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Factors Influencing Health and Well-Being in the Older Adult  

Stephen Neville, BA(Nursing), MA(Hons), RCpN, MCNA(NZ). Senior Academic Staff Member, Faculty of Health and Sciences, Christchurch Polytechnic.  

Fiona Alpass, BA, MA(Hons), Ph.D. Senior Lecturer/Research Co-ordinator, School of Health Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North.

ABSTRACT

Both in New Zealand and internationally there are increasing numbers of people living well into their senior years. Not only are more individuals reaching late adulthood, more are living beyond this stage. Because of corresponding increases in illness and/or disability this phenomenon has implications for the provision of health care to communities. This article offers a literature review of selected factors influencing the health and well-being of older people, with a particular emphasis on the older male. Implications for nursing practice in New Zealand are discussed.  

KEY WORDS: Older adult, older men, well-being, gerontological nursing  

INTRODUCTION

In relation to the total population of New Zealand the proportion of older persons is gradually increasing (Melding, 1997). This trend is in line with a global increase in numbers of older people (Belsky, 1990; Butler, Lewis & Sunderland, 1991; Eliopoulos, 1997; Santrock, 1997). In 1996, 11.8% of the population in New Zealand was 65 or over (Bonita & Beaglehole, 1998; Ministry of Health, 1997). It is estimated that in 2025 the proportion will have increased to 18-19%. Due to the association of Nursing Praxis in New Zealand Vol. 14 No. 3 1999 Page 37 increased age with long term illness and disability, demand for health care also rises. Often the older person experiences health and wellness issues specific to old age as well as those that can affect a person of any age (Byrne, 1995).   Continued

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