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Spotlights

Needs Based Planning for Long Term Care Verses Political Imperative

Long-term care must be designed to facilitate the dignity, autonomy and personal wishes of older people while keeping them connected to their community and social networks. A recent study featured by CBC News shows that there is an increasing trend in declining wage, staff shortage and job dissatisfaction among Ontario, Canada’s personal support workers (PSW). "We want to make sure we're treating our elderly people with care, as human beings, and not as parts on an assembly line," said Brian Dijkema, co-author of the study. Not all countries currently have fully integrated systems to support long-term care – far from the truth.  The level of economic development or the proportion of care-dependent older people within their populations can be a limiting factor in achieving an integrated system to support long-term care.  Without integration there is less emphasis on the planning and development of services to support older people in their location and residence of choice. Promoting new ways of thinking about long-term care, including shifting to a central objective of optimizing functional ability should be the priority for all long-term care systems.  All countries need a fully integrated system of long-term care.  This may imply the development of a national plan and at a minimum, the plan should outline the services to be provided, who will provide them and how these services will be financed.  Serious consideration must be given to, how universal access will be facilitated, how quality will be ensured, and how the system will be coordinated to ensure the provision of integrated and comprehensive long-term care. Comprehensive planning based on population demographics must be adopted if services are to be situated in communities where they are most needed. No longer can needs be based on electoral aspirations of politicians such as exist in countries like Canada for example. IFA believes that governments must develop integrated systems that support long-term care provision based on need, with defined planning ratio benchmarks that ensure both, the allocation of residential and community care places.  Care provision and quality must be measurable across all service settings. Furthermore, long-term care provision must include the development of programs and services specific to the needs of informal/unpaid caregivers.  Research shows that 83% of long-term care provided to older adults coming from family members or other unpaid helpers, and they need help. To ensure services are developed and implemented where they are needed, governments must adopt needs-based planning ratios across defined electoral regions that identify where older people live.  Such ratios should be developed based on a regions’ population aged 70 years and over.  Long-term care provision must include formal residential care facilities and direct care services into the homes or places of residence for our older citizens. Those with special needs should be defined as people from Indigenous communities; people from non-English speaking backgrounds; people who live in rural and remote areas; those with special needs such dementia; and people who are financially or socially disadvantaged.  When considering planning ratios for indigenous communities, consideration must be given to life expectancy of the population. Recommended planning ratio provision in developed countries is 125 places per 1,000 people over the age of 70 with 55 of these places being allocated to community packages of care delivered to an older person’s place of residence and 70 places for the provision of residential and/or nursing home care. Adopting such a model would greatly enhance service provision when you consider that in Canada the average daily subsidy paid by government is approximately $150.00 per day in a nursing home care setting.  Extending subsidies to the provision of home-based package care at the same level could support 2-3 older people at home.  This would not only improve service provision to a greater number of individuals but minimize the number of inappropriate admissions to nursing homes. “Many older people in nursing homes in Canada could actually live in the community with a specially designed package of services rather than be inappropriately placed in a setting that does not help maintain and improve their functional ability” said Mr. GregShaw, Director International and Corporate Relations at IFA.

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You Heard It Here First: Hearing Is Critical to Healthy Ageing

A recent Washington Post article reports that hearing loss can increase risk of dementia, depression and falls.  Why? One theory is that hearing loss can cause the brain to strain to hear or understand what someone is saying at the expense of other brain functions. A second theory points to the high rates of social isolation associated with hearing loss, which has been linked to a range of health issues including Alzheimer’s disease and depression.  For more information on the link between hearing loss and brain health, contact IFA Expert Prof. Perminder Sachdev, Co-Director the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing in Australia. In addition, consider attending the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter”, where presentations will be made on the key sub-theme “maximizing senses”. A few months ago, the IFA was proud to join the World Hearing Forum, a global network of stakeholders promoting ear and hearing care worldwide, with the aim of promoting and supporting the implementation of the 2017 World Health Assembly resolution on the prevention of deafness and hearing loss. From 4-5 December 2019, the IFA will participate in the first World Hearing Forum Membership Assembly, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. The main objectives of the Membership Assembly are to: ·        Align members with the vision and mission of the World Hearing Forum; · Establish Working Groups and Steering Committee for the Forum; · Propose advocacy action plan for the next two years; · Serve as a platform for exchange of views among members; and · Explore possibilities for resource mobilization. Keep watch on IFAs social media for the next steps resulting from the World Hearing Forum, as IFA strives to improve functional ability for older people by raising awareness on the importance of hearing screening, health promotion, and hearing rehabilitation.

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Warning signs of diabetes in your eyes

World Diabetes Day on the 14 November is a time to bring awareness to the condition and its complications while also highlighting latest medical advancements and good practices.  Diabetes is known to be a major cause of disability and illness around the world, with devastating social and economic consequences for the individuals as well as society. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) – a complication of diabetes caused by damage to blood vessels in retina – can lead to vision loss and blindness. The good news is that over 50% of type 2 diabetes is preventable with early detection of the risk and lifestyle improvements.  Presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Spain this year was a study that demonstrated the power of science and humanity. Researchers from the Medical School at the University of Exeter used a newly developed biomicroscope to measure the autofluorescence in eyes which reflects the level of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). High levels of AGEs, detected among people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, can contribute to several diseases, including visual complications of diabetes such as retinopathy.   Being able to predict a person’s risk of developing diabetes also provides an opportunity to intervene and prevent long-term consequences. "Lens autofluorescence could be a robust marker of long-term diabetes control predicting future complication risks,” said Dr Mitra Tavakoli, lead author of the study. Blindness due to diabetic retinopathy has serious and life altering consequences to a person’s role and responsibilities as well as identity in family and society. Although early screening and management has been shown to avoid major damage occurs in eyes, individuals diagnosed with diabetes often do not have regular and routine eye exams.   Education, awareness and self management are several key principles for those with diabetes and the associated vision complications. The IFA together with IDF, IAPB and the Vision Academy are working to shape and influence policy to improve the vision health of people with diabetes through the DR Barometer Community. The Community is a collaborative network that brings together health care professionals, patient advocates, individuals living with diabetes and experts from around the world. Join the DR Barometer Community today and contact IFA expert Prof. Hans-Peter Hammes, who is recognized globally as preeminent in the treatment of diabetes and its complications.

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International Inspiration for Ageing Populations

Population ageing is accelerating around the world; however, every country is ageing at a different pace. In France, it took 115 years for the number of people aged 65 and older to increase from 7 to 14% of the national population, whereas in Japan, this change in demographic took only 26 years. By mid-century, half of the global population aged 60 and older will be in Asia, with the highest rates in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. A recent Forbes article outlines that with this demographic change comes great possibilities for Asia. Increasing longevity can drive growth for companies to target innovations to the ageing population, and inter-generational workforces will drive the business of the future. There is however a cautionary note: a longer life lived in poor health is not a reward to the individual or society.Many countries are turning their sights to certain countries in Asia where policy innovations and technology create an enabling environment for an ageing population. Japan, for example, incentives employers that retain older workers; South Korea has invested in smartphone and communication products to optimize engagement for older people; and some tertiary institutions in China offer older people skills and networking opportunities.  Contact IFA Expert Prof Rintaro Mori, Regional Advisor on Population Ageing and Sustainable Development, UNFPA Asia-Pacific Office, for the latest successful age-focused policies and practices in Asia. The Forbes article notes that government officials in Asia, and leaders in health and business are inspired and connected to the potential of the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘Decade of Healthy Ageing’ (2020 – 2030).  Ms Alana Officer, Senior Health Advisor of the WHO Ageing and Life Course department will open the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” in Niagara Falls, Canada on the Decade of Healthy Ageing as a focal point for current and future generations of global citizens. Be part of driving the agenda for the world’s ageing population by registering for the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing, and join delegates from more than 60 countries to learn from one another’s policies and practice for an ageing population. Key themes include Addressing Inequalities, Age-Friendly Environments, Combating Ageism, and Enabling Functional Ability.

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Vision Loss in Focus

October 10th marked not only World Sight Day 2019, but also the release of the WHO’s first ever World Report on Vision. While the report states that over 2.2 billion people around the world are currently suffering from some form of blindness (either complete or partial) the alarming fact is that without clear action this number is only expected to increase with the projections of population ageing. Given the trends and unequivocal evidence that early screening saves vision, it is difficult to understand why vision health has failed to capture the attention within the field of public health.  While vision impairment is not life threatening, the impact on functional ability is immense.  In a recent article entitled “Making Avoidable Blindness a Thing of the Past", many of the clinical and technological advances developed to address vision impairment are explored. These advances, while encouraging are only part of the solution.  As illustrated by the DR Barometer Study, a comprehensive, two-phase, multi-country study which shone a spotlight on the status of prevention, assessment and treatment of diabetic eye disease (DED), poor awareness continues to be a significant barrier for screening and treatment. This lack of awareness is especially troubling as the increase in type-2 diabetes globally is associated with a rise in the rate of diabetic retinopathy, one of the leading causes of preventable blindness.  Significant effort needs to be employed not only in the development of innovative new technologies, but in supporting patient education and empowerment and increasing the efforts around coordinated care for individuals living with diabetes. “While new technology is part of the solution to eliminating avoidable blindness, it won’t be the single solution,” Dr Andy Cassels-Brown, Medical Director, Fred Hollows Foundation Diabetic Retinopathy, while undoubtedly only one piece of this complex puzzle, has been identified by the WHO as one of the main causes driving the increased rates of vision impairment around the globe. This together with late detection, another key factor identified by the WHO and by the DR Barometer Study, makes diabetic retinopathy one of the most significant threats to vision health today.  To learn more about Diabetic retinopathy Join the DR Barometer Community today and connect with IFA expert Dr. Juan Carlos Silva, a key contributor to the WHO World Report on Vision and a valued member of the DR Community.

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Putting Your Vision First on #WorldSightDay

World Sight Day on the 10th October is a time to encourage friends, family and colleagues to have an eye exam. It is also a time draw attention to conditions that can lead to blindness and visual impairment. As people get older, many will develop aged-related eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Much less known is that older people are at greater risk of complications of shingles, which can develop in the eyes and cause vision loss. A recent study from the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan revealed that women and adults over age 75 years are most vulnerable to shingles in the eye, which will trigger corneal complications and result in permanent visual impairment, and, in rare cases, blindness. The diagnosis and treatment of shingles in the eye is often delayed, increasing the risk of sight-threating complications.  "Sometimes people complain of a headache, or think it's a skin infection, or allergy.  It's only when the characteristic rash comes out that patients are more definitively diagnosed, and that can lag.” says the lead James Chodosh, an ophthalmologist with expertise in viruses at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston. The good news is that there are effective vaccines for shingles, some being more than 90% effective in preventing the infection and recommended for people aged 50 years or over. “Older patients were at far greater risk for shingles in the eye highlighting just how important it is for older adults to get the shingles vaccination,” says Nakul Shekhawat from the Kellogg Eye Center study. As an important element of public health agendas older people must have the right to access eye exams and safe and effective vaccines so that they can contribute to their family and society.  Over 3 out of 4 of the world’s vision impaired are avoidably so.  Join the IFA and the International Agency for the prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and millions of people around the world by giving your voice to #WorldSightDay. To learn more about vision health and the importance of regular eye exams, please contact IFA expert Dr. Juan Carlos Silva, Regional Adviser on eye care for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Pan American Health Organization.

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The Devastating Consequences of Climate Change for Older Adults

It is an undeniable fact that the world’s population is ageing. According to a report from the World Health Organization, between 2015 and 2050, the percentage of the global population that is over 60 years will almost double. Another undeniable fact is climate change, which has been recently gaining public awareness at an exponential rate. This awareness increased dramatically since the release of the IPCC report in October 2018, which stressed the need to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030. How do the two trends of population ageing and climate change intersect? In a recent Toronto Star opinion piece, Dr. John Muscedere, scientific director of the Canadian Frailty Network, argues that older adults or individuals experiencing vulnerability or frailty, face greater risk from climate change. Examples of this risk include isolation and mobility impediment due to more intense storms and related power outages, ill-health impacts and death from heat waves and floods, and emergent or exacerbated respiratory and cardiac issues due to pollution and weather events. According to Dr. Muscedere, “these are not worst-case scenarios. These events and their consequences are happening now.” In addition to older adults, climate change disproportionately impacts other groups including people in the global south, communities of colour and poorer communities. This is illustrated in articles from the Independent, the Atlantic and through the work by the ENRICH Project in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is critical that in this period of rapid demographic and climatic change, we protect older adults, particularly those in these communities that face the most harm from climate change.  IFA expert Prof. Sarah Harper is an expert in global population ageing, longevity, public policy and global migration. Prof. Harper also leads the Complex Environmental Population Interactions Programme which addresses complex interactions between demographic and environmental change. Contact Dr. Harper for an expert opinion on these interactions and consider attending the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing where the theme Addressing Inequalities will showcase examples of the impact of climate change on older adults experiencing migration and displacement.

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Defying Ageism in the Beauty Industry

A recent guardian article highlights the growing trend to feature diversity and combat ageism (discrimination based on age) in the beauty and fashion industry. Examples include the Marc Jacob’s February 2019 New York fashion show, where model Christy Turlington, aged 50, walked the catwalk; advertisements by major beauty industries such as L’Oréal Paris now feature un-airbrushed models such as Helen Mirren, aged 74; and MAC Cosmetic’s “What’s Your Thing Campaign” features older women who wear makeup not to make them look younger, but to accentuate their own style and confidence. “What people enjoy about this campaign is seeing older women who look very different from one another, are very stylish, and are not just there to tick the diversity box. Consumers are constantly offered ‘fixes’ or told how to hide wrinkles. But what if you don’t want to hide them?” says Terry Barber, Director of Makeup Artistry at MAC.Ageism is not only found in the beauty industry but is interwoven into many societal levels including politics, health and social services, employment, education and infrastructure. With 2 billion people expected to be aged 60 years and older by 2050, the time is now to end age discrimination. Dr. John Beard, IFA Expert and former Director of the WHO Ageing and Life Course division speaks openly about the need to combat ageism and its global impact. “‘Old’ is a meaningless social construct that boxes an amazingly diverse array of people. Might as well try to group horses, oranges and orangutans. Problem is it drives social policy and, worse, can internalize the expectations that come with the label.” – Dr. John Beard Contact Dr. John Beard through IFA’s Expert Centre for further information.  In addition, register for the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” where a key theme “combating ageism” will feature efforts from around the world to empower and facilitate inclusion of people of all ages.

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Alcohol Abuse, One Step Closer to the ER

Despite the fact that considerable scientific evidence had already been amassed on the danger of alcoholism, increasing numbers of older adults drink to excess. A recent study carried out by researchers from New York University and University of California San Diego found that, from 2015 to 2017, more than one in ten (10.6%) U.S. adults aged 65 and older engaged in binge drinking (consuming five alcoholic beverages or more on the same occasion for men, and four alcoholic beverages or more for women) in the past month, a significant increase compared to the data reported in 2007-2008 (7.7%).   Excessive alcohol consumption is a risky behavior for older adults due to the potential of disease exacerbation, harmful interactions with prescription medications, and the increased risk of falling and emergency visits. The research also determined that binge drinkers are more likely to be cannabis users, and “...using both may lead to higher impairment effects... and older adults may not be aware of the possible dangers of using cannabis with alcohol,” said Dr Joseph Palamar, the associate professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health. Lack of awareness of harms associated with alcohol abuse also widely exists in Canada. A recent CBC News article disclosed that although more than one million Canadians experience alcohol use disorder annually, less importance was attributed to patient advice and addiction treatment by family doctors because of the alcoholism-related stigma. "Our results underscore the importance of educating, screening, and intervening to prevent alcohol-related harms in older adults, who may not be aware of their heightened risk for injuries and how alcohol can exacerbate chronic diseases," said Benjamin Han, the lead author of the U.S. binge drinking study among older adults. For more information on the impact of alcohol abuse on older person, contact IFA Expert Dr. Madeline Naegle, Professor and Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Geriatric Nursing Education at Rory Meyers College of Nursing, New York University, whose research has focused on alcohol use disorders and the nursing intervention in the prevention and treatment of substance use abuse. Barriers to older people’s access to alcohol addiction services have not received the attention they deserve. Attending the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing under the sub-theme “Access to Health and Social Services” will help address this issue.

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Diabetic Complications: A Self-fulfilling Prophecy?

Conversations about diabetic retinopathy (DR) often revolve around screening and treatment; such as the latest innovations in detecting of DR, the use of AI in increasing accessibility of treatments, and the consequences of seeking treatment after symptoms have already occurred. In these conversations, however, the voice of those living with diabetes is often absent. In a recent article by Healthline entitled “Fear and Loathing of Diabetes Retinopathy Treatment,” this much-needed voice is brought to the forefront. For Mike Hoskins, who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of five, fear of diabetes-related complications has had a significant impact on his life. While his knowledge of the risk of DR enabled him to undertake regular screening, his apprehension regarding the associated treatment points to a trend in how diabetes is often discussed.DR is widely known as the leading cause of preventable blindness around the world. This statement, while accurate also understandably evokes fear within the millions of people living with this condition. While this fear can encourage individuals such as Hoskins to obtain regular screening, for individuals diagnosed at a young age (which has become increasingly popular), it can also lead to what Hoskins refers to as a “rebellious” phase.This rebellion, often during teenage years, is a significant concern and should be taken into consideration when thinking about how best to approach complications associated with diabetes. The immense array of potential complications that those living with the condition are bombarded with often leads to, as Hoskins explains, a sense of “hopelessness” or apathy during teenage years. As a result, these individuals often are not as careful in the management of their condition and therefore engage in behaviours that have deleterious effects which are then carried into adulthood, consequently increasing the likelihood of the very complications they feared.Addressing phenomenon such as these is imperative in the global effort to prevent diabetic retinopathy. The DR Barometer Program, a collaborative network which includes; health care professionals, patient advocates, individuals living with diabetes and experts from around the world, such as IFA expert Dr. Jane Barratt work together to ensure that issues such as these are brought to the forefront. Join the DR Barometer Community today and make sure your voice is heard!

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Age and Estrogen: Immunosenescence in Older Women

While the natural phenomenon of declining immunological function with age (aka immunosenescence) has been well documented, researchers have discovered that older women experience this more so than men. A recent study led by Dr Sabra Klein from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that age in addition to declining estrogen levels in menopausal women can decrease immunological response to the influenza vaccination.  This poses a challenge in the development of critical antibodies needed to protect against the virus. “What we show here is that the decline in estrogen that occurs with menopause impacts women’s immunity… these findings suggest that for vaccines, one size doesn’t fit all,” said Klein. This research highlights the need for efforts that explore the ways in which human biological differences impact vaccine effectiveness.  Older adults deserve the right to vaccines that will promote health, longevity, and the maintenance of functional ability.  As menopause is a natural part of female ageing, understanding the hormonal and cellular changes within the body can lead to the development of more effective vaccines for this demographic, thus promoting health for all. If interested in learning more about the impact of menopause on immunological function, contact IFA expert Dr Marla Shapiro, menopause specialist.  Dr Shapiro is the President Elect of the North American Menopause Society, and a Member of the Order of Canada for her commitment to producing high-quality health information.  She is a highly respected health and medical expert in popular media, being featured on such programs as CANADA AM and CTV News Channel.Additionally, consider attending the IFA’s 15thGlobal Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter”in 2020 which will feature “Addressing Inequalities” as a key theme, where topics pertinent to older women’s health will be explored.

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The Right to Hear

A recent CBS News article notes that only 20% of adults who experience hearing loss in the United States use a hearing aid, a cause for concern considering the significant impact of untreated hearing loss on cognition, depression and hospitalization.The article outlines key barriers to accessing hearing aids, including high costs, the fact that many insurance companies fail to cover hearing aids, and the hassle of obtaining a hearing aid (which requires consultations with both a physician and audiologist).   Thankfully there is hope for the future.  Over-the-counter hearing aids which do not require consultations with a doctor and audiologist beforehand can make accessing hearing aids not only more accessible but more affordable.  For more information on the impact of hearing loss and the importance of accessible and affordable hearing devices, contact IFA Expert Dr. Juan Carlos Silva, Regional Advisor on Visual and Hearing Care, for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).   Sensory impairments such as hearing and vision loss are too often dismissed as a normal part of ageing.  Older people deserve the right to accessible, affordable hearing devices, which will be promoted throughout the IFA 15thGlobal Conference on Ageing under the sub-theme “Maximizing Senses” where experts on the impact of hearing and vision loss on functional ability will be featured.  Register for the IFA 15thGlobal Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” today!

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Could exercise be the magic pill to preventing cognitive decline?

