- Health effects of losing a spouse - WHW Sept 2001
- Through a glass darkly: Seeing old age and the old - WHW Sept 1999
- The ageing population - debunking the scaremongering - WHW Dec 1998
- Older and bolder? Pensioner paradise is not yet here - WHU April 1998
- Older Women: The Silent Majority - WHA Seminar March 1998
- Older and bolder? Not when it comes to smear tests - WHU April 1997
- WHIS: Mid-life Resource pack
September 2001 Women's Health Watch
The reaction of older people to the death of a spouse varies, depending on the stress levels caused by caring for dying relative. United States researchers investigated the reaction of caregivers to the death of a spouse because most deaths occur among older people with disabling conditions. This means family members have to care for their sick relative for an extended period.
Researchers studied about 130 people aged 66-96 whose spouse had died and looked for factors such as depression symptoms, antidepressant medication use, weight and health risk.
An interesting finding was that caregivers who were stressed while caring for their dying relative showed significant improvement in health-risk after the death of their spouse.
The authors say depression scores remained high but increased for spouses who were not caring for their dying relatives. Non care-givers also showed significant weight loss.
The authors conclude that the impact of losing one's spouse varies. For people who are stressed before the death, the death itself does not increase their level of distress. Instead they show a reduction in health risks.
However noncaregivers who lose a spouse show increased depression and weight loss.
Ref: JAMA 2001; 285: 3123-29
September 1999 Women's Health Watch
Anne Else challenges alarmist ideas about aging in New Zealand in this address, which she gave at the Auckland University's winter lecture series.
102-year-old Bessie Scott delivered the ball for the rugby test between the All Blacks and the Springboks on 10 July 1999. She was chosen through a competition; the 70-year-old woman who suggested her said she would be an appropriate choice in the International Year of Older Persons, because she had 'shown courage, determination and strength in her lifetime, just as our rugby players do today'.
Bessie Scott, we were told, is fiercely independent and still lives alone in her Mosgiel home. Although officials decided to drive her onto the field, she could have walked instead. She is a keen rugby fan, though she had never before seen a test match live.
The Bessie Scott story represents the old as active, determined and involved individuals, receiving their rightful due from a respectful society which recognises their human value. This is in sharp contrast to the reality facing most old women in New Zealand. In real life, lone old women are much more likely to encounter lack of recognition and neglect, and to be unable to get what they want, than groups of former masculine heroes are... Read More
December 1998 Women's Health Watch
Anne Else is the co-author, with Susan St John, of a new book on ageing and superannuation called A Super Future. The following is the text of a talk that Anne gave to the recent Women's Health Summit held in Wellington.
All over the world, women can now expect to live longer than their mothers did. Life expectancy is higher than it has ever been before. In New Zealand, women who reach 65 can expect to live for another 19 years. Men can expect to live for another 15 years.
The reasons for this male/female gap are complex. However, it is getting smaller. The other marked difference in New Zealand is between Maori and non-Maori. Unlike the difference between men and women, most of this gap is due to deaths before the age of 65. Maori death rates for the year after birth, for men aged 40 and over, and for cardiovascular disease and lung cancer are still high compared with non-Maori rates. But the overall difference is much smaller than it was even 20 years ago. For those who reach 65, it is now narrow... Read More
April 1998 Women's Health Update
Older women may live longer than men, but they are more likely to have poor quality of life, says Professor Elizabeth Markson, Director of the Gerontology Centre at Boston University, who was visiting Auckland in March. A full summary of her presentation is availible under 'Older Women: The Silent Majority'
In the USA, one in three women over 65 is impaired in daily living activities compared to one in five men. Women are five times more likely to be widowed and marriage has been found to insulate elderly men against illness. 'The moral of this is to marry a man seven years your junior if you don't want to be widowed,' Professor Markson quipped... Read More
Older Women: The Silent Majority - WHA Seminar March 1998 Read Here
April 1997 Women's Health Update
'Reaching the target of having 80% of New Zealand women enrolled on the National Cervical Screening Programme is a cause for celebration,' says Di Best, the new national coordinator. 'Now we need to put extra effort into reaching older women who are currently under-represented on the register. Quite commonly older women who are newly diagnosed with cervical cancer have an outdated or no screening history.'
Di Best says that around 40% of women sixty and over are enrolled, compared to over 90% of women aged from 25 to 39 years.
'Even allowing for a 25% upward adjustment for hysterectomies in older women, less than 65% are enrolled,' says Di Best.
The 1994 figures for cervical cancer in New Zealand highlight the higher incidence of this preventable disease among older women. Just over a quarter of all cases were in women over 60. Another nearly 20% occurred in women 50-59 years. Nearly 70% of all cervical cancer cases occur in women over 40 years. Despite the commonly held misconception of an upsurge in cases among young women, only 7.1% of cases occur in women under 30. A total of 226 cases of cervical cancer was registered in 1994.
Over 80% of women in the North Health region were enrolled on the cervical screening register by the end of February 1997. In Auckland 84% of women were enrolled, and in the Northland region 77% of women were enrolled.
The nursing group WONS has recently contracted with North Health for cervical screening health education for older women, new immigrants, women with disabilities and lesbians. WONS can provide free cervical smears for women on low incomes or with an out-of-date smear history. They are available to visit communities or medical practices throughout Auckland. Contact them at phone +64 9 366 3553
WHIS: Mid-life Resource pack details here
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