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Goal 8: People of all ages have positive attitudes to ageing and older people

Office for Senior Citizens.

The concept of positive ageing rests on the notion that growing older can be viewed and experienced positively. The focus is on both the attitudes and experiences of older people themselves, and on the attitudes, expectations and actions of younger people towards ageing and older people.

Actions to progress this goal have focused on:

  • intergenerational exchange of knowledge and experiences
  • raising awareness of the contributions older people make.

Intergenerational exchange of knowledge and experiences

The Upper Hutt City Council is developing a school programme for ANZAC day commemorations that will include older people sharing memories about their war experiences.

Similarly, the Wellington City Council is developing a programme aimed at eliminating intergenerational myths.

SAGES, funded by the Ministry of Social Development, enables older people to share their knowledge, skills and experiences (eg cooking, gardening and household budgeting) with younger families.

Transmitting knowledge is the focus of the Ministry of Pacific Affairs’ Pacific language resource. Older people are important guardians of language, and teachers of upcoming generations.

The New Plymouth District Council had a working party of younger and older people to plan intergenerational events. The result was intergenerational information technology workshops, in which younger people share their skills and knowledge with older people.

Raising awareness of the contribution older people make

Research funded by the Families Commission and the Gisborne District Council’s Grandparents Week help to show the diversity of the grandparenting role and celebrate grandparents’ contributions.

The South Taranaki District Council has been working with the South Taranaki Star to feature articles about older people's contributions.

What more could we do?

Sharing knowledge and experiences across generations helps to foster awareness and increase understanding and respect for all ages. Changing intergenerational attitudes helps progress other Positive Ageing Goals, such as older people feeling safer in their communities and older people who want to participate in paid work being able to do so.

We lack data on attitudes to ageing and older people, which makes it difficult to assess the extent and impact of ageism.

New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy – co-ordinated by the
Office for Senior Citizens – hosted by the Ministry of Social Development

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