A recent Irish Examiner article outlines the importance of exercise to reduce risk of cognitive decline, with emphasis on the importance of aerobic exercise, specifically. “The strongest evidence seems to be at the moment for aerobic exercise, which makes us think that it’s due to that good, healthy, blood-vessel supply to your brain” – Dr. Suzanne Timmons, consultant geriatrician and clinical lead for the national dementia office, Ireland In a recent IFA webinar, Prof. Yaakov Stern, Professor of Neuropsychology defines ‘reserve’ as the disjunction between the degree of brain damage and the clinical outcome of that damage, however notes that there are differences between brain reserve (how big the brain is, how many synapses there are) and cognitive reserve which is the adaptability of functional brain processes.In simple terms, cognitive reserve is about how your brain works, and individuals with greater cognitive reserve experience less cognitive decline and later onset of dementia, even when brain scans indicate tissue deterioration. “We talk about brain reserve – how big and healthy your brain is – but cognitive reserve is about how your brain works. If you have a large, well, blood-supplied brain, then your reserve, if you develop dementia, is significant. Their brain can compensate better and so they won’t develop symptoms and won’t have difficulties with their activities of daily living until later.” – Dr. TimmonsScholars further note in the article that it can be of even greater benefit to cognitive reserve if the aerobic exercise is mixed with “cognitive exercise” simultaneously. This can be as simple as watching your foot while going on a hike. From 24-25 October 2019, the International Federation on Ageing is hosting the Copenhagen Summit on Cognitive reserve which will feature key speakers including IFA Experts Prof. Michael Valenzuela, Prof. Kaarin Anstey and Prof. Perminder Sachdev. Reach out to these experts to learn more about cognitive reserve and register for the Copenhagen Summit here.

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Ageing outside the gender binary

Identities outside of the gender binary are often framed as something “new”, as “trends”, or as identities only experienced or expressed by younger generations. However, Kate Bornstein, an author, performer and advocate, is 71 and self-describes in an interview as a nonbinary femme-identified trans person.  In a recent New York Times article, Reflections on Life after Stonewall, Borstein, who uses they/them as well as she/her pronouns, describes their lifelong experiences with gender identity.  “At first, it scared me. But it didn’t take me long to enjoy my outsider status.  As neither/nor — as nothing — my life was starting to make sense.  When it comes to gender and sexuality, I am nothing but possibilities.  What’s more, it turns out that these days I’ve got a nonbinary family: lots of people who are neither men nor women.  All of us are virtually nothing in the eyes of a culture that sees two and only two”. – Kate Bornstein Borstein counters the argument that nonbinary gender identities are trends among younger generations and states “that it’s been going on for a long time, and now there’s a more robust and accessible vocabulary to address it”.In an article, counsellor and researcher, Dr Gávi Ansara, discusses how best to support trans and gender nonbinary older adults. Dr Ansara proposes that best methods include treating their needs as “normal and legitimate”, individualised service provision, challenging notions and actions of cisgenderism (for example “pathologising, misgendering, marginalising, coercive queering and objectifying biological language”) and learning from their wisdom and incorporating that wisdom into practice.IFA expert Dr Pamela B. Teaster is an expert in human rights, public policy, active ageing, elder abuse and frailty as well as a co-editor of the book “Handbook of LGBT Elders”. Contact her for an expert opinion on ageing and gender identity and consider attending the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing which will draw attention to the role life experience and identity has on the health and ability of older people.

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The Heavy Price of Elder Abuse

“To forget the elderly is to ignore the wisdom of the years” – Donald Laird With the global population of people aged 60 years and older anticipated to reach 2 billion by 2050, the rate of elder abuse will undoubtedly increase. In 2017, the United Nations (UN) collected the best available evidence from 52 studies in 28 countries (including 12 low- and middle-income countries). Results revealed that 15.7% of people aged 60 years and older were subjected to some form of abuse in the past year, and this is likely an underestimation since majority of cases often go unreported. Elder abuse can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial.  It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect. The study provided prevalence estimates of the number of older people affected by different forms of abuse: Psychological abuse: 11.6% Financial abuse: 6.8% Neglect: 4.2% Physical abuse: 2.6% Sexual abuse: 0.9% According to an article by Comparitech, financial abuse (also called elder fraud or financial exploitation), is estimated to be responsible for $27.4 billion in losses annually in the United States alone.  38% of fraud cases intentionally target older adults.“Our elders, along with all people, have the right to live their lives with dignity and respect, free from abuse of any kind. The best way to protect elders from abusive situations is to focus on prevention, providing information, education, and support.” – Yvette Thomas, KELO FM IFA Expert Dr. Mark S. Lachs notes in a BioEdge article that doctors should be able to recognize the signs of elder abuse, as physicians who care for older adults are very likely to encounter a patient who is a victim. Dr. Lachs' research, teaching, and clinical experience focus on elder abuse and improving the quality of life for older adults.  The focus of his research includes the identification of risk factors for reported elder mistreatment and more recently, the survival of older adults who have experienced mistreatment.  He can be contacted through the IFA’s ExpertFile to learn more about elder abuse.On 15 June, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the IFA recognizes the individual and societal harms of elder abuse. Combating Ageism is one of the 4 central themes of the IFA’s 15th Global Conference on Ageing, under which abuse has been identified as a sub-theme. Abstracts for these sessions are called to showcase examples of good practice and especially those which have been evaluated. To learn more, please visit the conference website.

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Japan’s increasing retirement income gap

The highest life expectancy for women in the world falls upon Japan, at 87.1 years.Although the country is a leader in technology and innovation to support older people, there are increasing concerns regarding retirement and pension plans. A recent article explains that as life expectancy increases for older people in Japan, the gap between when a person retires and their death increases, meaning increased years are spent in retirement, at almost 20 years for women. Average savings accumulated over the life course in Japan unfortunately are only enough to cover 4.5 years of retirement.Contact IFA expert Mr. Don M. Blandin for what implications this retirement income gap can have on Japan’s ageing population, and for further information on the topic. In addition, consider attending the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing where a key theme “Addressing Inequalities” is featured, with focus on the importance of financial security to the world’s ageing population.

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Ageing with Pride: LGBT+ Inclusive Housing

June is Pride Month, a time of year where you are likely to see more rainbow’s than any other. Pride is the time of year where the LGBTQI2S community can reflect and celebrate their advocacy and civil rights history. It is a time of year where individuals can openly and proudly embrace their sexual orientation and gender identity and it is the time of year that should serve as a reminder, not only of how far the LGBTQI2S movement has come, but how far there still is to go in the fight for equality. Pride, which has now come to symbolize the LGBTQI2S civil rights movement, began not as a parade but as a riot. 50 years ago, police stormed the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City resulting in a sustained clash between New York’s LGBT Community and its police force. While the riot only lasted 2 days, the event left an indelible mark within the community and spurred a movement that would spread around the globe. At its core, pride is about equality, as such it is important to stay vigilant of the inequalities faced by certain individuals within the LGBTQI2S community. In a recent article by Forbes, the inequalities faced by the older LGBTQI2S populations was brought to the forefront.The article discusses the launch of New York City’s first affordable housing property for LGBTQ older adults. Over 1000 individuals submitted applications on the first day they were to be accepted. While encouraging, this also highlights an immense need stemming from the discrimination and prejudice many older LGBTQI2S individuals face when searching for and accessing affordable housing. According to SAGE’s National Elder Housing Initiative, upwards of 50% of same-sex couples have experienced housing discrimination; and with a projected 7 million LGBTQI2S elders in the United States alone by the year 2030, addressing the housing needs of older adults is of vital importance.To learn more about the importance of safe and affordable housing for older LGBTQI2S individuals contact IFA expert Judith Wahl, Executive director at the Advocacy centre for the Elderly. Ensuring housing is inclusive for older LGBTQI2S adults is about more than just shelter, its is about providing older LGBTQI2S individuals the opportunity to Age with Pride.

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"Double Whammy": Older women experience ageism and sexism in the workplace

Ensuring older adults have equitable access to employment is critical for healthy ageing, however older adults are often subjected to ageism in the workplace. According to author and activist, Ashton Applewhite, ageism “occurs when a dominant group uses its power to oppress or exploit or silence or simply ignore people who are much older or significantly younger.” Ageism can intersect with other types of discrimination including sexism. An article from Forbes highlights the “double whammy” older women experience through ageism and sexism in the workforce.  The article argues that ageism impacts the genders differently as research shows that with older age, men in the workplace are regarded with increased value and competency while women lose credibility. The article describes how older women are feeling pushed aside, invisible and excluded in their workplace and also fear losing their jobs.Older women also experience discrimination in the recruitment process. A 2017 study submitted 40,000 fake resumes to online applications. The resumes differed only by age and gender. The researchers found that responses declined with age and more so for women compared to men.Despite the discrimination, an article from City A.M. reports that women are increasingly more likely to work beyond 70. Fortunately, in an opinion piece, researchers explain why older women in the workforce will benefit the economy. The researchers explain that impending labour shortages could be mitigated by retaining and recruiting older workers, particularly women.  This is because many of them have high education levels and already occupy the positions that will experience high shortages such as registered nurses, nurse practitioners and occupational therapists.IFA expert Dr Pat Armstrong is an expert in long-term care, health care, health policy, women and work, and feminist political economy. Contact her for an expert opinion on women in the workplace. For more information on the IFA’s work in ageism in the workplace, visit the 15th Global Conference on Ageing website. A central theme of the conference will be 'Combating Ageism' with a sub-theme of ‘Access to Work and Reshaping Retirement.’ Conference registration and abstract submission are now open.

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Reducing Risk of Dementia through Cognitive Reserve

Cognitive impairment such as dementia is an increasingly important public health issue, and efforts to cure the progression of cognitive impairment are extremely costly and have yet to yield positive results.Dementia is an increasing problem that affects close to 50 million people around the world. Recent guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) titled “Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia” emphasize that the risk of dementia can be reduced through exercise and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure. It is the WHO’s hope that the guidelines are used by health care providers, government and policy makers to develop policy and programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and reduce risk of dementia.The IFA's Copenhagen Summit on Cognitive Reserve acknowledges that it is critical to identify cost-effective, accessible solutions to reduce cognitive ageing and enhance cognitive function by enabling alternative neuronal interconnections to compensate for change caused by cognitive ageing and severe cognitive pathologies. The Summit, to take place from 24-25 October 2019 will feature three IFA experts:Professor Kaarin Anstey, Director of the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute Professor Michael Valenzuela, leader of the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney Scientia Professor Perminder Sachdev, Scientia Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW Sydney Register for the Summit here and reach out to IFA experts for further information or comments for media on this important event.

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Showcasing the power of art to combat social isolation

When it comes to age-related policy, it has been shown how imperative it is to include older adults in helping shape and influence existing measures that are put in place by high level governmental bodies. Civil society’s voice can be strong, especially when there is a collective and united front. This bottom-up approach to policy change has been at the core of the Global Network of  Age-friendly Cities and Communities, established by the WHO in 2010, whose goal is to create and foster environments in which healthy ageing can be achieved for all. IFA expert member Dr Ruth Finkelstein has been leading the way for Age-friendly cities and communities.  She was an integral part of the award-winning ‘Age-Friendly New York City Initiative’. Dr Finkelstein brings over 3 decades of experience to policy planning and believes strongly in the power of community engagement.A great example of the power of community engagement can be seen In California, where a group of seniors - whom like many - experienced the impact of social isolation and decided to take action. The idea was to display art made my local members of the community that related to social isolation, to creatively express the pain that accompanies this prevalent phenomenon. The numbers speak for themselves:"Lonely adults over 60 have been shown to have a 45% higher risk of death compared to more socially connected peers, and a 59% higher risk of mental and physical decline." Combatting social isolation can be seen as step towards achieving healthy ageing. What started off as an exhibition about social isolation, helped to combat social isolation itself.  “At one of the early [committee] meetings, these women were sitting together, and it came up that they were all recently widowed,” said Ashley Holmes, the museum’s marketing manager. “They became really close, because it was helpful for them to talk to others going through the same thing. One of them actually even did artwork for the exhibit about her experience.”The planning committee attracted close to 200 members, all seniors in the community. Those interested in the exhibit can visit the display until January 2020.

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Addressing ageism in the workplace

The International Federation on Ageing is holding the 15th Global Conference on Ageing in Niagara Falls, Canada from 1-3 November 2020.  One of the conference’s central themes is ‘Combating Ageism’ which refers to prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination directed towards people based on age and can exist on both systemic levels through policies and programs and interpersonal levels through implicit bias.  As ageism can extend to employment, one conference sub-section of this theme is focuses specifically on ‘Access to Work and Reshaping Retirement’, which will address the concept of ‘decent work for all’, the social and economic contribution of older adults, and policy development. A recently published article from Business Insider contextualizes this theme and argues the primary barrier to securing decent work is not skill limitations, but ageism. That is, discriminatory policies/programs and implicit biases limit employment opportunities for older adults.   Adults aged 55 and over are increasing at the greatest rate in the workforce due in part to increased life expectancy and financial limitations. However, many of these older adults are pushed into retirement before they are ready and need to seek out other employment.  In the US three million older adults are seeking full-time work, and among those successful, many end up in precarious-type jobs that pay significantly less than their previous positions. Organizations are working to dismantle ageism in the workplace. For example, AARP not only helps employers develop age-inclusive internal training programs, but also works to shed light on the value older adults bring to workplaces. In doing so, AARP addresses both the policy/program and implicit bias factors of ageism. An article from the CBC describes efforts made by Passport for Employment, on Prince Edward Island, Canada, to help older adults find work.  The article explains that employers are now starting to recognize the many reasons older adults make great employees including their loyalty, experience, strong work ethic, positive attitudes and flexibility. However, more needs to be done. IFA expert Prof. Yitzhak Brick is an expert in health promotion, volunteer work and employment of older adults, technology, ageing and public policy.  Contact him for an expert opinion on employment of older adults.  Also visit the 15th Global Conference on Ageing website to further explore how the conference will incorporate these themes and to register or submit an abstract.

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From loss to new beginnings: Changing the narrative for those affected by vision loss

With Vision Health Month in Canada nearing conclusion, there is a need to keep the conversation going about false narratives surrounding vision loss and older adults. Although older adults are at an increased risk for many of the leading causes for impaired eyesight, it is not true that complete loss of vision is inevitable. For Dr. Tiziano Melchiorre, IFA Expert Member and Secretary General of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), it is imperative that messages target the right at-risk populations so that preventative methods reach their full potential. For older adults who are diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition such as glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy, access to the best available treatments is key. A diagnosis which may lead to blindness can be especially devastating for older adults, as treatment options are often not fully discussed.  In a recent article from the Chicago Tribune, Neva Fairchild, ageing specialist and representative of the American Foundation for the Blind says: “A lot of older adults don’t even understand what’s happening with their vision loss, and they might be thinking they’ll go totally blind, which is often not the case [..] We hear from people who say, ‘my doctor told me nothing more can be done.’’ A need for a better understanding of vision loss is part of what inspired the founder of the Hadley Institute to create an establishment where those suffering from vision health disorders could participate in ‘’educational courses and other support services free of charge to anyone with a visual impairment, as well as their families and professionals.’’Conversations surrounding patient education should be a focal point not only during Vision Health Month, but all year long. The IFA serves to empower patients to have access to the latest and most effective treatments for vision loss, learn more here.

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Translating Age-Friendly Policy into Action

With the summer soon approaching in Ontario, Canada, many citizens look forward to increased time spent outdoors. Unfortunately, this may prove challenging for many older adults who live in a city or community that is still undergoing “age-friendly” initiatives.The opinion piece written by Kim Sawchuk, Meghan Joey and Shannon Hebblethwaite for the Montreal Gazette discusses the important gaps between well-intentioned age-friendly policies and the lived reality for older citizens. Montreal has been recognized for its age-friendly initiatives and is a member of the WHO’s Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) as of 2017. However, gaps between policy and best practice can always remain a concern.The authors argue that ongoing discussions and consultations with older people and resources dedicated to age-friendly policy are needed to ensure they are truly making a positive impact on older people in the community. Contact IFA Expert and Board member Prof. Suzanne Garon to learn how the adoption of age-friendly policies can be translated to reality. Since 2006, Prof. Garon has been involved in the WHO Age Friendly Cities Project and research to implement and evaluate the Age Friendly Cities in seven Quebec communities, including the city of Montreal.Additionally, consider attending the IFA’s 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” in 2020 which will feature age-friendly environments as a key theme, and will host a pre-conference summit dedicated to the topic.

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Fighting Blindness with Science: Innovative approaches to vision loss research

May is #VisionHealthMonth in Canada, and the IFA recognizes the importance of vision health for Canadians of every age, especially older adults.For Dr. Michele Corcio, IFA expert and vice president of International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Italy, breakthroughs in vision loss research are of uttermost importance. For the IAPB, as the name suggests, prevention is key. The IAPB hopes to dispel the perpetuated myth that ‘vision loss as people age is unavoidable’ by showcasing the importance of screening and detection of the most common causes of vision loss such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and cataracts.Although preventative measures are key to avoiding vision loss, hope is not lost for those living with reduced or complete loss of vision, as emerging research has made tremendous progress for those already affected.  Researchers at the University of Surrey and Indiana University have been studying the effects of using plant-based interventions to aid in the treatment of disorders that lead to vision loss, such as diabetic retinopathy.The UK-based research group ‘ReNeuron’, who are exploring the use of stem cell treatment for vision loss have already made significant progress:“In February (2019), the company reported that all three of the first cohort of subjects in the study had reported a rapid and significant improvement in vision, on average equivalent to reading an additional three lines of five letters on the EDTRS eye chart, the standardized eye chart used in clinical trials to measure visual acuity.” - ReNeuron, 4 April 2019 Press Release Vision is reported to be the sensory function most feared to be lost by Canadians. It is hoped that as new research continues to emerge, and the importance of preventative measures are put into action, vision loss becomes less of a reality and fear for Canadians and individuals around the world.

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Smartphones and AI - The Future of DR Screening

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is prevalent among approximately one third of the adult population living with diabetes and occurs when chronic high blood glucose levels lead to damage of capillaries in the retina. Despite the fact that DR continues to be the leading cause of preventable blindness, recommendations for regular screening are often not adhered too, leaving many aware of the illness only after they have started to experience vision loss.Addressing this issue are researchers from the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center which have revealed an innovative approach to increase the accessibility of DR Screening through pairing Smartphone Technology with Artificial Intelligence (AI) software.“The key to preventing DR-related vision loss is early detection through regular screening,” says Yannis Paulus, M.D., a Kellogg vitreoretinal surgeon and the study’s lead author. “We think the key to that is bringing portable, easy-to-administer, reliable retinal screening to primary care doctors’ offices and health clinics.” - Yannis Paulus, M.D. The repurposing of smartphones and the integration of AI helps mitigate a number of barriers often associated with DR screening, including the cost typically associated with traditional retinal cameras, which beyond their expense are also large and immovable. Furthermore, this technology significantly cuts down on the time it would take for an ophthalmologist to interpret retinal images, allowing for virtually instantaneous feedback.  These portable devices, which require no specific training to operate, would allow screening to take place in familiar clinical environments with only those who screen positive having to be refered for further ophthalmological care, ultimately deceasing the overall burden and wait times associated with these appointments."We're focused on overcoming patients' reluctance to seek DR screening by bringing it to them," Paulus says, "making it easy, immediate and available in a familiar clinical environment." The AI Software paired with the Smartphone technology, EyeArt (developed by Eyenuk) has demonstrated exceptional performance in clinical trials and is the most extensively validated AI technology for the autonomous detection of Diabetic Retinopathy. To learn more about DR, join the DR Barometer community and connect with a network of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the vision health outcomes among people living with diabetes. In addition, use IFA’s expert centre to connect with IFA experts Prof Hans-Peter Hammes, an expert in the treatment of diabetes and its complications and Dr Focke Ziemssen, an expert in pharmacovigilance and diabetic retinopathy.

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Prevention Before Antibiotics

“There is not enough awareness about the risk associated with infections and about the importance of preventing them with the vaccines we have now (...)” says Dr Eva Polverino, IFA Expert and pulmonology expert in respiratory infections affiliated with the European Respiratory Society.During an interview at the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, Dr Polverino highlights the importance of vaccines not just in preventing the diseases, but also reducing the use of antibiotics.“The only way to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance is to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics.” - Dr Eva Polverino Vaccines can help reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance by “reducing the use of antibiotics and the development of resistance” (WHO, 2016). For example, people often take antibiotics unnecessarily when they have flu-like symptoms, which could have been prevented through the influenza vaccine. For these reasons, experts such as Dr Polverino argues prevention should be the goal before prescribing antibiotics. In honour of World Immunization Week (24-30 April), the IFA will be releasing joint statements, social media, blogs and articles to raise awareness on the importance of vaccination. Check out @Vaccines4Life to help spread the important message.

