarly literature, as well as on “The Conversation”, website (https://theconversation.com/flatting in retirement how to provide suitable and affordable housing for ageing people-101598).

Fatemeh also presented a paper “Conversion of an Existing Housing Stock for an Ageing Population” at the International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference in June, held in Italy, which discussed the impact of furniture and appliances on life cycle energy.

Exercise may be a means of delaying or slowing ageing motoneuron degeneration

Ashley Gillon, from the Department of Physiology at the University of Otago, has had his PhD research published in GeroScience, a bimonthly, peer reviewed international journal, that publishes articles on biological research related to ageing. His work looked at muscle atrophy, which is caused by the withdrawal of motor nerves, and unfortunately, a feature of ageing skeletal muscle.

His work found lumbar muscle in older mice showed neuromuscular degeneration, motoneuron loss and a reduction in key transport proteins. They then looked at whether exercise inhibited these changes and found that active elderly mice experienced less motoneuron death, improved neuromuscular junction morphology and better retention of key transport proteins.

Exercise therefore, may be a means of delaying the onset or slowing the progress of ageing motoneuron degenerative processes in humans.

HOPE support makes it possible to take local research to an international audience

Marie Jardine, a speech language therapist studying at Auckland University, has used her dysphagia (swallowing) research, in collaboration with the University of California, to develop an international normative swallowing database, to assist with differentiating normal ageing changes from pathological dysphagia. This will have invaluable clinical implications for speech-language therapists both nationally and internationally.
Marie has also written a small article for this newsletter, which follows, on the benefits of traveling to the Dysphagia Research Society Conference in Baltimore, USA: –

“2018 would have been a very different year for me, without the support from the HOPE Foundation. This scholarship allowed me to travel to Baltimore and present at the Dysphagia Research Society meeting. It is highly competitive to obtain a platform presentation and an honour to present to an international multidisciplinary audience of esteemed researchers and like-minded students in my field.
“It was also a huge delight to receive the Springer Publishing Junior Investigator Travel Scholarship, International Award. From this experience, I have been offered opportunities for further international collaboration and been invited to submit a research article to the prestigious “Geriatrics” journal.

“For student researchers passionate about supporting and enhancing the lives of older people, the HOPE Foundation is a brilliant initiative. It has the potential to broaden horizons and open doors to invaluable opportunities, so I sincerely wish to thank the HOPE Foundation.”

Please also look at several video interviews of our scholars presenting their work. This fabulous addition to our scholar’s page has been made possible through the generosity and expertise of Peter Michel from Head to Head Productions, who voluntarily gave his time to this project.

Peter’s main line of work and interest is with producing Living Histories. If anyone is interested in contacting him regarding this, his email is familydvd@xtra.co.nz or website www.headtohead.co.nz.

HOPE-Selwyn Summer Scholarships 2018/2019

These $6000 scholarships are awarded to support high achieving students at Auckland University with an ageing focused research project, over the 10 week summer break. The aim is not only to achieve high quality worthwhile research but also to enable these students to gain valuable skills by working with experienced researchers, who supervise these projects. Since 1995, the HOPE-Selwyn Foundation has funded 37 of these scholarships. This is in addition to the 81 post graduate National research scholarships. Rebecca Knell and Jessica Chase are the two very worthy recipients of the HOPE-Selwyn Summer Scholarships for 2018/19

Jessica Chase

Supporting Family Carers with End of Life Caregiving: What Advice Would Carers Themselves Give?


During the Te Pakeketanga: Living and Dying in Advanced Age study, family and whanau members who had cared for relatives who died in older age were asked to provide advice for those who may take on the same responsibility in the future. Using data from the Te Paketanga study, the purpose of this project is to create a resource for family using advice from family experienced in caring for a family member at the end of life. 

To date there are few resources for family new to caregiving and none have been developed using advice from those with experience in this role.  While some information may be available for new family carers from health professionals, there is little opportunity to access advice from family experienced in caregiving. Using key themes identified from the Te Paketanga interview data, a video will be made to ensure the information is made more accessible to those who are likely to use it.  This video will be disseminated via the Te Arai Palliative Care and End of Life Research group blog https://tearairesearchgroup.org/ social media, and existing networks (e.g. with organisations such as Age Concern and Dementia Auckland).

This summer project will be supported by the Te Arai Palliative Care and End of Life Research Group https://tearairesearchgroup.org/ who are experienced in developing similar consumer focused video resources. 

Rebecca Knell

Trends in the place of death of older people across populations


My name is Rebecca Knell and I am a second-year health science and commerce conjoint student at the University of Auckland. The proposed research aims to utilize new data to describe recent trends in the place of death of older people across populations. The Ministry of Health determines that older people account for the largest spend of health resources. As the oldest are the fastest growing age group this has implications for the planning and funding of care services in the future.

