Over the next 20 years older people are likely to make up 25% of NZ’s population—a proportional increase that will impact the social, cultural and health landscape right across the country.
When it comes to improving the health and wellbeing of older people, their living well in the first place plays a critical role. Older person expos are becoming a valuable way to show seniors what services are available to support them to live—and age—well.
For example, the Selwyn District Council recently hosted the SWELL Ageing Well in Selwyn expo. Kirstin Dingwall-Okoye of Presbyterian Support helped to organise the event, which brought together 72 Exhibitors; including social services, health services, government services, community services, businesses and even local kaumatua weavers. Over 400 people visited on the day.
“If you had something that was of interest or could make life better, then we wanted you there,” said Kirsten. “Our vision was to provide a way to connect people with what they need to live well. We provided opportunities for music, dancing, exercise, display, tastings, giveaways, advice and discussion.”
Kirstin says that many people claim to want a long and happy life, and to experience old age, but in our society we are bombarded by ageist messages. Anti-aging products are marketed to us relentlessly, age-related prejudices can restrict our opportunities, and even our own bodies can turn on us—refusing to yield to our will quite like they used to!
“As we age one of our most empowering assets remains our ability to choose,” says Kirstin. “In order to make great choices in our older years, we need to know what opportunities and new knowledge will help us to continue living our best lives. Attending events such as SWELL or another older person expo can make a real positive difference for older people and their whānau.”
Older person expos take place all around the upper South Island. If you want to find one in your area, keep an eye on our Events Web page at www.psuppersouth.org.nz/events.