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Vaccines are Our Weapon in the Fight for Quality of Life

Diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and herpes zoster (shingles) are preventable through immunization. Preventing these diseases decreases hospital admissions, preserves functional ability and prevents death.In an interview with the IFA, Expert Dr. Mine Durusu-Tanriover describes vaccines as a weapon for fighting off these potentially debilitating diseases, enabling at-risk groups such as older adults to age in a healthy manner. She also emphasizes the power of vaccines in maintaining functional ability and quality of life among older adults.“No one wants to live a long life bedridden” – Dr. Mine Durusu-Tanriover Unfortunately, vaccination uptake rates among older people are below targets. Dr. Durusu-Tanriover argues doctors should educate patients on how vaccines are a powerful tool in preventing diseases in order to shift the paradigm.As a consultant of acute care in Ankara, Turkey and Professor of Internal Medicine at Hacettepe University with over 40 peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Durusu-Tanriover is an expert in the field of adult vaccination and can be contacted through the IFA Expert Centre.This week during World Immunization Week, the IFA joins national and international partners such as Dr. Durusu-Tanriover in spreading knowledge on the importance of vaccination, providing resources and advocating for the use of vaccines to protect people from all ages against preventable diseases.

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The Cost of Care: Addressing the Discrimination Faced by Older LGBTQI Individuals in Care Homes

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York, an infamous two-day clash between New York’s LGBTQI population and the police, that has served as a catalyst for the modern day LGBTQI movement and paved the way for the acquisition of LBGTQI rights and policy changes across the world. Despite the progress that has been made, many LGBTQI individuals who have fought for their rights now face the sad reality of having to retreat back into the closet in their later lives. In a recent Article published in the Scotsman, Scotland’s National Newspaper, the phenomenon of older individuals ‘de-gaying’ in order to avoid harassment and discrimination from staff and other residents in care homes is explored.This phenomenon does not occur exclusively in care homes. Many older LGBTQI individuals have reported feeling the need to adapt their behaviours or environments (such as removing pictures of same sex partners from living spaces) in order to avoid discrimination from in home care staff. The repression of sexual identity that many older LGBTQI individuals feel in these spaces can negatively affect them in a number of ways. Older LGBTQI individuals may be deterred from accessing services in order to avoid possible discrimination or the prospect of ‘de-gaying’, while those that do access these services may suffer emotionally as a result of this process. At a broader level this reality also obscures and leads to unreliable population statistics regarding the older LGBTQI population and therefore obfuscates the attention they deserve. Many care homes in Scotland for example report having no LGBTQI residents, which, given other population statistics is highly improbable.It is important to note that this phenomenon also transcends borders. In a previously published article by CBC News, older LGBTQI Canadians expressed the same fear and apprehension of being ‘out’ in long term care facilities. Many individuals articulated discriminatory interactions with health care professionals and staff. With almost a quarter of the global population projected to be over the age of 65 by the year 2024, the need to address this issue is of the upmost importance to ensure the rights of our ageing LGBTQI population are being protected. To learn more about the older LGBTQI population and ways in which individuals, organizations and governments can support and protect the rights of these individuals, contact IFA expert Professor Marie Beaulieu, a leading expert in elder abuse and the unique needs of the older LGBTQI population.

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The Outbreak of Vaccine Hesitancy

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles cases have skyrocketed with a 300 % increase worldwide in the first three months of 2019 alone, when compared to last year. Public health officials are concerned over the impact of growing anti-vaccination campaigns.Vaccine hesitancy, which is defined by the WHO as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services”, has been reported in more than 90% of countries in the world. Mr Gary Finnegan, Editor of Vaccines Today and IFA Expert, notes in an article from The Independent that although nothing is 100% safe, vaccines have fewer side effects than most medical interventions.With a degree in physiology, an MSc in science communication and a special interest in vaccination, Mr Finnegan has a unique combination of knowledge and experience in the field of health communications.  He can be contacted to learn about the importance of immunization across the life course and how public health officials, health care workers and governments can tackle the increasing uneasiness over vaccines through various platforms, such as social media.While he doesn’t agree with the concept behind anti-vaccination, Mr Finnegan can empathize with some of the concerns:“I took my own kids to have a meningitis vaccine recently and one of them had a temperature afterwards. This usually doesn't happen but I can see that when it does it's unpleasant. However, now he's very unlikely to get this very serious disease and I take a lot of comfort from that.” – Gary Finnegan The public health and science communities are called to improve accessibility, communication and listening. A Lancet article notes that physicians’ advice has been shown to be the most influential factor in the decision to vaccinate. For Mr Finnegan, communication should be a combination of storytelling and science.“…it is essential that when people go online for information they are left with the clear impression that vaccines are safe and effective." – Gary Finnegan, WIRED Vaccination is a critical disease prevention tool and is needed throughout the life course. Physicians are also raising awareness about under vaccination among adults, a recent CBC article notes.  Immunity can wear off over time for some vaccines taken in childhood, and the need for booster shots is highlighted. Older adults in particular are vulnerable to the effects of infectious diseases and should be educated on the importance of immunization to foster healthy ageing. In addition to addressing vaccine hesitancy, this is one of the many conversations the IFA’s World Coalition on Adult Vaccination has taken the lead on to improve vaccination uptake rates globally.

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Addressing the mental health needs of ageing populations

There is a growing recognition globally around the importance of promoting and maintaining mental health. However, this shift in understanding has resulted largely in initiatives targeted toward youth, rather than taking a life course approach to mental health and addressing the unique needs of older people.  A recent opinion piece published in The Guardian underscored the disparity that exists between younger and older populations regarding their access to information and programming related to mental health. One important distinction presented was that campaigns that combat loneliness and social isolation were more common than mental health specific initiatives for older people. Moving forward, acknowledging that mental illness is not a problem that vanishes as you age is a critical step in combating the stigma experienced by this population.It is also important to recognize that changing the narrative around the mental health of older people alone is not enough. Denis Campbell, Health Policy Editor for The Guardian recently discussed the impact the reliance on the prescription of antidepressants versus referrals for talk therapy by General Practitioners (GPs) has had on older people. He highlighted that while almost 10% of people 75 years of age or older are diagnosed with depression, 87% are prescribed medication rather than other forms of treatment. Similarly, only slightly over 6% of all those referred to NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) were over 65 years old. According to Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, the likelihood of GPs to prescribe medication rather than talk therapy illustrates that older people are missing out on effective treatment for their mental health conditions.As there are many confounding factors that have contributed to the current narrative surrounding ageing and mental health, simply talking about mental illness is not enough. For more information on how individuals, organizations and governments can support the mental health of older people, contact IFA Expert Professor Nicola Lautenschlager. Whether it be through challenging damaging ageist narratives or improving access to services, promoting the mental health of older people is of critical importance moving forward.

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The Impact of Ageism on the Health of Older People – World Health Day 2019

7 April marks World Health Day, and this year, the International Federation on Ageing wants to highlight the importance of addressing ageism to ensure the health of older people is taken into consideration across the globe.Older people are often neglected in the planning of public health strategies due to ageist and false beliefs from government and policymakers that older people only contribute in small ways to the economy. A recent Guardian article explains that ageism may increase ill-health in older age. "Jackson and colleagues suggest that among the possible ways ageism could take a toll are difficulties in adopting a healthy lifestyle – such as gym-going – for fear of discrimination, worse care and less timely diagnoses by health professionals, and even stress – which might affect the body through inflammatory mechanisms, triggering unhealthy behaviours or psychological distress." - Nicola Davis, The Guardian There are countless ways health can be preserved in later life, from regular vision check-ups, to keeping up to date on adult vaccinations such as influenza, pneumonia and shingles. Vaccination is often considered “just for kids”, however it is pertinent in preserving health and functional ability in older age. Contact IFA expert Gary Finnegan, Editor of Vaccines Today to learn more about the importance of vaccination to healthy ageing, and IFA expert Dr. Michele Corcio, Vice President of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness on the important role vision plays in healthy ageing. This year’s World Health Day theme is “Universal Health Coverage.” Read the following expert spotlight which discusses the importance of universal health care to older people, and consider registering for the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing which will feature experts from around the world discussing the importance of healthy ageing.

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Taking care of caretakers: Celebrating National Carers Day

Today is #NationalCarersDay, which recognizes the invaluable work that caregivers provide to the people they support everyday. Often, the responsibility of caring for a loved one in need of extra support or assistance falls on a family member.  In a recent article from the University of Toronto, Nathan Stall, PhD candidate, notes that more than one third of the population in the workforce also has the job of caring for a loved one.Caregiving is often described as a job that a person can never fully clock out of. Balancing a full-time job, family responsibilities, and caregiving can often result in caregiver burnout. IFA Expert, Dr. Anne Martin-Mathews, a professor in Ageing and Lifecourse from Vancouver BC, has focused part of her research on understanding the complex relationships between caregivers and the ones they care for.  A particular interest Dr Martin-Mathews focuses on is the concept of the “emotional vs. contractual nature of ‘care’." For family members, the motivation to care for their loved ones might weigh more on the side of an ‘emotional’ nature, whereas the feeling of obligation might at times lead to cognitive dissonance.  The latter may result in feelings of unresolved anger which may in turn lead to anxiety and depression. In addition to taking an emotional toll, caregiving can also take on a physical toll on the carer. Speaking from a very personal experience, Nathan Stall discusses the care his grandmother provided for his ailing grandfather, stating: “We provide little to no training for caregivers yet we expect them to carry out complex tasks like managing medication regimens, dealing with complicated behaviours and being navigators and advocates for fragile individuals”.  At the IFA, this sentiment is mirrored. Ensuring older people have the support they need to ensure their health is taken care of is a right that needs to be protected.

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Generations Sharing Knowledge and Wisdom

Ensuring that as people age, they are able to continue to do what they value is of critical importance with a rapidly ageing global population. However, with more and more older people experiencing loneliness, social isolation and the corresponding health issues, for many this is not the case. To combat this growing issue, IFA Expert Dr Amy D’Aprix is part of the growing movement that encourages intergenerational relationships as a means to improve the health and wellbeing of older people globally.With an extensive background working with older people and their caregiving families, as well as educating other professionals about the needs of caregiving and ageing, Dr D'Aprix has seen firsthand the benefits of intergenerational relations. She can be contacted through ExpertFile for more information on how to facilitate these relationships, as well as on how to help people to take a life course approach to planning for later life, so that they can age with more independence and with better quality of life.“If we can start bringing the generations together, I think what we stop doing is having competition between the generations.” – Dr Amy D’Aprix There are many positive benefits to participating in intergenerational relationships for individuals of all ages. Not only does encouraging social interactions between generations reduce loneliness and social isolation, but it actually can lead to health benefits and an increase a person’s lifespan. In a recent article published by the New York Times, the role that older people could have through youth mentoring was discussed as another important way to share wisdom and new learnings across generations.Fostering intergenerational connections and dialogues is just one of many critical ways to encourage the healthy ageing of older people, while also combating ageism. Interested in learning more? The IFA 15th Global Conference of Ageing registration and abstract submission are now open and provide an exciting opportunity to share examples of good practice and learn from global experts!

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Lonely No More

Social isolation and loneliness are an increasing concern as the world ages. According to the World Report on Ageing and Health, a striking 40% of older people feel lonely, and research by IFA expert Prof Martin Knapp has found that social isolation and loneliness place older people at greater risk of poor mental and physical health.Fortunately, organizations, governments and communities around the world have begun to take action to combat social isolation and loneliness amongst older people. For example, the “Lonely No More” Program based in a rural area of Ontario, Canada aims to reduce loneliness amongst isolated seniors by holding a weekly conference call with fellow seniors and a volunteer facilitator.Another strategy to reduce loneliness amongst older people comes from students in Black Isle, United Kingdom who created a game to promote conversation amongst older people.Initiatives such as these allows others to check up on the health and needs of seniors without it seeming like they are being checked up on. Social isolation and loneliness amongst older people are both growing problems that need to be addressed through innovative initiatives such as these. The International Federation on Ageing 15th Global Conference on Ageing will feature presentations from leading experts and academics on how to reduce loneliness and social isolation in later life.

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The pervasiveness of ageism in employment

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ageism as “stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age.” Despite the global prevalence of ageism, its existence and widespread impacts on the health and functioning of older people are not often discussed. Instead, incidents of ageism are normalized by suggestions that older people should move out of the way and let others have a chance.Ageism seems to be an especially accepted form of discrimination in the workplace, where older workers are often passed over in favour of “more relevant” counterparts. Recently, the Globe and Mail stated that “older employees are often passed over for promotion, discarded first in hard times or fobbed off with unfulfilling work.” This is troubling when taking into consideration that in the United Kingdom, “people aged 50 and over have made up nearly 80% of the total employment growth over the past decade.”What is most frustrating about ageist rhetoric in employment is that despite what we are led to believe, older people are neither a threat to others’ jobs nor a burden to employers and employees. Older people are simply experiencing increased longevity, wherein continuing to work is necessary for continued financial stability and/or for personal fulfilment. A recent Guardian article illustrates both instances, quoting two women who have continued to work past so-called “retirement age” out of want or need.As illustrated in the Guardian article, ongoing employment becomes an even more worrying experience in older women who face workplace discrimination based on gender in addition to age. According to Entrepreneur, “résumés of older women get far fewer callbacks than both those of older men and younger applicants of either sex.” Ageism in employment is indicative of a larger societal issue that marginalizes older people in various spaces. As a result of ageism, older people are “overlooked for employment, restricted from social services and stereotyped in the media, and excluded from their communities.” Contact ageism expert Dr Liat Ayalon to discuss the positive impacts of combating ageism. Combating ageism is pertinent to ensuring that older people live happy, healthy lives. The need to recognize ageism as a legitimate form of discrimination is a topic that will be discussed at the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing in November 2020. If you are interested in submitting abstracts under this theme visit the new conference website to learn more.

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The new old: Let’s think about ageing differently

‘Silver tsunami’, ‘rising tide’, ‘perfect storm’ – these are the phrases typically associated with population ageing and reflect the commonly held and deeply rooted perceptions that older people are all dependent and have nothing to offer to society. How can we influence the population ageing agenda to be more positive, proactive, and inclusive?The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is driving the population ageing agenda with new approaches to policies related to ageing and older people. Through programs of work and collaboration the IFA is an international platform that seeks to improve our understanding of age-friendly environments, to debate the solutions to address inequalities, to confront the reality of ageism, and to delve into what it means to enable the functional ability of an older person. The upcoming 15th Global Conference on Ageing in Niagara Falls will be held in 2020 and will feature diverse and exciting presentations across these themes. Registration and abstract submissions are now open here. This Wednesday 21 March, the IFA will be participating in a steering group meeting of the Economist Group Initiative on Healthy Ageing in Washington, D.C. to contribute to new ways of thinking about ageing. IFA Expert, Mr Greg Shaw, will share his extensive knowledge of age-related policies as a panellist for the event. Contact him to learn more about the ‘new old’, the IFA’s 15th Global Conference on Ageing, and more.

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The perils of poverty in ageing populations

People are living longer than ever before; yet, many are not enjoying this longevity in good health. As demographics continue to shift and older people continue to make up a growing proportion of the population, the need to ensure all people have access to health and care services becomes increasingly critical.Drawing on a new Centre for Ageing Better report, a recent Guardian article discussed existing disparities experienced by older people in Britain. Titled “The State of Ageing in 2019“ the report brought together publicly available data to highlight the different ways poverty negatively impacts health and wellbeing of older people, emphasizing that “pensioner poverty” is rising, predominantly impacting women and people of colour. Research illustrates that adverse lived experiences significantly impact a person’s ability to live a healthy life. For example, “the poorest people [both men and women] are three times more likely than the wealthiest to retire early because of ill-health” and within the 50-64 age cohort, almost one in four have at least three chronic health conditions. Additionally, the Centre for Ageing Better report illustrates the role of the built environment in promoting health, showing that at least 1.3 million people who live in substandard housing are ages 55 and over. One of the key points raised throughout the article and the referenced report was the importance of structural changes – changes to policies and practices that currently replicate patterns of inequity – to address disparities in health outcomes. Leading such initiatives is IFA expert Dr Debra Whitman, Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP is an international leader in supporting and advancing policy that improve the lives of older people and their families.Contact experts like Dr Whitman today and discuss tangible ways to address these types of disparities.

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Balance for Better: Include older women in the equation

On International Women’s Day (8 March), gender equality is promoted and celebrated. This year’s theme #BalanceforBetter calls for a more gender-balanced world.Why is there a need for such a day? Women experience gender-based discrimination throughout all areas of life, including school, work, and healthcare. This builds up across the life course to negatively impact their wellbeing, safety and security.Today, older women continue to be left behind in the dialogue about gender equality across all sectors: employment, income, innovation, and health. To learn more about how gender and age intersect to produce inequalities in these policy areas, contact Dr. Pat Armstrong, who is an expert in fields of social policy, of women, work and the health and social services.With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in mind, UN Women has adopted its own theme for this year’s International Women’s Day: “Think Equal, build smart, innovate for change.”Innovations in sustainable infrastructure are required to enable and encourage people of all ages and genders to participate in society through employment and social and civic activities. Older women often face barriers to accessing infrastructure developments due to high costs, poor accessibility, or lack of tech skills. Get in touch with Dr. Ruth Finkelstein to learn more about how these developments can be more age-friendly while also being gender-balanced. The IFA is committed to the protection of rights of older women around the world. The upcoming 63rd Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this March will focus on social protection and sustainable infrastructure. Read the IFA’s statement to the Commission here.

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Addressing ageist myths to promote healthy ageing

Ageism is not a new idea. Prejudices and biases against older (and younger) people on the basis of their biological age proliferate in society at both interpersonal and systemic levels. However, in recent years there is a growing understanding that having negative thoughts about ageing in turn negatively impacts health and wellbeing as one ages. With a rapidly ageing global population, reframing the narrative around ageing as a period of growth, happiness, health and functional ability is critical."What was the hardest prejudice to let go of? A prejudice against myself – my own future, older self – as inferior to my younger self. That’s the linchpin of age denial.” – Ashton Applewhite The idea that all older people are the same perpetuates a disconnect between preconceived notions of ageing and the diverse experiences of older people that exist in actuality. One individual who has committed their career to challenging problematic ageist assumptions is Ashton Applewhite. In a recent Globe and Mail article, she debunks many myths associated with ageing and discusses the importance of developing a nuanced understanding of the many ways ageism manifests in daily life.To illustrate the variation in ageist stereotypes, the article highlighted multiple myths that promote a negative view of ageing. Experts can help to dispel ageist myths, for example Ms Applewhite illustrated that despite the ongoing fear associated with cognitive decline as one ages, dementia rates are actually dropping. IFA Expert Professor Michael Valenzuela can be contacted to learn more about cognitive decline and how to promote cognitive reserve throughout life.Another myth addressed by Ms Applewhite was that although popular media often portrays older people as depressed, in actuality people are happiest at the beginning and end of their lives. As head of Geriatric Psychiatry, Dr. Joel Sadavoy is an expert in the mental health of older people and can be contacted for more information on associations between depression and ageing.Further to the assumption that older people are mentally unwell, the article addressed the broad assumption that they are also “sick and helpless.” IFA Expert Dr Regina Roller-Wirnsberger, an expert in healthy ageing and internal medicine, can address and dispel myths regarding ageing and health.The article by Ms Applewhite illustrates how a personal journey to understand her own perceptions of ageing transformed into the anti-ageism work she leads today. While there is no simple way to combat ageism, understanding how individual experiences impacts ageing and experiences of ageism and addressing the ageist ideas that persist in our society are critical first steps to eliminating this form of prejudice.“What can we do, individually and collectively, to provoke the necessary shift in consciousness, and catalyze a radical age movement to make it happen?” – Ashton Applewhite

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Recognizing the right to suitable end-of-life care for all

End-of-life care is essential for meeting the needs of those in their last stages of life. This type of care is becoming more in demand as the worldwide proportion of older people grows and as people live longer with life-limiting health conditions.  Despite many dying people’s wishes to remain at home, “hospitals remain the provider of end-of-life care for 70% of Canadians and 10% to 15% of patients are admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) on their final hospital admission” (Fowler and Hammer, 2013). End-of-life care becomes more complex when discussing older prisoners, who despite limited care options require the same level of care and dignity at their end of life. Yet, today Canada’s federal correctional investigator and the Canadian Human Rights Commission made public their concern that as numbers of older prisoners rise, some prisoners are not receiving the level of care required when nearing their end of life. Both parties called on the Correctional Service of Canada to “meet the unique needs and rights of older people behind bars.”  Dr. Fiona Aspinal is an expert in palliative care provision and quality who can speak to the requisites for end-of-life care provision and the logistics of providing end-of-life care in various settings. According to the article, published today in the Globe and Mail, the number of older inmates is on the rise. Currently, older inmates make up one-quarter of the prison population in Canada, a number which has risen by fifty percent in the past year.  A CBC report from January 2018 shows that many older inmates granted parole remain in prison because the system is not equipped for the current influx of older inmates and has no plan for where they will go when care is required in the community. The correctional system in Canada, and throughout much of the world, is not equipped to deal with an influx of older prisoners, who often have higher incidence of chronic diseases associated with their living conditions. What’s more, the correctional system is not prepared to deal with the most vulnerable within their community who have life-limiting illnesses requiring end-of-life care. What are the solutions?  According to the Huffington Post Canada, one option is the compassionate release for dying inmates, although this happens only in a handful of situations and is not an enduring solution.  To ensure the rights of older people are protected, a longer-term solution is necessary to make certain that prison infrastructure can support older people and that those nearing the end of their lives can achieve comfort in their final days.

