Discuss About The Older Adult Life In New Zealand Perception?
The quality of life of a person is the perception of that individual in regards to the position they hold in life, this position is viewed on the perspective of value systems and the culture of their location in relation to their expectations, goals, concerns and standards. The world’s population is aging with many people being 65 years and above as compared to the whole population. According to the Help Age Foundation and the United Nation Population Fund, there is a predicted increase in the expected life expectancy for global life (Lorna et. al, 2014).
The aging process is complex since it involves external physical changes, a decline in dexterity and mobility, lower sensory acuity and a decrease in stamina or strength. This essay is aimed at discussing the positive life experiences and factors influencing quality of life for old adults in New Zealand. This quality of life in older adults is influenced by factors that include healthy lifestyles, environment, socioeconomic and mental health.
A healthy lifestyle influences better quality of life for older people, the much physical decline that is experienced during old age is mainly caused by inactivity rather than the process of aging. Furthermore, every year 7,800 deaths are reported in New Zealand and they result from heart disease, diabetes and cancer attributed to lack of physical activity. Engaging in physical activity can reduce the prevalence of diseases and the risk factors associated with lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure and obesity. Physical exercise helps in maintaining and building healthy bones, joints and muscles thus reducing the risk of falling. Furthermore, it improves the ability of older people to perform tasks. These activities including swimming, gardening, use of wheelchairs and walking (Ministry of Health, 2012).
Socioeconomic and mental health
A good social, emotional, and mental health positively affects the lives of older adults. In contrast to this, poor mental health affects ageing negatively. It is believed that later life sicknesses is somehow eased with a mindset that positively embraces life since it promotes mind consciousness which makes people confident their health status. Mott and Riggs & Mott (2004) concluded that many old adults with several diseases had a perception of positive health mainly because they believed they were individually in control of their lives (p.125). Another finding based on a study on lifestyles and health of the old Maori adults had results similar to this (Te pumanawa , 2007).The involvement of old people in activities that are meaningful ensured health was generally better ( Seedsman, 2008).
Personal income influences the quality of life of an individual in old adults in a two-way link. A low income hinders the ability to purchase healthcare, health insurance, purchase of essential goods and access to appropriate housing that helps in maintaining proper health. Furthermore, poor health of an older adults limits their opportunities to income earning. Older people in New Zealand have a low income. The main source of income for the older people is superannuation (Ministry of Social Development, 2016).
Paid work is also another additional source of income for older people. Women in late fifties have an upward trend in participating in labour force for the last decade. Those in early sixties have experienced a significant increase over the last four years. A source of income that is promising to the older people is selling the larger homes that they own and moving into smaller homes that they can afford ( Seedsman, 2008).
The environmental factors that influence the quality of life of adults include attitudes, perceptions, housing, transport, community friendship and participation. According to Mott and Rigg (2004), lack of public transport and isolation limits the ability of the older people to move from one place to the next thus hindering the involvement in active social life and confining them to their own lives and suburbs (p. 125).
Furthermore, lack of transport systems limits access to doctors appointments therefore it negatively affects healthcare and visiting friends leading to a poor quality of life. Older drivers are too fragile and might face severe injuries therefore, they need smoother transport facilities. The transport should be affordable and accessible to older people; presently there are ferries, rail and bus transport. Appropriate housing also enhances the ability of older people to adjust to illnesses and disability and it makes them likely to live independently. It is always the desire of every old person to live in their personal homes for a longer period of time (Mott & Rigg, 2004).
Positive life experiences for older people.
Many scientists have looked into the various aspects of old age and concentrated on the positive areas. They have highlighted the policies and techniques that can help in developing more resilience while intensifying the sense of control and fulfillment despite many challenges, related to growing older. Positive aging combines choices made in the later years of an individual and it provides the opportunity to live a delightfully active, happy and productive lives. It is a constructive and positive view of growing in old age therefore accepts growing old as a normal development and a continuous process that happens to human beings. (Kendig & Brooke, 2016).
Engaging in physical activities.
