Health of the Older Adult: Functional Abilities

Health of the Older Adult: Functional Abilities

Discuss about the Health of the Older Adult for Functional Abilities.



Older adults are usually defined with respect to an array of characteristics such as age, changes in social role and alterations in the functional abilities. They are also known as senior citizens. This age group comprise of the individuals who are above sixty-five years of age. The process of ageing is definitely a biological fact and is beyond the control of humans. The older adults commonly are prone to sickness, diseases and syndromes in comparison to the younger adults. The characteristic features of old age are physical as well as mental. The fundamental mark of an old age, which affects the mind as well as the body, is “slowness of behavior”. This study aims to discuss four factors that have an influence over the quality of life of the older adults in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In addition, a critical examination of three positive life experiences of the older adult from a holistic view pint will be provided.

Four Factors Influencing the Quality of Life of the Older Adults in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Healthy Lifestyles

The relationship between health and lifestyle in elderly is significant (Trip, 2016).  According to a report of National Health Committee, much of the decline in the physical health related with an older age can be attributed to be immobility in comparison to the process of ageing. It has been documented in the report that in New Zealand every year a huge number of deaths takes place due to diabetes, colon cancer and coronary heart disease and has been attributed to lack of physical activity. Other factors of risk such as hypertension, obesity, anxiety and depression can be reduced by physical activity. Physical exercise helps in building and maintaining healthy muscles, joints and bones thus lessening the falling risk of the older adults and improving their ability in performing the daily tasks (Botwinick, 2013). 


Income helps in predicting the status of health. It involves a mutual association. A Lower income restricts the opportunities for health insurance, obtaining health insurance, appropriate accommodation and purchasing commodities as well as services, which can aid in health maintenance (Annear et al., 2014). Additionally, the opportunities of earning income are restricted by poor health. In New Zealand, the individuals aged above sixty-five gets New Zealand Superannuation (NZS), which is their main source of income. An additional source of income for them is paid work. The rates of labour force participation for men aged between fifty five and sixty four has generally dropped since the previous years but now it has been increased and the ages groups has been revised to 60-64 years old. On the other hand for woman over the age fifty, it has increased since ten years (Paniagua & Yamada, 2013). 


Having a proper accommodation can improve the ability of an individual for adjusting with the illness and disability together with making it more probable that they can persist to live alone. It has been suggested by the literature that in New Zealand and other countries, the elderly individuals want to reside as long as possible in their own residence, whether it belong to them or have been rented. It had been suggested by several researches that particularly the tenants have a fear that they will be shifted forcefully to a smaller housing as they become elderly or aged. The flats having only bed-room can restrict the social contacts together with the ability for engaging in the recreational activities or hobbies.  The literature has identified the need and value of maintaining the home and associated support services for the elderly individuals living in New Zealand (Milner, Myers & O'Byrne, 2015). 

Support and Care of the Family

A key factor that determines whether an elderly individual can continue to live in and independent manner involves the presence or absence of support by the family members. It has been believed that Maori families provide care to the elderly individuals living in their respective families. The prime factor, which influences family care, is considered not to be the size of the family but having a partner or daughter. A poor mental health can lead to the breakdown of care of the older individuals. The stress of care has become a rising concern and it can be associated with ill-treatment of the older people abuse as well as neglect. In comparison to the men, women live longer are more probable to live independently in an old age home. Staying independently and having limited sources of earning are the factors which forces elderly women to live in old age homes in comparison to the elderly men (Eliopoulos, 2013). 

Three Positive Life Experiences of the Older Individuals from a Holistic View Point


As the process of ageing takes place, the body of an older adult takes more time for repairing itself. Physical activity is recommended to all the elderly individuals as it keeps them fit and outweigh the hazards. The older adults suffering from chronic illnesses can perform physical exercises in a safe manner (Petersen & Minnery, 2013). Several medical conditions of the elderly individuals including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be improved with the help of exercises or physical activity. By regularly exercising, the health condition of the elderly people gets benefitted such as improvements in the lipid profile, hypertension, diabetes, neuro-cognitive functions, osteoporosis, functions of the immune system, chronic conditions and gastrointestinal functions (Findsen, 2016). In the older adults, a regular schedule of exercise is also linked with reduced mortality as well as age-associated morbidity (Park, 2015). Additionally, a study conducted by the Journal of the American Geriatrics in which an examination of the role of exercises in the older adults revealed that improvements in balance as well as functional reach have taken place as a result of training and it had also lessened the apprehension of falling  of the participants (Iecovich, 2014).


For the elderly individuals, ageism elimination together with the elimination of flexible options of work can be significant. The implementation of policies of human resources in the government sector which supports the employment of the elderly workers; offering family-friendly places of work by identifying those with the responsibilities of caring and permitting flexible as well as reduced working hours and ensuring opportunities for training are given to all the workers including the elderly workers (Kepa & Dyall, 2015).  It should be also be ensured that offering services to the elderly individuals should have an understanding as well as awareness regarding the issues of the elderly individuals. The members of the society should make efforts with the local government along with the business sector for promoting the programs of mentoring which enhances the experiences as well as skills of the elderly individuals. The community members should also enhance the opportunities for providing education to the elderly individuals and should implement the education of the adults along with the initiatives of retraining. They should also be encouraged for utilizing the skills as well as the experience. The volunteer organizations should also be supported as well as promoted (Provencher et al., 2014).

Health and Housing

For elderly individuals, an equitable, appropriate and accessible service of health is crucial. The members of the community should promote holistic-based wellbeing through the lifespan of the elderly individuals. There is a need to develop the options of health service, which facilitates the integrated planning, financial support and delivery of the services of care (Wiles & Jayasinha, 2013).  The community members should also make sure the availability of a variety of inclusive assessment of geriatric needs throughout the country of New Zealand (Barrett, Hale & Gauld, 2012). In addition, the community members should also offer appropriate as well as affordable options of housing for the elderly individuals. For state housing, they should maintain the policy of rents that are related to income (Stephens, Breheny & Mansvelt, 2015). They should provide sufficient help towards the expenditure of the rates of the local authority. The strengthening of the legal defense for the retirement of elderly individuals living in villages should be carried out. They should make efforts with the local government for increasing the supply of housing having low-rents. In addition, they should also investigate the alternatives for government aid for enabling the family having a low-income for purchasing homes (Clowes, 2016).


In the end, it can be concluded that the discussion four factors influencing the quality of life of the older adults in Aotearoa/New Zealand and three positive life experiences of the older individuals from a holistic viewpoint can evidently assist in knowing the health and living conditions of the older adults living in New Zealand. The literature has identified the need and value of maintaining the home and associated support services for the elderly individuals living in New Zealand. A poor physical as well as mental health can lead to the breakdown of care of the older individuals. The stress of care has become a rising concern and it can be associated with ill-treatment and abuse of the elderly people. Hence, the members of the society should make efforts with the local government along with the business sector for promoting the programs of mentoring which can enhance the experiences as well as skills of the elderly individuals effectively.


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