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Creating inclusive spaces for older LGBTQI people

Diversity in the ageing population is often overlooked, which proves especially problematic because of the profound impacts it has on the wellbeing of older people. Globally, LGBTQI communities are particularly at risk of experiencing worse health outcomes as they age. Additionally, due to a lifetime of experiencing forms of oppression including homophobia, heterosexism, transphobia and sexism, individuals may be less likely to access support at non-LGBTQI health service providers, meal programs, and other types of social support programs for fear of discrimination and harassment.An article published by the CBC highlighted the issues experienced by older LGBTQI people when accessing housing. Current and potential residents of long-term care homes worry that inclusive and safe housing is impossible to find, and that rules and regulations make it difficult for individuals to be ‘out’ while in care.  IFA Expert Professor Marie Beaulieu can be contacted if interested in learning more about long-term care and the unique needs of older people.The research group Habitus Consulting Collective is working with Mount Royal University to disseminate a survey to better understand the housing landscape for ageing LGBTQI communities in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. However, this issue is not unique to Canada. Globally, ageing and LGBTQI organizations have been working towards creating spaces for older people that are both inclusive and welcoming of diversity. One of the IFA’s partners, SAGE (Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders) has made enormous strides for equality through their National LGBT Housing Initiative. To ensure that the diverse needs of older people are protected and respected internationally, the IFA, as well as partners SAGE and Egale Canada, have come together to launch the Older LGBTQI People Call to Action, asking individuals and organizations to pledge and support the rights of ageing LGBTQI communities. Contact Dr Jane Barratt, Secretary General, to learn more about the work of the IFA in addressing inequalities.

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Adding Life to Years

With a rapidly ageing global population, ensuring that individuals are able to maintain their functional ability as they age is of utmost importance. IFA expert Dr Alexandre Kalache is the President of the International Longevity Centre-Brazil (ILC BR) and since 2015 co-President of the Global Alliance of International Longevity Centres (ILC-GA).Alongside this shifting demographic, global inequality exists, and the diverse needs of older people are apparent. Reduced access to health and social services, healthy foods and financial insecurity all impact the ageing trajectory. Additionally, certain subpopulations of older people experience additional marginalization, which is known to further negatively impact their lives.Dr Kalache is a recognized leader in the field of ageing committed to eliminating inequity in populations globally and can be contacted to discuss addressing disparities and ensuring that older people can grow older in good health."There are many people that are aging in the world without a roof on top of their heads, without food on the table, without minimum money in their pockets to buy the medicine that they need at the end of the day. The way to [fix] this is step by step." – Dr Kalache To learn more about the work of the IFA in combating inequities, read the report on key messages from the Addressing Inequalities Summit.

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The future of work is here, and the rights of older people are at stake

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is an international organization that aims to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues. In January 2019, the ILO celebrated the beginning of its 100th year with the launch of the report on the Global Commission on the Future of Work.This report examines the alternatives for addressing the changes and challenges in the world of work – including how to better protect and support older workers. In addition, the ILO also very recently released a working paper on the future of work in the health care sector, including long-term care. By using a human-centered approach, the ILO is exploring and proposing ways to build more inclusive and active societies. Older persons are often left behind in international development and universal human rights – including progress in decent work, lifelong learning, and social protection coverage. As an NGO with general consultative status with the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) continuously advocates for the rights of older persons to be protected and respected by influencing and shaping age-related policies including those above.This year the IFA has expanded its representation at the UN in Geneva with the addition of a new IFA UN Representative, Dr Xenia Scheil-Adlung. Prior to her current work as an independent expert in global health and long-term care policy, Xenia worked as a Senior Health Policy Coordinator for the ILO, and as a Head of Division in the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs for the Federation Government of Germany. Contact Dr Scheil-Adlung to learn more about how health and social policies can better protect older persons’ rights to health and social security.

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Addressing the public health impact of vaccine hesitancy

In recent news, vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs), specifically measles, are making a resurgence. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of measles have increased by 30%, and outbreaks of measles in Europe and the United States have prompted expansive dialogue on the threat of reappearing VPDs. There is real danger with outbreaks of VPDs and as such it has prompted the WHO to name vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. Vaccine hesitancy is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services.Vaccine hesitancy is complex, and there are many reasons why someone may be resistant to vaccination. According to the WHO:“The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex; a vaccines advisory group to WHO identified complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy.” The prevention of VPDs can require coverage rates as high as 90-95% to achieve herd immunity; at this rate, communities are protected from VPDs by the high number of vaccinated individuals. Sources such as UNICEF USA warn that without a concerted effort to combat vaccine hesitancy and improve vaccination rates universally, preventable diseases such as pertussis, diptheria and mumps may dip below rates required for herd immunity, increasing incidence of these, and other, diseases and threatening health at all ages. Contact Prof. Ross Andrews for information on the effect of VPDs in diverse populations. Connected to vaccine hesitancy is the threat of a global influenza pandemic, also identified by the WHO as a forthcoming concern. While many dismiss the serious and pervasive nature of influenza, the CDC asserts that as many as 646,000 people may die from influenza each year, with vaccine hesitancy and other barriers to information and access affecting uptake of influenza vaccination globally. What remains clear is that without major changes to vaccination attitudes and uptake rates, new and emerging VPDs will put the health of global populations in jeopardy. Left as it is now, populations will continue to become reacquainted with diseases that were thought to have been eradicated, calling into question why vaccination, one of the most effective public health tools, is not being utilized effectively to preserve health and well-being. The International Federation on Ageing focuses on vaccination within the context of healthy ageing, including addressing barriers like vaccine hesitancy and working to increase access to vaccination information and services as a necessary tool for maintaining functional ability at all ages. For more information on vaccination and ageing, contact Dr Stefania Maggi, an expert in the impact of lifelong health promotion and disease prevention programs on healthy ageing.

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Ageing in a crisis zone: Venezuela’s older people | Envejecer en una zona de crisis: las personas mayores de Venezuela

Amidst headlines of the political controversies and economic crisis in Venezuela in recent years, it is difficult to ignore the images of people of all ages struggling and some even fleeing the country for a better life. According to the World Bank, the national life expectancy is 74 years. This can be at least partially attributed to years of investment in public health, education, and other social programs.  However, the gains in life expectancy are likely to be reversed due to the current situation in Venezuela, which has led to financial vulnerabilities and insecurity, as well as overburdened and underfunded health care facilities and other essential services.  Other tools for survival – basic household items and food – have become scarce or too expensive for a large segment of the population. Older persons are often one of the most affected population groups in crisis situations.   Whether living in a conflict zone, or in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, older persons are disproportionately impacted through the subsequent reduced access to health and care services, high risks of family separation and increased rates of distress and abuse.  It is critical to ensure that human rights and the unique and diverse needs of older persons are protected is times of crisis. To learn more about the role of law in protecting the health and risks of this at-risk population, contact international and human rights law expert Professor Andrew Byrnes through the IFA Expert Centre. Image by Wil Riera via NPR

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The Need for a Lifelong Vaccination Strategy in An Ageing Population

IFA Expert Dr Mine Durusu-Tanriover is a consultant of acute care in Ankara, Turkey and Professor of Internal Medicine at Hacettepe University. Dr Durusu-Tanriover notes that people with chronic disease are frequently admitted to the hospital due to vaccine preventable diseases such as influenza and pneumonia, despite the availability of vaccines.Last year, none of the EU member states achieved the target of 75% for vaccinating at-risk groups such as older people and those with chronic disease with the influenza vaccine, according to a report released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Dr Durusu-Tanriover also notes the alarmingly low rates of pneumococcal vaccination uptake amongst at-risk groups, emphasizing the necessity of creating a lifelong vaccination strategy for an ageing population."We have a very big problem in vaccinating patients with chronic diseases. We're not reaching the goals. (…) At a global level, we have to share positive messages [about adult vaccination] (…) But in order to solve the problems, we have to act on the local basis, inside the community." - Dr Durusu-Tanriover As a researcher in adult vaccination for close to ten years with over 40 peer-reviewed articles, the IFA was proud to have Dr Durusu-Tanriover participate in the 14th Global Conference on Ageing, where she presented on a plenary panel, Not Just for Kids: Supporting Healthy Ageing through Vaccination in At-risk Groups, that contextualized the intervention of adult vaccination in healthy ageing. The IFA’s Adult Vaccination Program aims to help build a world where healthy ageing and functional ability of older people are maintained. Intrinsic to this focus is improving the uptake rates of adult vaccination by understanding local barriers and building the capacity of in-country collaborators to influence policy. Contact experts like Dr Durusu-Tanriover to discuss the critical and often neglected topic of adult vaccination.For more information on the importance of vaccination to adults with chronic disease, browse recently released reports from the IFA: Vaccinations and the At-risk Adult Population of Diabetes Vaccinations and the At-risk Population of Adults with Heart and Lung Conditions

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Train your Brain: Making Life Easier for People with Dementia

A recent New York Times article discusses the importance of cognitive rehabilitation to people with dementia.Cognitive rehabilitation involves strategies to help people with dementia compensate for memory problems through techniques that help with tasks such heating up a meal and keeping track of appointments. Although cognitive rehabilitation cannot reverse the effects of dementia, it can help them improve their ability to perform everyday tasks. In the article, IFA Expert Dr Linda Clare explains that cognitive rehabilitation “evolved from methods used to help people with brain injuries” and can be contacted for more information.“More and more, people will understand how many preserved abilities there are in dementia” says Eric Salmon, Director of a University of Liege, Belgium memory clinic. These preserved abilities are often referred to as “cognitive reserve” and experts believe that this can be built up across the life course through cognitively stimulating activities. Ensuring that brain health is not solely the focus of older people, the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), Alzheimer's Association and Alzheimer's Society UK have joined together to launch a new initiative. A public health educational initiative for children aged 6 to 12 years, known as the My Brain Robbie campaign, “aims to fill an educational gap in the field of dementia prevention” through education and an increased global public awareness of the importance of brain health across the lifespan.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) in collaboration with DaneAge will be holding the Copenhagen Summit on Cognitive Reserve this year to gain a deeper understanding of potential cognitive reserve models and their benefits, build on the global knowledge network, and encourage policy development and implementation. For more information on cognitive reserve and the Copenhagen Summit, contact IFA Expert Prof Michael Valenzuela, leader of Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney.

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Acknowledging older peoples diverse needs to improve long-term care

In Canada, the ageing population is rising, comprising approximately 20% of the population in 2016. Health infrastructure has not caught up to the growth of an ageing population, commonly leaving long-term care reform a subject of discussion.According to the 2016 Canadian Census (Statistics Canada), 6.8% of Canadians aged 65 years and older are living in a long-term care facility or seniors’ residence and this proportion rises to 30.0% among Canadians aged 85 years and older. As these numbers continue to increase, the need for tailored services to address older people’s diverse backgrounds and experiences becomes more pressing. Older people should be able to access services that address their needs, yet consistently this is not the case. According to a recent article in the Globe and Mail, one of the needs not currently being addressed is the need for French (and other) language services. “There is currently one long-term bed for every 170 Ontarians among the general population [and]…only one long-term bed for every 3,400 francophones in the Greater Toronto Area.” - Sylvie Lavoie, quoted from the Globe and Mail For an ageing population that is already marginalized by experiences of ageism and a lack of adequate services to support ageing, accessing long-term care in the language of their preference is crucial. This is firstly because familiar language provides comfort amidst major life changes, and second because offering residents support in their own language is a step in recognizing older people as individuals with unique experiences.According to Dr. Sarah Bowen, also quoted in the Globe and Mail, indicates that the presence of language barriers within long-term care is perhaps a symptom of a larger issue wherein the needs of older adults are not regularly considered, leaving them vulnerable to mistreatment. “When care providers and patients can’t speak the same language, it poses risks not only to the patient, but to the entire system.” - Dr. Sarah Bowen, quoted from the Globe and Mail Are language barriers a problem in your local community? Get in touch with experts who can help to shed light on the issue and provide knowledge on ways forward. For example, Dr Sandra Hirst is an expert on the experiences of older people in long-term care and can speak to the need for services adapted to fit the needs of residents. For Canadians, Dr Pat Armstrong is an expert in long-term care reform and can speak to the need to improve long-term care services in Canada.

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Combating ageism through positivity and respect of older persons

People around the world are living longer, but despite this rapidly changing population demographic, global attitudes towards ageing and older people remain overwhelmingly negative, and fatalistic. Even more problematic is the evidence that highlights the role of ageism in diminishing the health and wellbeing of older people.A recent article by CNN identifies many studies illustrating the dangers of ageism. A World Health Organization (WHO) survey from 2016 highlighted that 60% of respondents believe that older people are not respected, and this has serious implications for older people.An Orb Media analysis showed that lower poverty and better health was common in countries that respected their older people, while a study in Ireland identified that mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are “more common among people with negative ideas about ageing.”  According to CNN, “in 2016, WHO acknowledged the need for ageism to be globally addressed and highlighted that ageism is most likely more widespread than sexism and racism.” The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is proud to work with the WHO and other organizations internationally in combating ageism.Through initiatives that promote a life-course approach to health, such as adult vaccination and vision health, or in spreading awareness of the importance of age-friendly environments that promote healthy ageing, the IFA works at many levels to address systemic ageism. Additionally, through the WHO Global Campaign to Combat Ageism, the IFA maintains a critical role in advancing the work of the campaign. To learn more about the importance of combating ageism to promote healthy ageing and maintain functional ability, contact IFA Secretary General Dr Jane Barratt through ExpertFile.

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Hearing Loss: More than just an inconvenience

You may be aware that hearing function decreases as one ages, but are you informed of the significant impact hearing loss has on health? A recent article released by the New York Times discusses the growing body of research linking hearing loss and ill-health.A study by Johns Hopkins University found that those with untreated hearing loss were at a 50% increased risk of having dementia compared to those with no hearing loss, and a study by Nicholas S. Reed and colleagues found that untreated hearing loss resulted in more frequent and longer visits to the hospital. Hearing loss has also been shown to increase risk of falls, social isolation, and cardiovascular disease.“Unfortunately, people tend to wait much too long to get their hearing tested and treated with hearing aids, and the longer they wait, the harder it is to treat hearing loss.” – Dr. Frank Lin, Johns Hopkins University Stay tuned for World Hearing Day on March 3, where organizations such as the World Health Organization will raise awareness on how to prevent hearing loss and promote hearing care. The theme of World Hearing Day 2019 is “Check your hearing!” and the campaign will stress the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) acknowledges that poor hearing is not merely an inconvenience, but rather plays a substantial role in the wellbeing and function of older people. Contact IFA Expert Prof Antony Bayer, Professor of Geriatric Medicine in the Division of Population Medicine at Cardiff University for more information on the importance of hearing to health to older people.

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Supporting caregivers and reducing isolation during the holiday season

Caregivers provide substantial support to older people where needed, yet are chronically under-recognized.According to the Washington Post, there are forty million family caregivers in the United States who provide assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom.   The holiday season is a time for families to come together, enjoy one another’s company and reflect on the year gone by. Yet, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, for family caregivers the holidays can also be challenging, filled with overwhelming expectations, logistical issues, and changes to routine that can be difficult to navigate. On top of these challenges, this season can also intensify caregiver isolation, as programs shut down for long stretches of time, and outside supports retreat to observe their own traditions elsewhere.  Dr Anne Martin-Matthews is an IFA expert that specializes in caregiving and can offer input on how to reduce caregiver isolation over the holidays.Still, the holidays can also be an opportunity to show support for someone providing care to an older person.  According to an AARP poll asking caregivers about help during the holidays, “Almost eight in 10 said it would be helpful to have someone to talk with who understands, 73 percent would like help with holiday tasks, and 72 percent would like help with holiday meals.” While important, keeping up traditions may become arduous when caring for a loved one.  Adapting traditions to suit the needs of both caregivers and care-recipients can help. According to Forbes, support from others, time for self-care, and managing expectations – being selective about which parties to attend, for example – can help ease the stress of the holiday season. This holiday season recognize those people in your life who may need a little extra support, and instead of waiting until they ask for help, offer it instead. Not having to ask can make an enormous difference to caregivers, especially at times when they can feel especially isolated.

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Rethinking Retirement in the 21st Century

As part of the ‘What Happens Next – Future of Ageing’ editorial project, Quartz published a video discussing what’s next for the global economy as it adapts to a rapidly ageing global population.Various themes were interwoven throughout, discussing employment, retirement and caregiving in relation to the shifting population demographics. It provides insights for multiple ways in which older people are impacted by retirement, a topic which greatly excites IFA Expert Dr Amy D’Aprix. For example, many older people may want to retire but are unable to do so due to financial insecurity, while others are forced into retirement, and a financially precarious situation, as many jobs and workplaces are not age-friendly. Compounding these issues are ageist narratives that dominate society suggesting that as people age, they have less to offer society.“We are going to need to completely rethink the last third of life given that people are living much longer” – Dr Amy D’Aprix The idea of retirement that has existed in the past is no longer viable. Not only are more older people continuing to work to much later ages, but many want to continue to make meaningful contributions to their communities and gain purpose through their work.“Moving forward, we need to figure out how individuals, government and business can work together to address work-life sustainability and create more opportunities to meaningfully participate in the workforce” – Dr Amy D’Aprix If left unaddressed, this increasingly complicated issue will not just effect those currently thinking about their impending retirement dates, but those just entering the workforce. Creating opportunities that take account for the varied needs of age-diverse communities and ensuring that ageist assumptions don’t negatively impact an older person’s ability to work is critical moving forward.To learn more about changing the narrative around retirement and the importance of creating a sustainable workforce, contact Dr D’Aprix, or other IFA experts, today.

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Vision health, ageing and promoting functional ability

Ensuring that older people are able to maintain functional ability across the life course is critical with a rapidly ageing global population. While some people age without experiencing drastic changes in their vision, there are several eye diseases and conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR), which do not have noticeable symptoms in their early stages and greatly impact the functional ability of people as they age.New research and initiatives are emerging globally to address this growing concern. For example, while a new Artificial Intelligence eye screening programme was launched in Thailand, there is also innovative research to improve the early detection of AMD is taking place in Australia and the development of new ways to treat eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration are emerging in Singapore.“Being responsible and protecting our eyesight is part of how we keep healthy (while) aging." – Dr Jane Barratt Every year in Canada more than 50,000 Canadians will lose their sight and with the increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity, the incidence of vision loss is expected to increase nearly 30 percent over the next ten years. The Eye See You (ESY) campaign was created to raise awareness of vision health issues and to ensure that Canadians across the country are able to access the appropriate information about their eye health.This holiday season, the ESY campaign is running a social media photo contest to draw attention to vision health. The contest is in full swing, and Ms Louise Gillis, President of the Canadian Council of the Blind, has already joined by sharing an image on Twitter of something that matters to her this holiday season!To learn more about the importance of promoting vision health throughout the life course, as well as the Eye See You campaign, contact IFA Secretary General Dr Jane Barratt.

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Human rights do not diminish with age

Monday, 10 December 2018 is the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations (UN) International Human Rights Day.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out the fundamental human rights that are to be universally protected – but these rights are not necessarily upheld for older persons (learn more from the 2018 report by the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons).The IFA has general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and has been deeply involved in the drafting of key initiatives at the UN, perhaps most notably, the UN Principles of Older Persons, and also advocated vigorously for older persons to be recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, the IFA and its representatives have been vocal towards the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on Ageing. The OEWG is now a part of the official UN calendar, with the upcoming 10th Session taking place from 15-18 April 2019 in New York.  Until then, it will remain unclear whether UN Member States are truly moving towards drafting an international, legally binding instrument to protect and promote the rights of older persons.What more can be done to protect the rights of older persons? Ask IFA Expert Craig Mokhiber, who is an international human rights lawyer and activist. He has decades of experience with the UN and is currently the Director of Chief of Development, Economic and Social Issues for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York.

