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A minimum income for healthy living (MIHL) – older New Zealanders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2011

JESSICA O'SULLIVAN*
Affiliation:
School of Population Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
TONI ASHTON
Affiliation:
School of Population Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
*
Address for correspondence: Jessica O'Sullivan, c/o Associate Professor Toni Ashton, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, PO Box 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. E-mail: toni.ashton@auckland.ac.nz

Abstract

Governments around the developed world are seeking to meet the challenges of the ageing population through strategies which promote a holistic approach to ageing, captured in catch-phrases such as ‘successful’, ‘active’, ‘positive’ and ‘healthy’ ageing. These strategies are supported by a growing body of research, with a particular emphasis on the prerequisites for health and quality of life. Drawing on that research, and using a methodology developed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the ‘Minimum Income for Healthy Living (MIHL): Older New Zealanders’ study used a health lens to investigate the retirement income needs of older New Zealanders living independently in the community. The MIHL was estimated for people living alone, couples, renters and debt-free home owners. In each case, the MIHL estimates were appreciably higher than the universal state pension paid to older New Zealanders. People living alone and those renting their homes were shown to be worse off than couples and debt-free home owners, respectively. The results highlight that many older New Zealanders are living on an income which may not be enough to support a healthy life. This has important implications for the demand for health, residential and social services and brings life to the question of what level of income might be needed in retirement.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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