Healthy Ageing Strategy

New Zealand’s Healthy Ageing Strategy was released in December 2016. It sets the strategic direction for the next 10 years for the delivery of services to people into and throughout their later years. The vision for the Strategy is that: Older people live well, age well and have a respectful end of life in age-friendly communities.

The Healthy Ageing Strategy and detailed action plan were developed through extensive collaboration with the health and social sectors in New Zealand and are aligned to the World Health Organization’s Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health 2016.

The Healthy Ageing Strategy’s key strategic themes are:

  1. Prevention, healthy ageing and resilience throughout people’s older years
  2. Living well with long-term health conditions
  3. Improving rehabilitation and recovery from acute episodes
  4. Better support for older people with high and complex needs
  5. Respectful end-of-life care.

Developing the Healthy Ageing Strategy

Engagement was carried out in three phases: to establish strategic priorities and action areas, to develop actions, and then to consult on a draft Strategy.

Over 2000 people were involved in the workshops, meetings, hui, fono, teleconferences and online forum. Those involved included older people, their families, carers and communities; funders, planners and clinical professionals from district health boards; primary health and other non-governmental organisations; aged care service providers; Maori, Pacific and people of other ethnicities; people with disabilities; and government agencies.

Public consultation

During the public consultation period (13 July to 7 September 2016), over 200 individuals, networks and organisations made submissions on the draft Strategy.

A summary of written submissions received during the consultation period has been released, and individual submissions where clear concernt was given.  

Thank you to all of you who contributed to the process and for your thoughtful feedback. Your feedback has helped to shape and solidify the vision, direction and priorities for action, and your continued involvement will help to ensure that the Strategy is successfully implemented.

Implementing the strategy

Achieving the vision and goals set out in the Healthy Ageing Strategy requires the commitment and participation of many people working across and throughtout the health and social system, in partnership with NGOs, communities, older people and their families and whanau.

Download snapshots of the Strategy that show its connection with the overall Health Strategy, and the focus areas for the first two years of implementing the Healthy Ageing Strategy. 

The Strategy itself was launched by the Associate Minister of Health in December 2016 with the priority being to develop an implementation plan to detail how the Strategy’s 48 priority actions will actually be rolled out over the first two years.

Priority actions 2019–2022

Ageing well – Te pai o ngātau o te kaumātuatanga

  • Develop and support the growth of age-friendly communities
  • Increase physical and mental resilience
  • Work across government on the socioeconomic determinants of health to prevent harm, illness and disability and improve people’s safety and independence

Healthy Ageing Strategy: Ageing well  (pdf, 174 KB)

Acute and restorative care – Ngātuāhuatanga manaaki, whakaora i te hunga māuiui

  • Reduce inappropriate acute admissions and improve assessment processes
  • Prevent unnecessary acute hospitalisations and emergency department attendances
  • Support rehabilitation closer to home.

Healthy Ageing Strategy: Acute and restorative care (pdf, 150 KB)

Living well with long-term conditions – E noho ora ana i roto i ngā māuiuitanga o te tinana

  • Implement models of care that are needs based, person-centred and equitable
  • Support the capacity and capability of the workforce to provide care and support for older people with a more complex and diverse range of health and support needs
  • Strengthen implementation of the New Zealand Dementia Care Framework and cognitive impairment pathways.

Healthy Ageing Strategy: Living well with long term conditions (pdf, 182 KB)

Supporting people with high and complex needs – He tautoko i te hunga pakeke he uaua, he maha hoki o rātau taumahatanga

  • Focused care of frailty in the community
  • Better integrate services for people living in aged residential care
  • Integrate funding and service delivery around the needs and aspirations of older people to improve the health outcomes for priority population groups
  • Improve integration of information from assessment and care planning with acute care services, and with those responsible for advance care planning
  • Build the resilience and capability of family and whānau, volunteer groups and other community groups that support older people with high and complex needs and those with end-of-life care needs.