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Endangered immunity: Low vaccination rates trigger a resurgence of measles

The measles vaccine prevented approximately 21.1 million deaths from 2000 through 2017, a recent CNN article reports:Yet measles, a disease that has been close to elimination in many countries, is making a comeback that threatens this eliminated status. A recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there was a 31% increase in measles cases globally from 2016 to 2017.An article published online by an IFA partner organization, VaccinesToday, early in 2018 warned of the increasing risk of measles in Europe, stating that the number of cases is increasing, especially in countries where vaccination coverage rates are low.Low vaccination coverage rates put people in the community – who may be unable to have a vaccine due to age or ill health – at risk of contracting diseases such as measles. In contrast, according to VaccinesToday, high vaccination uptake rates of 95% would result in herd immunity which can offer protection to those who are unable to be vaccinated.The WHO and CDC report states that efforts to increase vaccination coverage, combat vaccine hesitancy, and strengthen health systems are vital in preventing measles, and other highly contagious vaccine-preventable diseases, from wreaking havoc on populations.Recognizing the significant impact of vaccine-preventable diseases globally, the IFA works from a life course perspective to improve vaccination rates in various regions of the world, having convened expert meetings on adult vaccination in Latin America, the Asia Pacific region, and Europe, with the goal of building national, regional, and international capacity to improve vaccination policies and practices. IFA expert Professor Raina MacIntyre is a specialist in infectious diseases and vaccinology who can speak to issues impacting vaccination rates, as well as high measles vaccine coverage sustained in the Western Pacific Region – including Australia, and what it will take for other regions to achieve this level of coverage and prevent outbreaks.

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Combating loneliness in the UK

Social isolation among older people is a longstanding issue that is increasing with a rapidly ageing global population. In the UK, the loneliness epidemic has been widely reported. One particular finding stated that around “200,000 older people in Britain had not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month” illustrating the severity of the problem. Not only is loneliness linked to illnesses including heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, but “it’s proven to be worse for health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” Contact IFA Expert Dr Ian Philp, a UK leader in the field of ageing, for more information about the health impact of loneliness on older people.To address the issue of loneliness, a Minister was appointed to confront this societal challenge and improve the experiences of socially isolated older people.However, this is not the only step that has been taken to address increasing loneliness in the UK. General Practitioners in England will now be able to refer socially isolated patients to activities that could help tackle feelings of loneliness, a concept known as “social prescribing.” This will allow doctors to refer patients to social activities such as walking clubs and arts groups, instead of offering medication.Doctors aren’t the only professionals getting involved in community initiatives aimed at combating loneliness. In Liverpool, social isolation in older people is being addressed through the Royal Mail’s “Feet on the Street” program, in which postal workers will stop and chat with older people on their delivery routes.  For Sue Whalley, the CEO of Royal Mail Post, this new community initiative builds on the work that postal workers already do and solidifies the “role we already play in tackling loneliness and isolation, providing individuals with a way to access the local services they really need."Interested in learning more about the impact that loneliness has on older people? Contact Dr Jane Barratt, Secretary of the International Federation on Ageing to learn more about the global impact of loneliness on ageing populations.

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Creating inclusive communities for older trans people

Gender identity is all too often thought of in relation to youth. Far too few conversations take place involving older people that exist outside the gender binary, who experience their own unique challenges intersecting with ageing.Yet, according to the Guardian, older trans people are beginning to challenge society’s narrow view of ageing. In the UK, 75 people aged between 61 and 71 had gender reassignment operations from 2009 to 2016. “These trans baby boomers are now beginning to challenge received ideas not just about gender but age, and the capacity of older people to live bold, adventurous lives.” IFA expert Dr Pamela B. Teaster is an expert in ethics, public policy, and public health related to aging, and co-editor of a book titled “Handbook of LGBT Elders.”  Contact her for an expert opinion on the intersections of ageing and gender identity.Despite some reductions in the stigma felt by trans people, many barriers still exist, and societal attitudes toward transitioning in later life can be especially challenging, with lack of understanding and acceptance drawing people away from their friends and communities. Older people who require care can feel that they will be mistreated, especially in long term care homes where there is limited or no training on working with trans people. Moreover, older trans people may fear a loss of capacity as they age that will force them to rely on others who may not respect their gender identity. Dr Pat Armstrong is an expert in long term care who can speak to the need to increase knowledge and training on sexual orientation and gender identity in long term care. Luckily, services supporting older trans people are starting to appear, often run by trans people themselves or by those who have been trained to provide sensitive, respectful care in the trans community. What is imperative is that the lived realities of older trans people are recognized, with policy makers and service providers acknowledging the intersections of ageism and transphobia and vowing to combat both.

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Healthy Eyes through AI

Google is partnering with ophthalmologists in India to use an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to improve diabetes care and prevent vision loss by increasing the speed and accessibility of the diagnostic process. AI has already been validated as a screening tool for diabetes-related vision complications such as diabetic retinopathy (DR) in the US, and this project is investigating whether similar technology could be used in India to improve patient care and diabetes management.Why is DR a growing concern? People are living longer with diabetes, and with longer duration of the disease comes the increased likelihood of damage to blood vessels and nerves from long-term high blood glucose levels. This damage can be observed throughout the body, including the eyes.   Fortunately, vision loss is preventable with early diagnosis of DR, followed by timely treatment and improved diabetes management (i.e. healthy diet, physical activity, and maintenance of blood pressure). To learn more the prevention of diabetes complications and whether new diagnostic technologies are effective, contact Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Hammes, a world-renowned leader in endocrinological research.What is AI? The innovation and technology space is notorious for its use of jargon – so what does it all actually mean? According to ScienceDaily, AI refers to ‘"the study and design of intelligent agents" where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions which maximizes its chances of success.’ Basically, AI is any machine that can learn and problem solve.How else can AI help improve functional ability and healthy ageing at the population level? Get an expert perspective from Prof. Suzanne Martin, a Professor of Occupational Therapy from Belfast, Northern Ireland whose research focus is on new and emerging technologies in health and social care.

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World Pneumonia Day: Raising pneumonia awareness throughout the life course

Today is World Pneumonia Day, a day to raise awareness about this serious and potentially life-threatening illness. Throughout the day, mass media and NGO’s have focused largely on the impact pneumonia has on children:Although media coverage on the impact that pneumonia has on children is important and well intentioned, recognizing that pneumonia affects other vulnerable groups such as older people and those with chronic disease is critical to promoting societal health and wellbeing. People aged 65 and older are at 10x greater risk for hospitalization with pneumococcal pneumonia than adults aged 18-49, yet a study by PneuVUE found that 80% did not feel concerned about the risk of catching it.Pneumococcal vaccination is a vital component of a comprehensive public health strategy on healthy ageing that helps in the prevention of disability or death from this preventable disease. This World Pneumonia Day, the International Federation on Ageing joins partner organizations in committing to support pneumonia awareness throughout the life course, illustrated in this joint statement. Visit @Vaccines4Life for more information and to raise awareness on the importance of pneumococcal vaccination to healthy ageing. Interested in discussing adult vaccination further? Ask IFA Experts Dr Mine Durusu-Tanriover and Dr Luis M. Guiterrez Robledo for information on the importance of the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination for promoting healthy ageing in older people.

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In sickness and in health

Recently, two older married couples made headlines in Canada for refusing to be separated by long-term care. In both cases, one spouse could not be admitted to the same facility because their health status did not require the same level of care. This forced separation has had negative impacts on the couples’ emotional health, on top of the long drive that created a physical barrier.  A petition was started to advocate for policy change that allows for cohabitation of older spouses with differing health needs – however, the Government of Manitoba (Canada) has responded with a statement indicating that this would not be possible as it would decrease access for Manitobans with higher care needs. The experiences of these couples in Manitoba are not unique, but serve as a strong example for the ways in which health systems are behind in delivering patient-centred care. In this case, the system has failed to acknowledge two realities: older persons are not all the same, and that health care decisions can have unintended harmful implications on social wellbeing.   According to the World Health Organization’s World Report on Ageing and Health, health systems around the world are encountering the same need to re-align to fit the diverse needs of older persons with varying functional abilities and health statuses. Identifying innovative health policy solutions that help older couples age in place is an important step towards preventing social isolation.  One leading expert in this field is Prof. Tine Rostgaard – a Danish academic who offers expertise on the best ways to improve the quality of care for older people in European health systems.

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Combating myths and understanding Dementia

Health misinformation has a significant role in influencing the health and well-being of older people, a recent article in the Toronto Star states. To highlight this role, the article seeks to dispel five common myths about Alzheimer’s and dementia. They include: Myth 1: Memory loss is a natural part of aging Myth 2: Only older adults can get Alzheimer’s disease Myth 3: Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are the same thing Myth 4: Alzheimer’s disease is hereditary Myth 5: There is nothing that can be done about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease While fear and denial are common for older people and their loved ones around Alzheimer’s and dementia, inaccurate information can increase confusion and anxiety for both patients and caregivers. It is important to be aware of symptoms and remember that Alzheimer’s and dementia are not inevitable consequences of ageing. An immense amount of research is currently being conducted to better understand, treat and ultimately prevent all forms of dementia, research which will perhaps contribute to less misinformation about both conditions. Interested in learning more? The IFA Expert Centre includes many prominent leaders in the field who can provide insight and clarity around dementia and Alzheimer’s. For example, Prof Linda Clare, Professor of Clinical Psychology of Ageing and Dementia at the University of Exeter, Prof Perminder Sachdev, Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at the University of New South Wales, and Prof Yaakov Stern, Professor of Neuropsychology at Columbia University, are world leaders in the field of ageing, cognitive health and cognitive reserve.

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Scotland experiences alarming increase in winter deaths

From December 2017 to March 2018, Scotland experienced a 75% increase in winter deaths compared to the previous year, according to a recent BBC article. In fact, the number of winter deaths is the highest it has been in Scotland in 18 years, reaching a count of 23,137.The main reason for this alarming increase is due to influenza and pneumonia. Older people and those with underlying chronic diseases are at higher risk for vaccine preventable diseases such as pneumonia and influenza.  Age Scotland urged older people to decrease their risk of illness by keeping their houses warm and getting vaccinated. Contact Dr Mine Durusu Tanriover for more information on why older people and those with chronic disease are at a higher risk for vaccine preventable diseases. As a result of the staggering increase of winter deaths, the Scottish government has begun work to determine the link between winter deaths and influenza, and urges at-risk groups to get vaccinated before the flu season begins.  Contact Prof David Salisbury to learn more on the role governments can play in increasing vaccination uptake rates. The International Federation on Ageing is committed to the prevention of vaccine preventable diseases in older people to maintain health and functional ability in later life. Follow @Vaccines4Life to be kept informed on this important topic.

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Using the power of friendship to fight loneliness

Lately, loneliness is never too far from discussions on aging. With the addition of the United Kingdom’s Minister for Loneliness, the term has become tantamount with dialogue on improving the health and well-being of older people, and the drive to pay attention to the mental health of older people.  Dr Bradley Willcox focuses his work on healthy ageing and can speak to the need for holistic health interventions in order to maintain health with age. According to Harvard Medicine Magazine (HMM), loneliness has captured the attention of numerous healthcare providers, and has been compared to an epidemic of equal detriment to cigarette smoking. Indeed, “research from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that 43% of older adults report feelings of loneliness. A 2013 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences even found that social isolation and loneliness are associated with a higher risk of mortality.” This level of risk associated with loneliness begs the question of what can be done in response.The answer, according to HMM, is prescribing friendship - giving older people, who may have multiple health conditions that make it hard for them to get around on their own, the opportunity for social interaction. The type of interaction can be varied, says HMM, with interventions including weekly phone calls, home visits, encouragement, and connection to community-based programs. Most importantly, combating loneliness means taking its symptoms as seriously as any other clinical condition, and never underestimating the importance of friendship in changing someone’s outlook.  Dr Anthea Tinker has expertise in social isolation and loneliness and can speak to the various types of interventions to counter loneliness.

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Envisioning an Ideal Age-Friendly City

“What would an age-friendly city look like?”, a recent article released by the Guardian outlines three key areas where “age-friendliness” should be considered in urban development and city planning.Firstly, homes should be built with older people in mind. Architects in Copenhagen have set a leading example through the creation of bright, clean, functional, modern, age-friendly housing that avoids stigmatization by creating an environment that makes it clear older people are valued. Connect with IFA expert Mr. Rodd Bond, an architect who now manages Louth’s Age-Friendly County initiative for more information on the importance of age-friendly housing design.Secondly, the article outlines that cities should enable older people to “get out and about” which can be accomplished through consideration for older people when planning transport, outdoor spaces, and public buildings. Thirdly, city planners should focus on methods that enable older people to continue participating in that which they value. Hong Kong has shown a successful example of how this may look, through the Hong Kong Elder Friendly Employment Practice, which assists older people in continuing their career and finding flexible employment after retirement. Contact IFA expert Dr. Ruth Finkelstein, who directs the “Age Smart Employer Awards Program” for more information on age-friendly employment. Age-friendly cities are of utmost importance to healthy ageing and allow older people to continue to do what they value in life.  Increasing amounts of research and projects are being produced on this subject matter.  The International Federation on Ageing releases an Age-Friendly Innovation Exchange (AFIX) newsletter every month to share new age-friendly research and projects. Sign up for the newsletter today!

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Malnutrition in Ageing Populations

An article published in RightsInfo on the United Nations International Day of Older Persons explored the impact of reduced access to food on UK’s ageing population, stating that although there has been a decrease in the number of older people living in poverty, one in ten older people (approximately 1.3 million) “are either malnourished or at imminent risk of being malnourished.”The article identified that due to ageist stereotypes, older people are at a greater risk of discrimination, isolation and exclusion, often impacting access to appropriate health and social care services. As such, in addition to financial insecurity, bereavement, illness and a reduction of services are commonly identified as causes of malnourishmentIFA Expert Dr John Beard, a global leader in the field of ageing and Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Department of Ageing and Life Course, can be contacted for additional information regarding older people living in poverty, including the impacts of social isolation and malnutrition.Social isolation and access to food are two issues that intersect in complicated ways. Although there is no single initiative that can solve this, the article highlights a few opportunities. Services like meals on wheels, lunch clubs and improved food provision in hospitals all positively influence the eating habits of older people. For another example of good practice, IFA Expert Dr Regina Roller-Wirnsberger has experience in developing an integrated nutritional approach that prevents malnutrition and promotes healthy ageing.The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, identifies a right to food and an adequate standard of living. Moving forward, coordination between governments and civil society is critical in developing comprehensive solutions to improve access to nutritious food for older people.Source:

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Respecting older people means recognizing their diverse care needs

Assisted living is an essential part of the care continuum, offering respite for individuals and families seeking support. But what happens when the place you call home decides they can no longer provide the services you require?According to the article “Kicked out of assisted living: What you can do,” evictions are the number one complaint related to assisted living. These complaints often go unanswered, and take place in facilities which are not required to document their attempts to provide care that could keep a person in the facility they currently reside in.In the United States, for example, assisted living facilities are not governed by the same federal legislation as nursing homes, where an established appeal process exists for evictions, and requires residents who need to be rehomed to have arranged relocation to another setting. Prof. Chris Poulos is an expert in care of older people, who can speak to the differences in assisted living versus nursing homes.The lack of procedure on the part of assisted living facilities draws attention to the deficits that exist in care for older people, and the lack of consideration of diverse circumstances in creating procedures that affect older people. What’s more, uncontestable evictions highlight the lack of respect and understanding certain companies have for older people and family caregivers.The article suggests that families thoroughly investigate facilities before investing in them; however, the duty is also on assisted living facilities to ensure that they are providing promised care to residents and respectfully discussing care with residents and families if need. It’s time we start shifting the dialogue of responsibility on to care providers and start treating our older people with respect, worthy of high-quality care. Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews is an expert in the provision of health and social care for older people who can speak to the particulars of assisted living.Source:

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The Ugly Truth about Ageism

Ageism, discrimination based on age, is present in society in countless ways, a recent Guardian article by Caroline Baum explains. It is often difficult for the younger population to picture themselves as old, and difficult to picture older people as once young.Ageism is found all around us, particularly in nursing homes. The article describes a disturbing incidence where a staff member at a nursing home described residents as either “Os” (residents with their mouths hanging open) or Qs” (residents with their tongues hanging out).Discriminatory language such as this is found throughout society in countless ways. Writer and ageism activist Ashton Applewhite argues that even the term “the elderly” is problematic, as “The” implies the group is homogenous, where in reality older people are just as diverse as the younger population.Consumerism intensifies ageism, where companies urge to “fight” the ageing process, despite the fact that most people are well aware this is not possible. Applewhite encourages initiatives like intergenerational housing, friendship networks and activist movements to combat ageism.Despite the prevalence of ageism in today’s society, Applewhite is optimistic for the future, as younger people are growing up in a more diverse world, and are aware diversity is here to stay. The International Federation on Ageing is a strong advocate for older people’s rights and combatting ageism. Contact IFA Expert Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United for more information on how intergenerational connections and policies can help to combat ageism. For further information on ageism, contact IFA Expert Craig Mokhiber, human rights defender, activist, international lawyer and specialists in human rights law, policy and methodology.Source:

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End-of-life care from a different perspective

For many, palliative care is a distant thought. We know it exists but hope we will never have to use its services. For those who require it, palliative care can bring with it a wave of emotions and sweeping changes that upend their lives and cement their place among the dying.For healthcare workers in palliative care, it can be difficult to assist patients in finding comfort in emotionally and physically painful experiences, all which are occurring in a time that feels too short.What the New York Times article, “In Life’s Last Moments, Open a Window” tells us is that perhaps it is our pre-conceived notions about palliative care that make it difficult to see that sometimes the solution is simple. Many of the patients described in the article get joy from the immediacy of looking outside and seeing nature, from being in the here and now.The author of the article sums up her experience working in palliative care by saying “what dominates my work is not proximity to death but the best bits of living.” Perhaps this way of looking at end-of-life care that has been overlooked, all of us looking for a more complicated answer instead of looking out the window.End-of-life care is an important, often under-discussed part of ageing. IFA expert Dr Fiona Aspinal has knowledge of identifying issues important to palliative care patients and their families. Contact Dr Aspinal to learn more.Source:

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Coordinating care for a healthier ageing population

To adapt to the health-care system challenges that arise with a rapidly ageing global population, patient-oriented practices need to be utilized. An article in Reuters Health discusses the importance of coordination between physicians when working with older people who have multiple chronic conditions and it quotes Dr Monika Kastner, University of Toronto, describing care coordination as the “efforts by health care professionals to facilitate and coordinate appropriate, timely and efficient delivery of health care services for a patient,” shifting the focus from targeting one disease at a time, to holistic treatment of an individual. Interested in this topic? Consider reaching out to IFA Expert Prof Roberto Bernabei, Director of the Department of Geriatrics and Rehabilitative Medicine at the A. Gemelli University Hospital in Italy, who specializes in improving models of health services for the care of older people.Fragmented care impacts all older people. With more than 62% of older people living in the United States diagnosed with multiple conditions, many receive care from multiple medical specialists who do not communicate with one another. For those patients diagnosed with both a chronic physical condition such a diabetes, as well as depression, substantial improvements to both conditions were noted when they received coordinated care. Dr Fiona Aspinal, York University, United Kingdom, can be contacted through the Expert Centre for questions about the integration of services for service users with long-term conditions and complex needs.Despite this growing need, there is presently no framework that illustrates to health care providers specifically how to implement integrated or coordinated care mechanisms within current systems. However, IFA Expert and World Health Organization Director, Life Course and Ageing, Dr John Beard is working with his department to develop the Integrated Care for Older People – ICOPE Programme to fill this gap. Until improvements are made, Dr Alicia Arbaje, John Hopkins University believes that changes to physician culture and increased public advocacy could help patients have access to more coordinated care.Source:

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Age-friendly healthcare: A necessary investment in healthy ageing

Healthcare systems are struggling to meet older people’s needs. Across the care continuum, testimonials from older people and caregivers reveal gaps in acute care alongside complex continuing care and long-term care. These gaps highlight a fundamental flaw – healthcare systems are not age-friendly.Rarely do healthcare systems capture the intricacies of ageing in a way that does justice to the experience, relying predominately on medical knowledge that ends up painting only half a picture of an age cohort that have rich histories often reflected in diverse and complex healthcare needs. Dr Mike Martin is an expert in ageing and gerontology and can speak to necessary changes needed in health care to reflect older people’s needs.In response to this issue, collaborative efforts from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the John A Hartford Foundation have resulted in an Age-Friendly Health System movement. According to Forbes, “the Age-Friendly Health System describes itself as a movement to recruit and support entire healthcare systems to focus on the domains most important to quality healthcare for older people. These include the “4Ms”: mobility, medications, mentation, and what matters.”Integrating the 4Ms across the healthcare continuum has already begun, with the hope that twenty percent of US hospitals will be engaged in this initiative by 2020. Dr Ruth Finkelstein is an expert in planning, implementation, and evaluation of systems-level aging initiatives with availability to discuss age-friendly health systems. There is significant opportunity, the Forbes article notes, to revitalize healthcare to meet the needs of older people, and to engage older people themselves in designing systems that meet those needs.Creating age-friendly environments remains important to healthy ageing, and diverse communities and systems are recognizing the need to become age-friendly as central to their progress. This includes the International Federation on Ageing, where the Age-Friendly Innovation Exchange newsletter strives to share age-friendly information through a variety of media. Head over to the IFA-FIV.org website to sign up.Source:

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Coffee lovers rejoice! Study demonstrates coffee drinkers have a lower risk of death

A recent study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine is a cause for celebration for coffee drinkers. The study of close to half a million adults in Britain demonstrated that those who drank coffee had a slightly lower risk (10 to 15 percent) of mortality after ten years than those who did not drank coffee.The decreased likelihood of death was even demonstrated in those who drank decaffeinated coffee. The reasons for these findings are unclear, with previous studies pointing to possibilities ranging from the high level of antioxidants in coffee to its positive impact on inflammation. Yet, coffee is just one part of a well-rounded diet. According to the United States National Institute on Aging, proper nutrition is an important part of healthy ageing, as older people may require different nutrients in different quantities than their younger counterparts. Furthermore, the University of Waterloo Kinesiology Department emphasizes that proper nutrition can be linked to things such as cognitive ability and long-term care residency, and thus can require more attention as we age.Contact IFA Expert Prof. Jean Woo for more information on the impact of nutrition on ageing and consider attending the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, where the impact of nutrition on wellbeing and health in later life will be discussed by numerous scholars under the key theme ‘toward healthy ageing’. Visit www.IFA2018.com for more information.Source:

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Recognizing the important work of dementia caregivers

Caregiving for a loved one with dementia is a responsibility that often falls to family members. According to Statistics Canada, the last Canadian census found that the majority of older people hope to age in their own homes, and that even among those 85 and older, only about a third of the population live in a community dwelling such as a retirement residence or long-term care facility. This means that the majority of older people end up remaining in their own homes, and eventually require some form of care. Dr Joel Sadavoy is an expert in caregiving who can discuss various care options for people with dementia.A recent study conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) found that “about 270,000 seniors were being cared for at home in 2015-16…with children (58 per cent) and spouses (32 per cent) most commonly taking on the role of caregiver for a loved one with dementia.” What’s more, CIHI found that dementia caregivers more often experience distress related to their caregiving role when compared with non-dementia caregivers.The distress indicated by caregivers in the CIHI study brings awareness to a broader issue requiring attention, highlighting the demands of unpaid caregiving and the lack of supports in place for informal caregivers, many of whom are women, and many who continue to work and take care of children. But while there are moments of overwhelm in providing care, especially for people with dementia who often have complex needs, it is important to recognize that family caregivers also find positives in being able to provide this assistance, hopefully with a formal and informal network of support around them.Recently, Canada moved forward with its commitment to creating a National Dementia Strategy, which will elevate dementia as a priority, including improving care for those with dementia and their families. Dr Samir Sinha is an expert in care for older people, a lead on Ontario’s Seniors Strategy and a knowledgeable source on dementia treatment and care.The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing will also include several presentations on caregiving, dementia, and aging-in-place. Visit https://www.ifa2018.com/ to find out more about abstracts on these and related topics.Source:

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Returning Home After Entering Long-Term Care

With a rapidly ageing global population, long-term care homes are increasingly in demand to help meet the needs of older people. For many older people, entering long-term care is a final move, and the role these facilities have in promoting functional ability cannot be understated.According to an article on the Conversation, there are more than 170,000 older adults living in 2,700 nursing homes across Australia, which comprises more than 6% of people aged 65 and older. Recently, The West Australian profiled an 86-year older woman named Jean O’Connor who moved into a long-term care facility while living with chronic pain and severe mental illness. Unlike most of her fellow residents, after five months of occupational therapy and a revised prescription plan, Jean was able to move back to her home and live independently.The IFA Expert Centre can connect individuals interested in learning more about long-term care with world leaders in the field of ageing. As Chief Policy and Regulatory Officer with Estia Health, Mr Mark Brandon is an expert in ensuring health and aged standards in long-term care are met and improved. Additionally, if you wish to learn more about how long-term care homes can adapt to meet the needs of specific populations of older, for example older LGBTQI people, as well as how long-term care facilities can counter elder abuse, contact Prof. Marie Beaulieu.Promoting healthy aging and innovations in long-term care are both central themes at the upcoming IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing. These topics and more will be explored over the course of three days, with global thought leaders in the field of ageing and related fields convening in Toronto, Canada from 8-10 August 2018.Source:

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Age matters when it comes to depression

A recent Dutch study following 1,042 people aged 18 to 88 who have been diagnosed with depression found that depression amongst older people (specifically, those aged 70 and older) is more severe than depression amongst those in younger age-groups. Furthermore, older people are less likely to reach remission and more likely to endure longer episodes of depression. International Federation on Ageing (IFA) expert Prof. Perminder Sachdev is a neuropsychiatry expert on the ageing brain who can provide further information regarding the impact of age on mental health.Recently, there has been an increase in discussion surrounding the impact social isolation and loneliness can have on older people, however this study found that these factors, along with number of chronic diseases and functional impairment, only partially explains the severity of depression, with old age remaining the central risk factor. In sum, age matters when it comes to depression. Contact IFA Expert Dr. Anne Martin-Matthews, Professor of Ageing and Lifecourse, to understand how factors related to the provision of healthcare for older people may also contribute to the severity of depression in later life.To further expand your knowledge and connect with top thought leaders in the field of ageing and mental health, consider attending the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing 8-10 August 2018. Under a key Conference theme ‘Toward Healthy Ageing’, experts will present on topics such as cognitive health, end of life care, social exclusion and mental health amongst older people. Visit www.IFA2018.com for more information.Source:

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Improving health through intergenerational relationships

The media too often highlights differences between generations, millennial vs. boomer for example, choosing to pit generations against each other and cast blame for various social ills. This fabricated tension draws attention away from the strength of intergenerational relationships, a far more positive discussion highlighting the health and social benefits of intergenerational programming.The benefits of intergenerational programming extend to all who participate. Recently, the New York Times reported that a survey of intergenerational program participants reported benefits for older adults including decreased loneliness, increased levels of engagement, and feelings of happiness, interest, and love. For younger people, the survey found higher demonstrated levels of empathy and a greater ability to regulate behaviour.The survey – conducted by Generations United and the Eisner Foundation – reviewed 180 intergenerational programs and reported that “Shared sites can create new environments to confront ageism, break down the barriers of age-segregation and forge long-lasting and life-changing intergenerational bonds.”IFA Expert and Generations United Executive Director Donna Butts is leading Generations United in work on intergenerational connections, including intergenerational programs and relationships. She also regularly speaks on the importance of implementing effective policies across the lifespan.Ms. Butts is a strong advocate for intergenerational relationships, raising awareness of the advantages these relationships can bring. She points out that intergenerational programming is “the wave of the future among senior housing providers,” and already includes such programs as daycares in nursing homes, and shared accommodations between students and older people, which promote good mental and physical health.To discover the benefits of intergenerational connections, and to learn more about the work being done at Generations United, contact IFA Expert Ms. Donna Butts through the IFA Expert Centre or attend the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing to learn of the latest developments in intergenerational programming.Source:

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Report Highlights Widespread Ageism in the UK

Experiencing prejudice and discrimination on the basis of age is known as ageism and is an extremely common experience for older people globally.The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) published a report on how negative attitudes on ageing impact the health and well-being of older people and found that there were widespread ageist attitudes throughout society in the United Kingdom.The Independent article “Millennials Feel Most Negatively About Ageing, Report Finds” highlights many of the key findings of the report and discusses initiatives that can be used to combat ageism. For instance, the report shows that individuals who hold negative feelings about ageing are more likely to internalize these ideas and live “on average seven and half years less than those who view it in a positive light.” The World Health Organization is a world leader in addressing misconceptions about ageing. Contact the Director of Ageing and Life-course, Dr John Beard to learn more.Trivializing ageist language and behaviour is one way that this form of prejudice has remained so prevalent in society. Countering these narratives is crucial in ensuring the rapidly ageing global population does not have to live with barriers that reinforce societal ageism. Dr Debra Whitman, Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP, can speak to the role of policy development and analysis in combating ageism.Ending the use of “anti-ageing” in the beauty industry, discussing what ageism is in schools and promoting intergenerational initiatives are all strategies that can be taken to combat ageism. Ms Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United, can further add to this discussion and address the importance of brining individuals of all ages together.With many millennials believing that older age is a period of decline, that loneliness is a natural part of ageing and that it is normal for older people to be depressed, it is imperative that ageist misconceptions are countered.Source:

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England faced with geographic inequalities in social care

Diversity is often overlooked in policies that aim to improve the health and wellbeing of older people. This is problematic as it assumes that the experience of all older people is the same regardless of factors such as gender, race or even location. The IFA's 14th Global Conference on Ageing (www.ifa2018.com) will highlight the impact of inequalities on the wellbeing of older people through one of the four main conference themes: Addressing Inequalities.A recently released article from the Guardian illustrates the impact inequality has on the ageing population in England through new data compiled by the Care Quality Commission. The data shows the older population living in less affluent areas are more likely to receive inferior social care services.For example, 42% of people in Manchester (considered a more deprived area in England) believed their social care services required improvement, compared to only 7% in Wokingham, a more affluent town in Berkshire, England. Contact Dr Megumi Rosenberg whose research includes health equity and urban health for more information.Areas more impacted by poverty are most likely to suffer from government cuts in funding and are placed at an increased strain due to less people in the area paying for social care expenses. Over the years, eligibility for social care has tightened, and social care spending has decreased dramatically. For more information on why this has occurred, contact Prof Alan Walker, who has been researching aspects on ageing and social policy for 40 years.Source:

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Cognitive decline should not be confused with normal ageing

Physical activity has been celebrated as a “miracle drug” for both physical and mental health. Specifically, it is recommended to combine aerobic exercise and strength training to have optimal health impacts.A recent systematic review revealed that increasing the number of hours of being physically active was correlated with improved cognitive performance. This research adds to a quickly growing body of knowledge that regular physical activity supports the improvement or maintenance of cognitive reserve across the lifespan. Professor Yaakov Stern of Columbia University is an expert at the forefront of this emerging topic, consider reaching out.In response to this article, Dr. John Beard, the World Health Organization’s Director of the Department of Ageing and Life Course, recently tweeted an important point: “Actually, I don’t want to keep my brain young, I like how it has developed over the years and the wisdom and tolerance that experience has given me. What I want to avoid is cognitive decline. No need to reinforce #ageism to encourage physical activity”. As a global expert in ageing, Dr. Beard is a strong advocate against ageist stereotypes.The stereotypes about severe cognitive impairment being an inevitable part of ageing, i.e. the “senior moment”, are inaccurate and ageist. Considering that physical activity and other lifestyle choices can impact older peoples’ brain health, it should not be assumed that dementia is a normal or natural part of ageing. With this shift in perspective, the public could feel more empowered to take charge of their brain and cognitive health.Source:

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Does ageing in place equate to ageing well? Depends.

It is easy to imagine why ageing at home (also known as ‘in place’) is important to so many. A home is cherished, and typically steeped in family history, tradition, and prized possessions. This desire for older people to live at home is evident in data released by Statistics Canada in 2014 showing that 92% of people 65 and older are living at home.Yet, ageing in place does not come without it’s challenges. The housing and accessibility needs of older people are often not well understood, meaning that the adaptations older people require to age comfortably in their homes may not be undertaken until after an injury or unplanned event has occurred – at which point it may be too late. Without appropriate modifications, there is also a risk that older people will not be able to utilize their homes fully and as a result, may become isolated.The New York Times article “How to Age Well and Stay in Your Home” mentions, there are also costs to consider when living at home versus in a retirement or long-term care facility. For some, costs to modify your home or hire at-home caregivers may outweigh the monthly cost of living in a facility. Those interested in learning more about housing for older adults can contact Professor Marie Beaulieu, an IFA ageing expert.The article also begs the question: does giving up your own home mean losing independence? The answer is, not always. Older people are not a homogenous group – what works for one person may not work for the next. Mr. Mark Brandon, OAM is an expert on strategy, health, and aged care who can speak to the suitability of care options for different people.What is clear is that ageing at home is preferred for a significant number of older people – but not all. By fostering choice and providing a variety of housing options society is enabling independence for older people to choose what is best for them.Source:

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Canadian Longitudinal Study on Ageing Debunks “Grey Tsunami” Myth

Since 2010, the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Ageing (CLSA) has followed over 50,000 Canadians to gain a better understanding of changing health patterns as people age. Accordingly, the CLSA has just released a new set of data gathered from the years 2010 to 2015.Results from the CLSA debunk the stereotypical “grey tsunami” metaphor that describes population ageing as a threat to the healthcare system due to an increase in chronic diseases. The results contradict this assumption by showing that over 90 percent of study participants between the ages 45 and 85 described their health as good, very good or excellent, even amongst those aged 75 and older.While later life is associated with an increased likelihood of ill-health, it is not as catastrophic as many people assume, as most conditions are manageable. The International Federation on Ageing (IFA), in agreeance with the World Health Organization, support this view, regarding functional ability as an important measure to healthy ageing as it takes into consideration that an individual with a chronic disease can do what they reasonably value in life through a supportive and enabling environment.The CLSA is crucial to guiding policies related to health, social care, and the ageing population in general. For example, the CLSA discovered that an increasing amount (38 percent) of people aged 45 to 85 are providing informal care to loved ones. These findings highlight the need for respite care and flexible workplace policies so that caregivers can continue to live in good health. To gain further insight about the societal and health implications of caregiving in later life, contact IFA Expert Prof. Ariela Lowenstein.In addition, the study found that 85 percent of the participants were home-owners, meaning policies and innovations should be implemented to allow people to continue to live safely in their own home. To learn more about the importance of policies that allow ageing in place, contact IFA Expert Prof. Yitzhak Brick.In summary, population ageing in Canada will not necessarily result in a ‘tsunami’ of poor health and healthcare spending, but does require innovative policies, programs and healthcare suited to the specific needs of the population. To gain more knowledge based on scientific evidence and connect with top experts in the field of ageing, consider attending the IFA 2018 Global Conference on Ageing (www.IFA2018.com), based in Toronto, Ontario from August 8-10.Source:

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Promoting vision health and protecting older people from AMD

Maintaining functional ability across the life course can help protect the health and well-being of older people. Promoting vision health and ensuring appropriate treatment of vision-related conditions is one important way to enable healthy ageing.For individuals over the age of 60, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss. By causing damage to the center of the retina, AMD is a slow and degenerative disease heavily impacting the central field of vision. Although not always resulting in blindness, this loss of vision makes it difficult for older people to drive, read, recognize faces and notice details. However, if AMD is detected early, treatment options exist that can improve patient outcomes. Dr Jane Barratt is an international expert on the role of vision health in promoting the functional ability of older people and can speak to the impact of AMD in an ageing population.As May is Vision Health Month, it is a pivotal time to ensure conversations include improved patient education, affordable comprehensive screening and treatment and the critical role of a physician to be able to determine the safest, appropriate and most effective treatment for each patient. Additionally, it is also important to understand individual risks and enable the maintenance of functional ability in a globally ageing population. For example, as AMD risk factors include smoking, family history and life style choices, it is crucial to get regular comprehensive medical eye exams to catch the disease before the symptoms arise.The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing will highlight how improved vision health contributes to healthy ageing under the Conference theme “Toward Healthy Ageing.”Source:

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Caregiving: An LGBTQI Perspective

Two billion people will be 60 years or older by 2050, making up over 20% of the world’s population. A global rise in life expectancy combined with falling fertility rates has contributed “to the rapid ageing of populations around the world” (WHO Report on Ageing, 2015). Older LGBTQI people are one such population experiencing significant population growth, and face additional challenges throughout the ageing process globally.As mentioned in this article, a study produced by SAGE, the United States’ oldest and largest organization serving older LGBTQI people, notes that one third of older LGBTQI people live alone and 40% expressed that their support networks decreased in size over the years. Additionally, a report by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving states that members of LGBTQI communities are more likely than the rest of the population to become caregivers for other adults.Due to distrust of various social and medical institutions, the sexual orientation of many older people was kept secret from doctors, family and friends, shrinking their social networks even further. Many laws and institutional regulations make it difficult for individuals in non-married LGBTQI relationships to have a say in caregiving decision-making processes, with biological family members stepping in and excluding partners and friends.The unequal treatment experienced by older LGBTQI people throughout the caregiving process is just one of many issues which negatively impact health and well-being as these communities age.The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing (www.ifa2018.com) is focused on addressing inequalities, featuring a major sub-category on older LGBTQI people. Interested in learning more from IFA Experts who will be attending the Conference? Contact Dr Debra Whitman to learn more about the work of AARP in protecting vulnerable populations, Dr Marie Beaulieu for her expertise around isolation and caregiving experiences or Dr Jane Barratt to discuss the work of the IFA in advocating for the rights of older LGBTQI people globally.Source:

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Financial exploitation is a public health issue

The article 'How Criminals Steal $37 Billion a Year from America’s Elderly' states that “elder abuse victims—including those who suffer financial exploitation—die at a rate three times faster than those who haven’t been abused.” The scale of this issue combined with the severity of resulting adverse effects makes financial exploitation of older people a public health issue in need of attention.The conniving nature of scam artists is their ability to deceive their targets. Financial scams rely on numerous ageist assumptions, including the belief that older people are more vulnerable, isolated, and less mentally sharp than their younger, more savvy counterparts. As a result, older people are unduly targeted in financial scams that seek to deplete their financial resources. For an expert opinion on the prevention of elder abuse, contact Dr. Pamela B. Teaster through the IFA Expert Center.It is incorrect to assume that ageing and cognitive impairment go hand in hand – they don’t. However, when an older person does have cognitive impairment, it can make matters more complicated in financial exploitation cases based on the possibility that impairment has led to diminished capability to assess the situation. Prof. John Starr of Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre is an expert in cognitive health who can speak to the relationship between cognitive impairment and financial exploitation.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) advocates for a world where the health, rights, and choices of older people are protected and respected. Financial exploitation is carried out daily by employees of financial institutions, phone or internet scammers, and by family members and friends. Be reminded that ageism is persistent and further action needs to be taken to counter financial exploitation, other forms of abuse, and to support the health and functional ability of older people.Source:

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Proven benefits from increased GP visits in long-term care

Long-term care (LTC) home residents are in regular need of visits from their General Practitioner (GP) due to often ongoing and complicated healthcare needs, yet only 38% of LTC homes in the UK offer regular visits from GPs. Given that LTC residents are 40-50% more likely to be admitted to a hospital than the general older population, this is a strikingly low number.A £400,000 pilot scheme funded by the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund and local NHS clinical commissioning groups has been introduced to four LTC homes in London, UK. The pilot scheme, “Health 1000” provides the LTC home residents with daily GP support, which is far from regular practice in the UK.The initiative has proven beneficial, as a recent evaluation by Nuffield Trust demonstrates a resulting 36% decline in hospital admissions amongst the LTC residents from 2015 to 2017, along with a 53% decrease in days spent in the hospital. One reason for this dramatic decline is that regular GP visits allow health complications to be discussed with residents before they worsen. Due to this overwhelming success, Health 1000 plans to expand this initiative to additional LTC homes in London.For more information on the importance of GP visits in LTC, contact one of the IFA experts. Prof Zuidema, for example, is an elderly care physician who focuses on complex care issues in long-term care and the consultation of elderly care physicians. Similarly, IFA expert Dr. Judd has immense experience in aged care design.Interested in learning more about improvements in LTC? Consider attending the International Federation on Ageing's 14th Global Conference, where experts from around the world will gather to discuss critical issues related to ageing, with one conference theme focused on innovations in long-term care.Source:

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Heads up: Brain injury linked with dementia later in life

A recent Danish study of 2.8 million people found that those who had experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) had a 24% higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia later on, regardless of age. The authors of the study also pointed out that the risk of long-term complications can be lowered with cognitive rehabilitation.Among people who had a TBI, the risk of developing dementia was highest among the following groups: • men, • those with a more severe TBI, and • those with more than one TBI.While the risks of injury and developing dementia may worry some, it is worth noting that many TBI’s can be prevented. Some ways to prevent TBI include using seatbelts, wearing helmets while cycling or playing sports, as well as altering home environments to prevent a trip or fall. Age-friendly public policies that promote safer built environments and enforce the use of protective equipment can also help prevent TBI.To learn more about cognitive rehabilitation, lowering dementia risk, and built environments, register for the IFA 14th Global Conference, where speakers will cover all three of these topics. The IFA Expert Centre also features a number of relevant experts in these subject areas, such as: • Age-friendly policies to prevent traumatic brain injuries: Mr. Hugh O’Connor • Promoting and maintaining brain health and cognitive reserve: Dr. Gunhild Waldemar • Rehabilitation for people with cognitive impairments: Dr. Rosalie WangSource:

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The role of robots in population ageing