The World Health Organization and the New Zealand Government recommends physical activities to older people in New Zealand as part of enhancing a positive life. They are advised to limit their sedentary life styles and be physically active as possible as this ensures they live a healthier life in old age. The WHO recommends this because an increase in the physical activities and reduction in the sedentary behavior, reduces the threat it poses in causing death and illnesses (Reza, 2016).
Physical fitness is essential to older people since it maintains health and improves muscular functions for the weak older adults. It enhances their well being, sleep and quality of life. According to the Ministry of Health, (2012), 55 percent of men and 47 percent of females were physically active in all the ethnic groups between 65 and 74 years old, after 75 years, the number lowered to 38 percent and 28 percent for men and women respectively. Furthermore, a comparison on people who live in communities and residential care shows that people are inactive in residential care places.
The ethnic group in New Zealand with the most physical activity is the Maori, the group has a representation of over 65 years of age .Nevertheless, their general health status is very low. Health workers should support the Maori and ensure they continue with the active physical lifestyles in old age. In addition to this, they need education to improve their lives on other aspects such as good nutrition. The Asian people are the most sedentary followed by the Pacific people and the health practitioners are supposed to educate them to involve themselves in active physical activity (Ministry of Health, 2012).
Accessible Health Services for older people.
Disability and diseases increase with age, the diseases affect older people emotionally, mentally and spiritually in a holistic viewpoint. The disabilities range from psychiatric, sensory (hearing and vision), cognitive to mobility. The Maoris are more likely to have obesity disabilities and chronic diseases such as diabetes. The most common cause of death is the heart diseases, other diseases are also increasing with age and these include respiratory diseases, stroke and cancers ( Karen & Lorna, 2012).
Dementia is common with an increase in age, 70 % of the people with dementia are given home based care. Older people prefer staying in their own homes but this is only possible with more home support, security and access to healthcare services (Barbara, 2009). The Ministry of Health has developed a strategic plan to support a positive life experience for older people and cater for the increased numbers of old people who are in need of health and disability services. The strategic plan includes identifying old people as a real high need group and identifying chronic diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes as the most devastating .Furthermore, the strategy treats healthier lifestyles to older people as a priority (Ministry of Health, 2011).
The health ministry uses an effective strategy to oversee a care service that incorporates home based care programs that encourages people to be independent. Primary Health Organizations have been developed to lower the cost of primary health services to consumers .The government has a role to play in improving and maintaining health of the people by providing essential public health services such as healthy clean water, disposal of waste and other environmental services .Furthermore, it has a role of encouraging older people to participate in healthy outdoor activities in recreational facilities ( Gitchen & Steve, 2011).
Income for older people.
Income is an important part in experiencing positive life. Income at retirement is a major priority for older people because income it affects every other aspect of life. Older people aged 65 years and above get the New Zealand superannuation, a universal base benefit set at 65% of the average wages earned. The superannuation is fortnightly set at $ 619.46 for a single person and $ 470 for the married. Furthermore there are entitlements that are supplementary from Work and Income organization which are aimed at mitigating the cost of accommodation, health use, disability costs and special needs (Ministry of Social Development, 2011).
The staff of Work and Income, New Zealand visit the rest homes to ensure that awareness of entitlements is made to the people (Ministry of Social Development, 2011). Factors such as the shortage of skills, dependency ratios and the level of superannuation will affect extent at which people work past 65 years of age. A high work force is also needed to offer skills to the young people and maintain high levels of GDP in the country thus a need for the older people to work in building the economy ( Reza, 2016).
In conclusion, the quality of life in older people in Artearoa is influenced by aspects such as healthy lifestyles which encourage people to engage in physical activities since it enhances better quality of life. Furthermore, it is also influenced by personal income, socioeconomic and mental health, and the environmental factors such as attitudes, perceptions, housing, transport, community friendship and participation of older people in communal affairs. The older adults in New Zealand also have positive life experiences that they face in older age such as engaging in physical activities that contributes to their well-being, access to better health services and access to appropriate income for the older people.
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