Healthy Ageing Strategy: Supporting people with high and complex needs (pdf, 209 KB)

A respectful end of life - Te mate rangatira i ngā tau whakamutunga o te hunga pakeke

  • Build a greater palliative care workforce closer to home
  • Improve the quality and effectiveness of palliative care

The priority actions for this area of focus continue from the first phase of implementation. In future years these actions will be managed and monitored as part of a dedicated stream of work on palliative care. This work stream is currently being developed.

Healthy Ageing Strategy: Respectful end of life (pdf, 183 KB)

Implementation, measurement and review – Whakatinana, inenga, arotake

  • Monitor the performance of the system in implementing the strategy.

Healthy Ageing Strategy: Implementation, measurement and review (pdf, 154 KB)

Priority actions: The first two years

Ageing well

  • Supporting age-friendly communities through inter-agency promotion, developing advice and tools and building partnerships
  • Increasing resilience through promotion of strength and balance programmes (including food and nutrition, physical activity, reducing alcohol-related harm) and social connections
  • Building cross government alliances to reduce family violence and other social factors for health ageing
  • Improving health literacy by supporting take-up of technology, online content and awareness of advance-care planning.

Acute and restorative care

  • Supporting initiatives to reduce avoidable acute admissions
  • Streamlining acute assessment tools and processes
  • Improving the patient journey, quality of care, discharge planning, family engagement and cultural responsiveness of services through sharing best practice
  • Smarter use of data to identify older people at risk of falls
  • Improved rehabilitation by building relationship with primary care, allied health and other partners
  • Incorporating ‘restorative’ care models where appropriate and ensuring teams are deployed effectively.

Living well with long term conditions

  • Improving models of home and community care by focusing on the needs of older people and their families, and respecting cultural differences
  • Improving conditions for kaiāwhina workforce, and developing a workforce plan for healthy ageing
  • Better support for people to live well with: dementia, diabetes, stroke, musculoskeletal conditions, mental illness and substance abuse, low vision
  • Promoting self-management by giving older people the tools and support they need, including guidance, technology and information to support self-care and reduce social isolation.

Supporting people with high and complex needs

  • Work with the sector to identify and test frailty identification tools for primary care settings
  • Agree standard referral and discharge protocols for people moving into and out of residential care facilities
  • Facilitate access to medicines management for people living at home and in residential facilities.

Respectful end of life

  • Complete and implement a palliative care action plan
  • Implementation of Te Ara Whakapiri: Principles and guidance for the last days of life
  • Developing options for surveying patient and family experience.

Implementation, measurement and review

  • Planning and delivering a coordinated programme of work towards the Healthy Ageing Strategy goals
  • Improving collection and use of older people’s experiences of care, and engaging older people in DHB forums
  • Co-designing of minor ailments/referrals service as part of the Pharmacy Action Plan
  • Reviewing implementation progress and publishing indicators for District Health Boards
  • Improving our knowledge base through greater collaboration in research development and dissemination.

Key achievements over the first two years

  • Implementation of a nationwide programme of falls and fracture prevention and treatment initiatives, led by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and District Health Boards
  • improved remuneration, training and employment conditions for care and support workers in aged care
  • initial work on a National Framework to improve consistency and quality for home and community support sector services
  • significant progress by the Office for Seniors in supporting the establishment of age-friendly cities and communities, and Hamilton and New Plymouth being accepted into the World Health Organization Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.

Our focus for 2019 - 2022

There are 26 priority actions for 2019 - 2022, which sit under nine key focus areas, and complement the ongoing work related to the priorities of the first two years:

  1. Maintain and enhance older people's capacity through supportive environments, health promotion and disease minimisation and prevention.
  2. Improve the wellbeing of people by coordinating assistance to socially isolated older people.
  3. Prevent unnecessary acute hospitalisations and emergency department attendances.
  4. Support rehabilitation closer to home.
  5. Implement models of care that are needs based, person-centred and equitable.
  6. Support the capacity and capability of the workforce to provide care and support for older people with a more complex and diverse range of health and support needs.
  7. Improve support for informal carers.
  8. Monitor the performance of the system in implementing the Strategy. A priority action to enable this is the development of an outcomes and measurement framework for this purpose.
  9. Strengthen implementation of the New Zealand Dementia Care Framework and cognitive impairment pathways.