Robots are becoming increasingly popular around the world, particularly in Japan, as a tool in long-term care homes to help provide care to residents. In Tokyo, the long-term care home Shintomi uses a range of 20 different robots to provide different forms of care to residents. These range from an upright ‘tree’ to guide an unsteady resident, to a robot that leads an exercise group for residents. Some robots even deliver a scripted dialogue to help reduce social isolation among residents.IFA Expert Prof Goldie Nejat specializes in developing robots in the field of ageing, among others. As the Founder and Director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Lab at the University of Toronto, and holding a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Dr Nejat's highly credible skill in this area has established her as a world leader in this line of work.Prof Nejat is aware of the challenges posed by an ageing population, such as a decrease in healthcare staff and increased need for caregivers. For these reasons, Prof Nejat works with other international experts to expand the horizon of possibilities for robotics in areas such as healthcare and long-term care.To learn more about the role of robotics for an ageing population, contact IFA Expert Prof. Goldie Nejat through the IFA Expert Centre. In addition, consider attending the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, occurring from 8-10 August 2018 in Toronto, Ontario. Prof Nejat will be speaking on technology innovation and personal robots in the context of the future of healthy ageing and population ageing. Please visit www.IFA2018.com for more information.Source:

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Vaccination is Europe's greatest public health asset

Written for Parliament magazine, this article discusses vaccination as a crucial public health prevention strategy and stresses the need to boost vaccination coverage rates across the European Union (EU) to protect individuals and others who are vulnerable such as older people and people with immunocompromising conditions.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and the IFA World Coalition on Adult Vaccination work toward increasing vaccination uptake rates on a global scale, particularly among older people and at-risk groups, as well as bringing awareness to the role vaccination plays in healthy ageing and preservation of functional ability.The IFA’s work on adult vaccination has been done jointly with stakeholders in the fields of vaccination, ageing, public health, and non-communicable diseases. Stakeholders include Dr. Mine Durusu Tanriover, an expert in acute diseases and adult vaccination who speaks to the combined effects of chronic diseases and vaccine preventable diseases on long-term health, and Dr. Jean-Pierre Michel, an expert in the biology of aging who can speak to the decline in immune system function associated with age.The IFA has found similar barriers to those noted in the article in conducting national and regional meetings on vaccination as a public health priority. A recent report from the Nordic ‘Adult Vaccination: A Public Health Priority’ meeting identified key vaccination barriers including the need for better vaccine registries and surveillance; the need to prioritize vaccination among healthcare professionals; the need for stronger public health messaging around the benefits of vaccination; the need for more effective vaccines; and the need for more cohesive mechanisms of vaccine delivery. These barriers can be elaborated on by adult vaccination expert Dr. Serhat Unal, an attendee of an early IFA adult vaccination expert meeting in Belgium.The life course approach to vaccination is the focus of the IFA’s World Immunization Week 2018 campaign (24-30 April 2018), and will be showcased at the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, happening 8-10 August 2018 in Toronto, Canada.Source:

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Time to get up: Too much sitting has long-term impacts on brain health

A recent study looking at adults between the ages of 45 and 75 observed worse brain health among those who spend more time sitting. One concerning element of the study was that the part of the brain examined in the study was the medial temporal lobe, which is important for memory.This could have implications not only for individual health, but also workplaces and societies. How can public policies help us sit less, move more, and promote our brain health and cognitive reserve as we get older?More research is needed to understand how living a sedentary lifestyle impacts the brain. However, there is an overwhelming body of evidence to inform the public on how to help increase cognitive reserve throughout their lifetime.Attend the 14th Global Conference on Ageing to hear from international experts on the roles that individuals, health professionals, governments, industry leaders, and civil society can have in this public health issue (www.ifa2018.com).Many of the IFA experts have knowledge and expertise on how to promote and maintain brain health and cognitive reserve. For example, Dr. Kaarin Anstey is a psychology and neuroscience expert who explores the epidemiology of cognition and dementia. Similarly, Prof. Perminder Sachdev is a neuropsychiatry expert revolutionizing understanding of the ageing brain, apropos of lifestyle choices. Explore the IFA Expert Centre to learn even more about what leaders in the field of ageing are doing to promote cognitive reserve.Source:

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Creating new opportunities for gerontologists

With a rapidly ageing population, corporations are evolving while adapting their goods and services so that they can participate in this lucrative market. However, stereotypes and prejudices often work against older people, with products not always meeting the real needs of older consumers.To combat ageism, more businesses are turning to gerontologists and other aging professionals. For example, Dr. John Beard (World Health Organization) brings expertise on issues affecting older people and the ageing process.This article describes gerontology as “the study of the biological, behavioural and social changes associated with ageing.” Although often confused with geriatrics, gerontology can provide companies with the insights they need to be competitive in this growing market. Insurance, investment banking, and other business ventures that have hired individuals with a knowledge of ageing have experienced positive benefits and are creating products and services that better meet the needs of older people. Dr. Debra Whitman has extensive knowledge of ageing and economic policy and would be an ideal speaker on adapting goods and services to an ageing population.Expanding the role of gerontology in ventures outside the realm of traditional ageing-related fields like long-term care and retirement, can help reduce ageist stereotypes experienced by older people. As ageism is extremely prevalent and often socially acceptable, developing interdisciplinary strategies is an important first step in combating ageism.The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing has identified combating ageism as a priority area due to it’s far-reaching impact and will feature a wide range of presentations on the topic, as well as a pre-conference Master Class. For more information or to participate in these discussions contact IFA Secretary General Dr. Jane Barratt, or go to www.ifa2018.comSource:

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India to provide long-term care residents with pneumonia vaccination

Older people are at an increased risk of acquiring vaccine preventable diseases such as pneumonia due to the weakening of the immune system as one ages. Despite high rates of child immunization, the importance of adult vaccination often goes unrecognized. Vaccination can help protect older people from pneumonia, which is a common cause of health issues such as heart attack and stroke.For these reasons, India’s state government has decided to take action and form a pneumonia vaccination program for older people living in long-term care. The social welfare department has chosen to target long-term care homes, as the prevalence of pneumonia is high and air-borne infection is more common. Furthermore, the residents or caregivers are often unable to purchase the vaccine due to its high cost, at 3,800 Rs per vaccine shot. Over fifty long-term care homes in India will be targeted, along with nine other centres that work with older people.A key focus of the International Federation on Ageing is improving adult vaccination uptake rates. If you would like to learn more about the importance of vaccines for at-risk groups such as older people, consider attending the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, which includes discussion from experts on a life course approach to vaccination. Visit www.ifa2018.com for details.For even more information on adult vaccination, connect with one of our IFA experts, such as Prof. Roman Prymula, who is involved in the clinical development of new vaccines.Source:

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People can't be educated into vaccinations, but behavioral nudges help, study finds

Despite years of public health campaigns encouraging people to be vaccinated and showing the health benefits both to individuals and communities, a recent study has shown that using indirect behavioral nudges - “actions like automatically scheduled vaccination appointments, phone and text reminders from doctors' offices and monetary incentives from employers” – may be more effective in increasing vaccination rates.Numerous advances in vaccines over the last century that have demonstrated positive results, and warnings of impending outbreaks in the face of falling vaccination rates, have not been enough to significantly quell pervasive vaccine hesitancy, where sentiments often result in the detrimental delaying of vaccination.This article makes clear that strategies thought to be constructive, including providing people with as much information as possible about vaccination, can have the opposite effect, instead provoking more uncertainty. Instead, the study has found that setting concrete goals regarding upcoming vaccinations has a higher chance of resulting in positive behavior change.What this article makes clear is the need to continue studying behavior modification as a means of increasing vaccination uptake rates in conjunction with education, and the need to refine public health education on vaccination to provide to-the-point information in the hopes of mitigating vaccine hesitancy.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) believes in advocating for increasing vaccination uptake rates to preserve functional ability, particularly among older people and at-risk groups. As such, the life course approach to vaccination, including examination of vaccination behaviors, will be well-represented at the IFA 14th Global Conference, happening 8-10 August 2018 in Toronto, Canada.To find out more about vaccination and approaches to increasing uptake rates contact IFA experts.Source:

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'Super agers' share how they stay sharp

Research has shown that while the brain itself changes with age, it is possible to avoid severe cognitive impairment and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The SuperAging study based in Chicago is getting to the bottom of this – by studying people in their 80s and 90s with maintained cognitive function.One hint emerging from the study is that the cortex, or outer brain layer, is thicker than average among these ‘Super agers’. The rate their brains change at is also slower than the average older person. One particular brain cell called a ‘von Economo neuron’ is also more common among this group.There is still more to know about these different in brain changes with age, and what lifestyle changes people can do to put themselves in the ‘Super ager’ group while lowering the risk of dementia.To explore this further, register for the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing where world-renowned experts in the field of cognitive reserve will share the latest research. Until then, connect with global cognitive reserve leaders from the IFA Expert Centre.Source:

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Combating Ageism through 'You're Never Too Old' Campaign

In comparison to racism and sexism, the ways in which the stigma, prejudice and discrimination of ageism impact older people is generally less understood. Ageist attitudes are reinforced by terms like “bed blockers,” blaming older people for overcrowding in hospitals, and “silver tsunami,” which connects the negative connotations of a disaster with rapidly ageing populations.With the objective of combating ageism, Hamilton, Ontario’s Council on Aging has decided to launch a campaign that highlights the issues associated with ageism, while encouraging older people to share their stories. Eighteen older people living in Hamilton were involved in the creation of a “You’re Never Too Old” campaign book of portraits and inspirational messages, breaking the stigma of ageism and showcasing the beneficial contributions of older people throughout the city.This anti-ageism campaign is just one way that Hamilton is becoming even more age-friendly. The city has made great strides for older people, receiving a 2018 Ontario Age-Friendly Community Award for its age-friendly contributions, as well as celebrating McMaster University joining the global network on age-friendly universities.If you are interested in learning more, Combating Ageism is one of four key themes of the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing. Until then, you can learn more about the negative effects of ageism from IFA experts:Source:

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Against Ageism

Ageism is a prejudice most older people will experience. It comprises a set of stereotypes many of us have bestowed upon older people in our lives, whether conscious or not. Often, it seems that a lack of understanding of growing older is firmly rooted in people’s disbelief or desire to ignore the fact that old age will ever befall them.Age-related discrimination comes in many forms, but this article focusses predominately on the invisibility that comes with growing older. This invisibility can manifest in the erasure of individual identities in favour of a collective identity based on age, or it can reveal itself in discussions of ageing populations as non-contributing, problematic, and a burden on health and social care systems.The author of this article asks, “What is the role older adults can play in society?” going on to describe the ways this role is still being figured out because of increased longevity. Nevertheless, the article leaves readers with the message that older people are not a unified group, but live in countless circumstances and make innumerable, underrecognized contributions to all sectors of society.What remains to strive for is the dismantling of stereotypes that belittle older people, question their worth, and foster circumstances that can lead to invisibility, loneliness, and isolation in favour of a dynamic view of ageing that appreciates and encourages older adults’ full societal participation.The IFA is dedicated to working toward enabling functional ability and full participation of older people in society. The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing will feature a Combating Ageism theme that aims to expose the many challenges faced by older people as a result of ageist attitudes in order to promote positive change.To learn more about ageism, contact one of the following experts from the IFA Expert Center to arrange an interview:Source:

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Influenza vaccination in Europe

The rates of influenza vaccination are low and even decreasing in many European nations, with two million preventable cases of influenza occurring in Europe each year. To reach the target of providing 75% of at-risk people with the influenza vaccine, an additional 60 million people would need to be vaccinated in Europe.The Steering Group on Influenza Vaccination recently outlined key methods to increase influenza vaccination rates in the “EU Manifesto on Influenza Vaccination.” The Steering Group consists of various scientific and medical associations (such as the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union) and aims to produce effective strategies to reach the target of providing 75% of the population with the influenza vaccine.The EU Manifesto on Influenza Vaccination advises health care providers to promote the influenza vaccine, explains the need to focus on at-risk groups such as older people and emphasizes the need for an improved societal understanding of the value and safety of the vaccine within the EU population. Overall, the Steering Group strives for an improved and collaborative practice between professionals in Europe in order to increase influenza vaccination rates.If you would like to learn more about the importance of vaccines for at-risk groups such as older people, consider attending the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, which includes discussion from experts on a life course approach to vaccination. Visit www.ifa2018.com for details.For more information on vaccinations, connect with one of our IFA experts such as Dr. Mine Durusu Tanriover, who was involved in the Global Influenza Hospital Surveillance Network project.Source:

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Ageing populations are growing around our youth-obsessed Commonwealth

Population ageing is a growing global consideration. New research by CommonAge and the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing shows continuing, significant increases in older populations in the Commonwealth countries over the next 25 years, with the fastest growing being people 80 years and older.Addressing ageing in the Commonwealth is not a blanket solution, as countries tackle varying socioeconomic situations and residents face a range of lived realities largely dictated by their socioeconomic context. Yet, many age-related concerns - rising rates of chronic diseases, access to healthcare, and the health consequences of loneliness - traverse borders.The article states that acting on population ageing is crucial, as action can change the perception of ageing in society from a challenge to an opportunity. The concern is that there is not enough attention paid to population ageing across Commonwealth countries, and that the diversity of issues affecting older people are not being given appropriate attention in meetings of the Commonwealth, leading to a lack of forethought addressing the physical, mental, and social health challenges of ageing.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) 14th Global Conference on Ageing will focus on a range of pertinent issues supporting healthy ageing across the life course through the four main themes of Age-friendly Environments, Combating Ageism, Toward Healthy Ageing and Addressing Inequalities. Learn more about healthy ageing from IFA experts:1. Dr. Marla Shapiro 2. Dr. Alex Ross 3. Dr. Bradley Willcox 4. Dr. Anthea TinkerSource:

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Age is not a barrier to sexual activity

Contrary to popular belief, older people have sex, and over half of older Britons would prefer more sex.A recent study surveying 2,002 Britons aged 65+ found that over half of the respondents (52%) wish they were having more sex, and nearly one third were open to having sex on a first date. The survey also found that ten percent of respondents over the age of 75 reported having more than one sexual partner in the past ten years.Older people are more sexually involved than the general population believes. In fact, the respondents explained the only reason they would stop having sex is due to “lack of opportunity”.Lack of awareness toward sexual activity in older people leads to the assumption that sexual health is an issue solely for the younger population. This may contribute to the fact that around 9% of respondents in the survey did not use protection against sexually transmitted infections when becoming sexually active with a new person.If you would like to learn more about sexual activity in later life, consider attending the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing and the Master Class happening on 7 August that addresses the sexual rights of older people. See https://www.ifa2018.com/master-classes/ for more details.For more information on sexual activity in later life, connect with one of our IFA experts.Source:

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Drink less to prevent dementia

A study of over 1 million people conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that people with alcohol use disorders were more likely to have developed all types of dementia, including early-onset dementia.The researchers found that chronic heavy drinking was the top risk factor for dementia when compared with other “modifiable” or “preventable” risk factors such as tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, lower education, depression, and hearing loss. They speculated that heavy drinking has a strong impact because of the links to structural brain changes as well as other full-body impacts such as hypertension and liver damage.As dementia is seen as a major threat to healthy ageing, the findings from this study provide new evidence to consider in policy development and practice updates. At the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing, delegates will have the pleasure of hearing about the latest research on this topic from global experts on cognitive health and dementia risk reduction. Learn more about what can be done to curb the risk of dementia from IFA experts.Source:

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How Can Artificial Intelligence Diagnose Eye Diseases?

A collaboration between Google owned artificial intelligence (AI) company DeepMind and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, England, has shown that hospitals could be using AI for early diagnosis of eye diseases. Thousands of retinal scans have been analyzed to train an AI algorithm on how to find different types of eye diseases including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, more efficiently and quickly than a human specialist.By 2050, due to a growing and ageing global population, there could be a threefold increase in the number of people experiencing blindness. According to Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw, director of research and development at Moorfields, early diagnosis and treatment is the most effective way to protect the vision health of older people, making it “vital we explore the use of cutting-edge technology.”Professor Tee Khaw also stated he was “optimistic” that this new research on the role of machine learning in health care could not only reduce the number of people suffering globally from avoidable vision loss, but also make it so the healthcare system can prioritise patients with vision-threatening conditions.Interested in how to promote the vision health of older people and the role of technology in improving health outcomes? The IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing will have sessions exploring Technology and Ageing, as well as Vision Health. Until then, the IFA Expert Centre can help connect you to someone who can help you learn more.Source:

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Bad heart? Don't forget your flu shot.

Amid a turbulent flu season, where discussion seems to have centered around the efficacy of this year’s flu vaccine, heartening news from a study done by Public Health Ontario is showing that the flu vaccine may offer secondary protection against heart attacks.Protection from heart attacks has been shown particularly for groups such as older people, and people with cardiovascular and other chronic conditions, who are at high risk of complications.Not only is the risk of heart attack moderated by the flu vaccine, but the vaccine has been compared to other long-term health measures, for example quitting smoking, in its prevention capacity.This news is especially important considering recent additional research showing that the risk of heart attack increases sixfold in the week following a positive flu diagnosis, particularly among vulnerable groups.While younger, healthier people may not be at as high risk of complications from the flu, they too can transmit the influenza virus to others who may be at greater risk.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) 14th Global Conference theme Toward Healthy Ageing will feature current research on the connections between influenza, ageing, and chronic conditions.For more information on these connections, contact the following experts from the IFA Expert Centre:Source:

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The Age-Friendly City Can't Be Just for the Wealthy

With the global population ageing rapidly, with 25% of the population expected to be over the age of 60 by 2050, and with three out of every five people expected to live in an urban area by 2030, the imperative to ensure cities and communities can meet the needs of older people is clear.A new book entitled Age-Friendly Cities and Communities: A Global Perspective, published by researchers at the U.K.'s University of Manchester wants to ensure that older people with lower incomes and poorer health status are addressed in the age-friendly cities movement. Over the past two decades, and after the World Health Organization establish the Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities, there has been major growth in the movement.Despite this need, the authors of this new book argue that the majority of work around age-friendly communities has benefited healthy, high-income individuals while leaving out the communities that are most in need of support and infrastructure repairs. This was reaffirmed by one of the authors, Chris Phillipson, who stated "it's hard to be an older person if you've had a lifelong experience of poverty."Phillipson also stressed that accommodating those with cognitive and physical disabilities is an important step in establishing more inclusive age-friendly communities.The IFA is invested in ensuring that age-friendly cities and communities are developed that address the inequalities experienced by often neglected groups of older people. The Expert Centre has several experts who can speak to the importance of urban equality in age-friendly community design. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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People with chronic diseases could benefit from the power of love(d ones)

People living with non-communicable diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, are often by a family member or friend. Having loved ones' support increases that person's success in managing their health as they age.Often, these supporters are older than 50 and can be parents, spouses, other relatives, friends, or children.Communication is key. Asking whether a someone wants to include a loved one in appointments or other communications is a step. Training and educating on communication styles should also be provided to these supporters. For example, there may be more effective ways for supporters to learn for talking to their loved ones about conditions and treatments.What can health care systems do to "support these supporters" and up the odds of positive outcomes? Learn more from our experts:Source:

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We'll live longer but suffer more ill-health by 2035, says study

People are living longer, but are they living healthier? According to a Newcastle University study, that answer is no. The number of people living with chronic medical conditions, in many cases more than one (multimorbidity), is set to climb to unprecedented numbers by 2035 as the population continues to age.Those with multimorbidity, including cancer, diabetes, dementia and depression, require expanded access to health and long-term care services, putting an increasing strain on already overwhelmed healthcare systems, and on informal caregivers, most often family or friends, tasked with filling in healthcare service gaps.Increasing multimorbidity highlights the need for increased preventive strategies to combat diseases of ageing and exposes the misconception that living longer is the end goal, when in fact, living longer necessitates living healthier to maintain sustainable, publicly-funded health and social care systems.This research shows that addressing the possibility of multimorbidity before it occurs could help avert a long-lasting healthcare crisis, that has preventive possibilities through continual education and strategizing on disease-prevention.The many projects of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) prioritize healthy ageing as integral to facilitating older people's continued contributions to both the public and private spheres.To learn more about this study, multimorbidity and its affect on people, governments and health care systems, contact an expert through the IFA Expert Center to learn more about healthy ageing.Source:

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Abuse of older LGBTQI people in long-term care - what can be done?

