New Zealanders of advanced age make up one of the fastest growing groups in our population. Doing research into ageing and health helps us understand how best to support older New Zealanders.
To learn more about older New Zealanders and their health and wellbeing, researchers at the University of Auckland have set up a study called Life and Living in Advanced Age: a Cohort Study in New Zealand – Te Puāwaitanga O Ngā Tapuwae Kia Ora Tonu (LiLACS NZ). It is led by Professor Ngaire Kerse and Dr Lorna Dyall from The University of Auckland. It began in 2010.
The Ministry of Health provides funding to the LiLACS programme.
Aims of the LiLACS research programme
LiLACS NZ will improve the amount of information and evidence we have about New Zealanders of advanced age. The aims of the research are to:
- describe the health status of Māori and non-Māori of advanced age
- explore the different factors that have an effect on older people’s health
- explore the factors that can help older people maintain their independence
- explore how health and social services can better support older people
- provide information for people on how to stay healthy, well, and independent as they get older.
The study covers 937 older people living in the areas covered by the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Boards.
The 421 Māori participants were aged 80–90 years and the 516 non-Māori participants were aged 85 years when the research began in 2010.
One of the strengths of the research is that the number of Māori participants is large enough to have equal explanatory power. This means that the findings from this research have the same precision for Māori as for non-Māori.
LiLACS NZ is the world’s first longitudinal study of an indigenous population aged 80 and over.
New Zealand’s older population
In 2013 there were approximately 154,300 people aged 80 years and above, and 2.8% of them were Māori.
Statistics New Zealand has estimated that between 2011 and 2026 the population of Māori aged 80 and above will grow from 4400 to 11,700. This is an increase of 166% for Māori compared to a 40% increase for non-Māori.
LiLACS NZ findings
- Dementia: Supplementary Findings from LiLACS NZ for Section Five, ‘Service Use and Common Health Conditions’ in the report ‘Health, Independence and Caregiving in Advanced Age’ (May 2017)
- Intervals of Care Need: Need for care and support in advanced age (April 2017)
- Health, Independence and Caregiving in advanced age (December 2016)
- Extra help with daily activities in advanced age (November 2015)
- Participation in Māori society in advanced age (October 2015)
- Primary care in advanced age (October 2015)
- Independence in daily activities in advanced age (September 2015)
- Relationships and emotional support (September 2015)
- Hospital visits in advanced age (April 2015)
- Income in advanced age (April 2015)
- Medication use and perceptions of GP care in advanced age (March 2015)
- Alcohol use in advanced age (December 2014)
- Falls in advanced age (December 2014)
- Oral health in advanced age (June 2014)