Kaumataua wanted for survey

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(Source | Daily Post) The University of Auckland wants to hear from Maori in Rotorua born between 1920 and 1930 for a study about the health of those in their senior years.

The university is looking for 600 Maori in that age group, as well as 600 Pakeha born in 1925 and who live in the Bay of Plenty.

The project, known as the Life and Living in Advanced Age Cohort Study (Lilacs), is focused in the Bay of Plenty and has just been awarded funding for future investigations.

The aim of the longitudinal study, which started last year, and has recently been given the green light for the next two stages, is to investigate the health of those in advanced age.

The second phase will look particularly at dementia, which has been identified internationally as an epidemic of this century.

Professor Ngaire Kerse, joint lead researcher with Lorna Dyall, Mere Kepa and Karen Hayman, said the Bay of Plenty was chosen as the study’s focus because of its diversity and large Maori population. “Rotorua is situated in a geothermal area, it has a stable population and the economy is based around the tourist industry and primary production. Opotiki, Te Kaha and Whakatane are by the sea, while inland settlements have a forestry focus and Tauranga is an area of change and development,” Professor Kerse said.

She said they needed 200 Pakeha residents born in 1925 from Rotorua and 300 Maori from Rotorua, who were born between 1920-30 and they already had about 40 in each category.

She said being involved in the study would include an interview and health assessment which should take three hours in return for a small financial contribution.

Those taking part in the study would also be interviewed again after a year and after two years.

Researchers will focus on quality of life, social support, whanau/immediate family relationships, nutritional patterns, physical and psychological function with special attention to dementia and associated disability.

The differing economic basis and lifestyle patterns of these areas will be explored throughout the study.

“Therefore it is critical that as many people as possible participate to represent their areas,” Professor Kerse said.

She said it was important to understand the health of people of advanced age.

“We have a lot to learn from our elders, medically as well as intellectually, and the findings from this study will be used by health planners, communities and local organisations to better meet the needs of New Zealand’s older people.”

The project has been given $1.2 million funding by the Health Research Council, which will flow through to local organisations in the Bay of Plenty to fund interviews with people in advanced age 12 and 24 months after they first contributed to the study.

* Contact:

Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao Trust, Bella Moke, phone (07) 348 5384; Korowai Aroha Trust, Mala Grant, phone (07) 348 8454; Rotorua Area Primary Health Services, Jennifer Anastasi, phone (07) 349 3563 ext 2115 or 0800 LILACS (545 227).

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