The research process will involve collecting and analysing data to determine international trends in this sphere of health care. The wider context here is the aging population worldwide and the diversity of late-stage care between populations. International comparisons at of the late stage of life will help guide best practice in aged care in New Zealand.

The findings will be framed through the impact of social context, values, and cultural variations to assess the similarities and differences in health care in late life and how they are changing over time. The findings from this project will update those published previously, to enable their ongoing use to guide policy to ensure high quality and effective health care for older people.

Many thanks to the HOPE -Selwyn Foundation for sponsoring this research. 


Some of this year’s successful fund-raising events – Left: entertainment from the Sacred Heart College String Sextet. Right: Megan Jaffe with the Kerry Switzer painting he generously donated for Auction Night. Below: Friends of HOPE at the Magical Night in Vienna concert

As the years quietly pass by, research into ageing takes on a whole new personal significance. This is one of the drivers that encourage the Committee of Friends to work together and raise fund for research.

Recently we welcomed Kaye Davies on to the Friends Committee. Kaye is a Nurse Consultant specialising in the older age group and runs a private nurse business. She was instrumental in the very successful Auction, held at Megan Jaffe’s Ray White Real Estate premises in Remuera, which was not only a lot of fun but raised generous funds towards a scholarship.

Karen Andersen Yates,
Chair, Friends of the Foundation,

karen andersen yates

The work of the Friends Committee could not succeed without the many supporters of The HOPE Foundation. Thank you for attending our fundraising events this year and for your generosity. I sincerely hope that while you have supported the cause, you have also found enjoyment and met interesting people.

Our first event in the New Year will be the Annual Jazzy Summer Soiree on Sunday 24 February 2019. It will be a relaxed garden party styled event and you will be able to meet and speak to some of our scholars, meet new people while enjoying a summer drink and delicious finger food. If you are on our mailing list you will receive an emailed invitation. As we finish another year I say thank you for your support and we, the committee look forward to meeting you in 2019.

A visit to Gronigen...

Kristy Kang is a Bachelor of Health Sciences (First Class Honours) graduate, who is currently pursuing a Master of Health Science at the University of Auckland. Kirsty is aiming to do a PhD in effective community-based care practices for older people and their caregivers after this.

Kristy was awarded a scholarship to attend The Healthy Ageing Summer School at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. As she was unable to attend without financial support for her travel, she applied to the HOPE Foundation and was given funding to cover her airfare and train ticket. Kristy not only spoke at our Night in Vienna fund raiser but also wrote a report to the HOPE Board which included what she valued from this experience.

“Firstly, I learnt about the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in research. At the University of Groningen, you could see that healthy ageing was an important research focus across disciplines. In the Biology department, they work with model organisms like yeast to understand cell regeneration with the aim of finding a cure for Alzheimers. In the next building, the Lifelines team conduct longitudinal research with 167,000 people in northern Holland, to see how the population is ageing from infancy to adulthood. Research groups were very open in sharing their findings and collaborating to influence the next stage in research.

Recently the Lifelines team have found a certain cluster of people that have a significantly lower prevalence of dementia and so the Biology team are looking at their DNA, to see if there are any biological underpinnings for this phenomenon.

Secondly, it taught me that community-based care, even for the frail elderly, is possible. One of our lecturers helped design the Embrace Project which provides integrated care and support for older people living in the community, despite dealing with multiple co-morbidities. After sharing this with the Te Arai Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group upon my return, we are looking at ways of applying Embrace in the New Zealand context.

Lastly, I was inspired when one of our lecturers told us “Population ageing is not a doom! We have worked hard to achieve it. It is man -made and it is our success story”. This positive mind-set was eye opening, as I realized I had inadvertently started to focus on the flaws while experiencing the challenges that come with research. This strengths-based attitude allowed Dutch researchers to view ageing as an achievement

The Healthy Ageing Summer School allowed me to reaffirm my passion and commitment to healthy ageing research. The experiences and networks that I made at the Summer School would not have been possible without the help of the HOPE Foundation - an organization that nurtures budding researchers like me to grow and contribute to healthy ageing research.

You can also help by

  • Spreading the word about what we do / share this newsletter
  • Donating your time to the Friends Supporters to help with fundraising and committee work
  • Encouraging your children and grandchildren to invest in their futures by donating time and money (a baby girl born today has a 1 in 3 chance of living to 100 , a boy 1 in 4 and is likely to be fitter and healthier–think about the implications of that)
  • Consider a bequest