Over 65's Health

This page gives brief information on some over 65's health issues and conditions that you may be interested in, and includes some links to articles and websites which we believe provide reliable information.


Dementia occurs as a result of physical changes in the brain that result in a decline in reasoning, memory and other mental abilities (the cognitive functions). Behavioural and personality changes can occur. As the decline progresses, there is eventually loss of the ability to carry out everyday activities adequately. 

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease. 

While no single factor has been identified as a cause for dementia of Alzheimer’s Disease, it is likely that a combination of factors, including age, genetic inheritance and environment are all responsible.  Alzheimer’s New Zealand is the organisation that assists dementia sufferers and their families.

Heart Problems

Heart problems including heart attacks affect thousands of New Zealanders every year.

Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD)

Also called Coronary Heart Disease and Coronary Artery Disease, occurs when the blood vessels (known as coronary arteries) which supply the heart muscle become narrowed (clogged up). IHD causes heart attacks, also known as myocardial infarction or coronary thrombosis. People with IHD often also have narrowing of blood vessels in other parts of the body including the brain, the kidneys and the feet. They have what is called Cardiovascular Disease. ‘Cardio’ refers to the heart and ‘vascular’ refers to the blood vessels). Cerebrovascular disease affects the brain. Peripheral vascular disease affects the blood vessels in the peripheries especially the feet.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of poor health and death in New Zealanders. There are a number of factors which can increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease – their Cardiovascular Risk.

You can calculate your cardiovascular risk (your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years) using the knowyournumbers tool.


In a person with osteoporosis, the density, quality and strength of bone are reduced, leading to weakness of the skeleton and increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis is a major health issue in New Zealand. It affects more than half of women and nearly a third of men over the age of 60 years. There are treatments available which can help strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of fracture.


Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is a painful blistering rash caused by the reactivation of the chicken pox virus (Varicella).

There is now a Shingles vaccine available in New Zealand. It can be used to prevent Shingles in adults aged 50 years and over.

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