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Conference to address critical ageing issues

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Re-framing the debate about future wellbeing for older people and the impact of clowning in dementia care are examples of a varied programme looking at the critical issues that are facing our country's growing elderly population that will be discussed at a conference in Wellington this month hosted by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS).

The "Moving Forward Together, Nuku Tahi - Hikoi Tahi - Maranga Tahi" Services for Older People Conference theme is about finding ways to cooperate and collaborate across different parts of the sector, the different cultures together with t?ngata whenua and different levels of wealth and income. The conference brings together national and international speakers to focus on a range of issues with representatives from organisations working with older people across the whole aged care sector. Rest home and hospital operators, home and community support as well as retirement housing providers will be among conference participants.

International expert on ageing Professor Simon Biggs will look at ways to re-frame the debate around the implications of policies around aging. He is calling for a radical re-think on the purpose and contribution of this historically unprecedented gift that our modern world has given us - a long life. Changing demographics and changing attitudes to ageing may require a re-think of the ways we address ideas, such as social inclusion and the contribution that older adults make to society.

Changing demographics also mean that there are more people in the age groups when dementia commonly begins. Clown doctor Jean-Paul Bell will be sharing his story of studying how injecting some humour and clowning in dementia has shown that "laughter really is the best medicine".

The conference is being held at Te Raukara - Te Wharewaka o Poneke on the Wellington Waterfront on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 March, 2012.

Keynote speakers include Jean-Paul Bell, founder of the Humour Foundation and the Clown Doctor Program in Australia, Professor Simon Biggs, School of Social & Political Sciences Melbourne University, Professor Chris Cunningham, M?ori Health & Development Massey University, Right Rev. Victoria Mathews, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch, and Charles Waldegrave QSO, leader of the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit in Lower Hutt.

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