Martha Wetzel, a 70-year old lesbian, has accused a suburban Chicago long-term care home of not intervening when she experienced abuse due to her sexual identity. In what may turn into a landmark case for tenants and housing rights, an appeal court heard her arguments earlier this year.Wetzel moved into the Glen Saint Andrew Living Community in 2013, after her long-term partner died. While living there, she experienced many forms of abuse from other residents including being spat on and struck, as well as homophobic verbal attacks like "homosexuals will burn in hell."The lawsuit was originally thrown out last year after a trial-judge stated, that despite what was said, there was not "any discriminatory animus, motive or, intent" shown by the administrators themselves.However, protections for LGBT tenants harassed by other tenants could be established under the Fair Housing Act if the appeals court chooses to reopen Wetzel's case.What can be done to protect older LGBTQI people living in long-term care? How can they live safely and free from oppression?While the court decides on its ruling, IFA Experts can help weigh-in. The Expert Centre has several experts who can speak to the inequalities experienced by certain populations, including older LGBTQI people, within long-term care homes. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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Why risky investments don't often yield big retirement rewards

Every year during tax season in Canada, there is a rush to make contributions to Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), especially for people who are approaching retirement.Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies - a form of virtual currency first established in 2009 - are shaping up to be the investment trend for 2018.Cryptocurrencies are being touted as the future of monetary transactions, eliminating the need for banks and other financial institutions as cryptocurrencies are decentralized - meaning their networks aren't run by a single person or company.Despite promises of doubling or even tripling retirement funds through cryptocurrency investments, many financial experts are cautioning against investing in cryptocurrencies, particularly for people who plan to access their retirement funds soon.Because of their digital nature, cryptocurrency investments can be stolen by hackers - propped up by the fact it can be very easy to lose the digital key that functions as the only proof of a cryptocurrency transaction and ownership.It's not just cryptocurrencies though - most financial experts caution against any kind of investment that could fluctuate quickly or be seen as a "risk" for people who might need their retirement savings sooner rather than later.So, if not cryptocurrencies, where should retirees and soon-to-be retirees invest their money in 2018? That's where IFA's experts can help. Click one of the icons below to arrange an interview today.Source:

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How poverty changes the brain - and what this means for an ageing population

A 2014 report by Economic Mobility Pathways in Boston found that a person's brain may play a significant role in whether or not that person can rise out of poverty - is it really as simple as it sounds though?When an individual lives in poverty, research suggests the brain's limbic system is constantly sending fear and stress messages, overloading a person's ability to solve problems, set goals, and complete tasks. This leaves the brain overwhelmed and incapable of prioritizing or taking on other things.It's a constant state of stress and it can last for generations.But there is hope that the cycle can be broken. If so, it may impact every demographic and segment of the population.So, what will this mean for the next generation of older adults? Will these results trickle up? Will it mean older adults living in poverty may be better supported?It's not an easy topic to break down. That's where the experts from the IFA come in. Click on one of the icons to arrange an interview today.Source:

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How Kids Would Make Age-Friendly Cities

The phenomenon of population ageing continues to dominate the news, especially when it comes to providing adequate supports for older people as this population grows. According to Next Avenue, "by 2060, if not before, the United States is expected to have twice as many people over 65 than today, rising to nearly 24% of the population."Age-friendly cities and communities are laying the groundwork, investing in technology, and envisioning infrastructure that is needed to support a demographic shift that is already in progress. These communities are future-oriented as well, looking to young people who will one day be "older" to shift attitudes about ageing, and establish safe and inclusive spaces for older people.Intergenerational collaboration in the creation of age-friendly cities is necessary for long-term success, and many organizations, including Generations United out of Washington DC, are already realizing the importance of fostering intergenerational relationships.The Future City competition, from DiscoverE, invited kids to design virtual cities and 3D models, encouraging them to be excited by innovation and technology. This year's theme, the Age-friendly City, aims to come up with inventive solutions to barriers to access and independence that are found in many urban environments. One of the intended outcomes of this competition is to foster continued community involvement in age-friendly environments as competitors enter the workforce.As more cities work to become age-friendly, promoting greater involvement of all ages in establishing age-friendly environments highlights the importance of shifting societal beliefs about getting older and creating communities where every person, no matter their age, feels secure.Learn more about age-friendly environments, including technology and innovation, and creating age-friendly spaces from age-friendly experts at the International Federation on Ageing Expert Center.Source:

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How can we help older people in prison?

In Canada, one in four inmates are 50 years of age and older and considered to be in the ageing category. To many, 50 may seem young to be considered 'ageing' but "you can [essentially] add… 10 years to [a person's] chronological age" because poor physical and mental health is much more common behind bars.The Correctional Service of Canada has been working on a strategy to better address this growing population. The current correctional investigator, Adam Zinger, noted that not only is this age cohort the most expensive to incarcerate, they are also a group that poses one of the lowest risks of re-offending.The older prison population is going to increase even more in the coming years, due to tough-on-crime mandatory minimum sentences. This changing demographic means that correctional facilities will see a rise in prisoners with dementia, chronic illnesses, and cancer, as well as a higher rate of natural deaths behind bars.Alternatives to traditional prisons are needed because these current correctional facilities are not built to accommodate older people, according to Laura Tamblyn Watts who is a senior fellow and staff lawyer at the Canadian Centre for Elder Law.Will this new Canadian strategy provide solutions that promote healthy ageing in prisons? Can it suggest alternatives to traditional incarceration for this ageing population?That is where the experts from the International Federation on Ageing come in. Click on one of the icons above to arrange an interview with an expert today.Source:

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Do depression and anxiety lead to Alzheimer's?

Maintaining brain health with age is linked with a number of factors, including mental health. How can we maintain our mental health and what does that mean for our risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer's disease? A key sign of Alzheimer's is the amount of toxic proteins collected in the brain. These proteins include beta-amyloid and tau. According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, older people who show symptoms of anxiety and depression have more of these toxic proteins. This research adds to the other studies that have pointed to anxiety and depression as factors that increase risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. Could this mean that treating these mental health conditions earlier might lower that risk? Talk to an expert to learn more.Source:

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Can a simple test help older people maintain their independence?

New research from Australia has shown impressive advancements in determining the risk of frailty among older people, as well as informing how older people can maintain their independence and health.What does it all come down to? A simple online test, according to Australia's Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt.From a media release issued by the Australian government:"The Australian-first study, conducted by aged care provider Benetas, [guided] 3,000 home-dwelling seniors aged 65 and over through the FRAIL Questionnaire Screening Tool test, targeting Fatigue, Resistance, Ambulation Illnesses and Loss of Weight (FRAIL)."Noteworthy findings from the study included that 38 per cent of participants fell into the "pre-frail" category; that slightly more than half (56%) were categorized as "robust;" and notably, that women were found to have a much higher rate of frailty than men - with half the women surveyed being categorized as frail or pre-frail, compared to less than 40% of the male participants.According to Minister Wyatt "[t]he results show frailty is not present in all seniors surveyed, suggesting it is not an inevitable result of ageing and may be prevented or treated."So, what does this study mean in practice, and can it be applied to countries outside of Australia?Will other governments adopt similar surveys or tests?Could this be a viable solution for issues like housing and hospitalization for ageing populations?That's where the experts from the International Federation on Ageing come in. Click one of the icons below to arrange an interview with an expert today.Source:

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Flu Season Continues to Worsen

If you have been following the news lately, you might have noticed headlines warning that influenza risk is especially high this flu season - having already resulted in a significant number of hospitalizations and deaths. What’s more, experts are saying influenza is likely to result in more hospitalizations and deaths as we have not yet reached “peak season.”According to CBC News, this year’s flu strain, H3N2, tends to cause more severe illness, particularly in children and older people, as well as those with compromised immune systems. CBC reports that in Canada so far in 2017-2018, 68% of hospitalizations from the flu have been in people over the age of 65.For those who are not well-versed in the scientific jargon that can accompany warnings about flu season, it can be difficult to recognize what makes this flu season worse than previous ones. As a result, headlines warning of an impending flu catastrophe can be alarming, leading to concern about what can be done.The good news is, despite which flu strain is most prevalent in any given year, the measures taken to protect against flu remain the same. Taking precautions such as getting the flu vaccine not only protect you, but can also help protect vulnerable people in the community. Other safeguards, such as handwashing and remaining home from work when ill can also be taken.With some months to go until the end of winter, it’s not too late to protect yourself, your family and your community against the flu.Find out more about influenza, its consequences, and the importance of flu vaccination through experts on the International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre. Just click one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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“For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life”

It’s a feeling that many people are well-acquainted with, but at the same time, it’s a state of mind that rarely comes up in conversation – as if to admit it is to admit our own shortcomings.But what is this thing that’s so pervasive yet that has gone unnoticed for so long? It’s simple really - loneliness.In a 2013 report by Statistics Canada, as many as 1.4 million older Canadians reported feeling lonely, and this past week in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a ‘minister for loneliness’ to continue on the work spearheaded by MP Jo Cox.Social interaction is important for all, but especially for older people. A study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2012, found that participants who reported feeling lonely were more likely to develop difficulties with activities of daily living – to the point that loneliness became a significant “predictor of functional decline” and even death.So what can be done to stop this “epidemic of loneliness”? For family members and those in the community, think about how you can help older people stay in touch with friends, or even meet new ones. If you’re willing to drive an older relative or neighbor to a doctor’s appointment, consider that driving them to visit with a friend might have a comparable impact on their health and wellbeing.There’s a lot more that can be done – and that’s where our experts can help. The International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre has several experts who can speak on the subject of loneliness. Just click one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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Safe or silly - Is most new technology for older-adults missing the mark?

Cutting edge technology and getting the newest product to stores for an always hungry audience is all part of life in the very busy 21st Century.And while new innovations have brought us iPads, smartphones and personal assistants like Alexa from Amazon – there have also been more laughable inventions like the Microsoft SPOT, Google Glasses and even Miracle SocksFor every person, there’s a product and a company looking to sell it to them. As demographics shift towards an increasingly older population - many of whom still want to live independently - more and more companies are offering gadgets that promise the safety and well being of their users.ActiveProtective is a recent addition to this market, offering inflatable hip guards for the low, low price of $800. The company promises that the device will magically inflate and reduce the impact of any fall by 95 percent. But that's not all, there's also intuitive necklaces, bracelets, wearable watches, and shoes all with the bold promise to provide aid and assure potentially vulnerable older people and their loved ones that they’ll both safe and independent.Unfortunately, there’s little to no proof of how effective most of these products are. Even worse – there are more and more popping up every day, often accompanied by heavy handed, jargon based pseudo-science. Not to mention even those that seem like a good idea in theory often seem to disregard how the device might seamlessly integrate into the user's life, instead of drawing attention to themselves.What should older people and their families know about this new range of technology, and how can savvy consumers avoid spending money on bogus products that claim to do more than they are actually capable of?That’s where the International Federation on Ageing can help. Our Expert Centre has several experts who can speak to this growing trend and explain how older adults and their families can better choose what new technologies and products are best and which should be avoided. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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Does saying ‘I do’ … mean better than worse over the long term?

A recent review study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry links marriage to a lower risk for dementia in later life.The difference is noteworthy. Among over 800,000 people included in the study, lifelong single people were 42% more likely to develop dementia than those who are married, while people who had been widowed were 20% more likely.What does the presence or lack of a lifelong partner have to do cognitive decline? Do the psychological or social impacts of being married lead to living healthier lifestyles?It’s a fascinating concept with many factors at play – that’s where our experts can help. The International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre has several experts who can speak to this study and explain how being married can reduce your chances of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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Older adults and the gender gap – Addressing Inequalities

An enormous amount of attention and public outcry has seen forward progress on correcting the gender gap. Women in the workplace, traditionally, have made substantially less than their male counterparts in the same profession. At times up to 30 percent less doing the same job.Since this issue has come to light, there have been strong efforts by government and private industry to correct this trend and to bring equality to the workplace.But one segment of the population seems to have been overlooked in all of this – older adults.A study by the Centre for Ageing Better found “shameful” and jaw-dropping results when it comes to the living and financial conditions of females over the age of 65. Most have lower pensions compared to males and have a greater chance of being poorly housed, unhealthy and living in poverty.The report also noted that older people who identify as part of LGBTQI communities and those from visible minorities are also disproportionately disadvantaged.Older people who live in poverty and poor health are exponentially more likely to develop chronic illnesses and depression. All of which can impact society and in multiple ways including health care, social services and even taxation.But how bad is it?Can this trend be reversed or is it a matter of correcting it for future generations?There are a lot of questions – – that’s where our experts can help. The International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre has several experts who can speak to this subject. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.Addressing Inequalities is one of the themes of the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing , which will be taking place in Toronto, Canada from 8-10 August 2018. Visit ifa2018.com to learn how the 14th Global Conference on Ageing will be addressing the many inequalities faced by older people today.Source:

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‘Healthy body = Healthy mind’ Might be more than just a saying according to recent research

There is growing evidence that shows keeping physically active is good for brain health.Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is best described as a slight decline in cognitive abilities like thinking and memory. Although it is not serious enough to interfere with one’s daily living as they age and grow older, a person with MCI has an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.The good news: MCI may be treatable. Several studies are showing that older adults with MCI, halt and in some cases, turn back and improve their conditions with regular exercise and activity. New guidelines by the American Academy of Neurology recommend that people with MCI exercise regularly. In some cases – as little as 20 minutes a day can make a substantial difference.Will this change the way family doctors talk about growing older with patients? Will physical activity be the game changer for preventing Alzheimer’s?The science behind brain health and cognitive reserve is complex, with numerous implications for older people and ageing populations – that’s where our experts can help. The International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre has several experts who can speak to this subject. Experts on cognitive issues, health promotion and gerontology are available. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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Are targeted audiences ands online ads exposing age discrimination in America?

As our online and real-life lives are merging in front of us – are older adults being intentionally left out when it comes to advertising and job recruitment?A recent collaboration between The New York Times and ProPublica, the independent, non-profit investigative journalism organization found that several prominent and high-profile companies in America were recruiting on social media platforms like Facebook – but intentionally targeting audiences in younger demographics.What this means is that older adults weren’t just being avoided, they never even had the opportunity to see the ad. With targeted advertising that isolates key age groups and audiences – only those selected to see the advertisement or job opportunity will.There are laws prohibiting this. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) forbids bias towards anyone over the age of 40. However, Facebook has defended its practice saying, “used responsibly, age-based targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry practice and for good reason: it helps employers recruit and people of all ages find work.”The concept of online ageism is new and not an easy subject to dissect or understand. As digital media platforms which cater to targeted demographics and measured audiences evolve - how will employers, social media companies and lawmakers ensure that no laws are violated when it comes to online recruiting and advertising?That’s where the experts from the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) can help. IFA Experts are available to speak on this issue - simply click on an icon to arrange an interview.Source:

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Elder abuse – Know the signs and your rights

It was a headline ripped almost directly from a Hollywood script. A man with a serious brain injury is whisked away from the hospital to be secretly married to an ex-girlfriend who wanted nothing more than access to his money.It seemed unbelievable until sadly it wasn’t a work of fiction but a fact-based account of an incident that took six years to legally resolve.In Ontario, marriage revokes any current will – the law says spouses are guaranteed the first $200,000 after death with the remainder split with surviving children.In Canada, it’s estimated over one trillion dollars will be passed down through inheritance in the next two decades.That’s a lot of money.It could also leave a lot of our ageing and older population vulnerable to predators and to become victims of elder abuse.But what can family members and older adults do to protect themselves from elder abuse? How common is it and what are the signs it’s happening?As our ageing population grows – what laws need to be in-place to ensure examples and stories of predatory spouses can’t happen?There are a lot of questions – that’s where our experts can help. The International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre has several experts who can speak on elder abuse and ageism. Simply click on one of their icons to arrange an interview.Source:

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Ageist Practices in Marketing and Advertising

Did you know that people 50 years of age and older in the United States account for 50% of all consumer spending but only 10% of marketing funds are targeted towards people in this demographic?1Marketing and advertising are two sectors that increasingly employ younger generations – in 2017, just 6% of people working in the advertising industry in the United States were over the age of 50 years. Due to this demographic trend, younger people in these sectors may lack an understanding of older generations, resulting in misconceptions or biases.Older consumers, especially those over the age of 50 years, may be mistakenly characterized as being tight-fisted with their money, set in their ways, uninterested in new products and brands, and lacking an understanding of technology – in particular social media, which is quickly becoming a central focus of many advertising campaigns.A 2017 study by marketing consulting firm Age of Majority found that “incorrect marketer assumptions about consumers have contributed to a high level of dissatisfaction among consumers (especially older consumers) regarding how they are marketed to.”One company that has found success in marketing to older consumers is the Gap Inc. owned Athleta, a fitness apparel company that tapped into the market of older women looking to either get fit or stay fit as they age. Athleta’s customer demographic ranges from about 35 to 55 years of age, and this is reflected in their marketing, which frequently features models over the age of 50.While some companies and marketing/advertising firms are taking steps to engage with older people, there is a growing demand for a deeper understanding of the needs and wants of older people, as well as how to market effectively to them; especially given that the global population of people 60 years of age and older reached 962 million people in 2017.The International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre has several experts who can speak on marketing, advertising, and ageing - please click on one of the icons above to arrange an interview.1 Statistics courtesy of US Census Bureau and AARPSource:

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Helping lower income older people in our communities

According to Statistics Canada, almost 600,000 older people across the country are living in poverty and struggling with income insecurity. Poverty amongst older people is both a social and a fiscal concern that will be exacerbated as higher percentages of Canadians move into the '65 years of age and older' demographic. In particular, poverty rates among older people tend to be highest among women, especially for widows over 75 years of age - largely due to pension allowances that have traditionally been linked to employment history.Although there are federal and provincial benefits available to people in Canada over the age of 65, many older people still struggle with income insecurity, especially in cities where the average cost of living, especially housing costs, have grown exponentially over the years as the population in the city increases.Income security and addressing inequalities faced by older women, as well as other marginalized groups are two of the sub-themes of the 14th Global Conference on Ageing, which will be taking place in Toronto, Canada from 8-10 August 2018. The International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre also has several experts who can speak on the growing concern of income insecurity amongst older people - please click on one of the icons above to arrange an interview, or visit ifa2018.com to learn how the 14th Global Conference on Ageing will be addressing the sub-themes that promote income security for all older people.Source:

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World Pneumonia Day

Did you know that Pneumonia accounts for 16% of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing 920 136 children in 2015. It is astounding.In America, according to the Center for Diseases Control, each year about 1 million people have to seek care in a hospital due to pneumonia, and about 50,000 people die from the disease.Most of the people affected by pneumonia in the United States are adults.And in Canada, for children, older people and those already dealing with compromised health – pneumonia is the 8th leading cause of death in the country.It is for these reasons that November 12 has been declared World Pneumonia Day by the World Health Organization and the World Health Organization is making pneumonia prevention a top priority.But what can we do to prevent pneumonia? What are the signs and symptoms? Is there a vaccine?There are a lot of questions about pneumonia and that is where experts from the International Federation on Ageing can help.Dr. Jane Barratt is the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing and is an internationally respected speaker on age-related issues across the globe. Dr. Barratt is available to speak with media regarding World Pneumonia Day, and the need for pneumonia awareness and prevention strategies all year round. Simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.Source:

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Winter is here – but are those boots keeping seniors safe from falls? Odds are they’re not.

Winter is here. And by the looks of the long-term forecast, it could be a long one. Snow, sleet, and ice make our sidewalks slippery – which, unfortunately, means many older people will wind up in the emergency room due to injuries from slipping on ice.But fear not. A team of researchers from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network are dedicated to keeping those falls to a minimum. The team has developed the first test of its kind in the world – the Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) Testing Method – to validate slip resistant footwear on icy surfaces using real people in a simulated winter environment.Researchers have tested the slip resistance of 98 winter boots, including both safety and casual footwear. The results show only eight per cent of footwear meeting the MMA minimum slip resistance standard. You can see those results here: www.ratemytreads.com.Fall prevention is a very important concern among our aging population. Too many older people lose their independence to preventable falls, and the resulting cost to our health care system is astounding. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, falls among older adults cost the U.S. health care system $34 billion in direct medical costs. In Ontario, it is estimated that more than 20,000 people will visit the emergency room this year after falling on ice or snow.Dr. Jane Barratt is the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing and is an internationally respected speaker on age related issues across the globe. Dr. Barratt is available to speak with media regarding this topic. Simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.Source:

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Are older Canadians coddled? The IFA weighs in on upcoming debate.

On October 25th, 2016 the latest instalment of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute's Great Canadian Debates will take place in Ottawa.At the heart of the matter will be whether or not Canada and its politicians focus too much on older Canadians in an effort to earn votes and win elections. Some argue that this demographic is enjoying too many tax breaks, privileges, and benefits that other Canadians do not. Some say those perks all well-deserved, given older Canadians' lifetimes of hard work and service.Dr. Jane Barratt is the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing. She brings to this position over 35 years experience in both public and private sectors in the fields of public health, community and aged care, and ageing and disability. Dr. Barratt has strived to strengthen the roles and relationships between government, NGOs, academia and the private sector in order to help shape and influence policy to improve the quality of life of older people.Dr. Barratt is an expert in the field of ageing policy, and understands how older people are represented. Dr. Barratt is available to speak to media with regard to this very important and timely debate.Source:

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What will Hillary Clinton mean for older adults?

After one of the longest campaigns in history, many promises have been made, and many policies have been developed to sway voters from one candidate to the other.But now, with the United States' presidential election mere weeks away, the race for the White House seems all but determined. Come November 8, barring a major shift in public opinion, Hillary Clinton will be named the 45th President of the United States.As older adults form one of the largest and most reliable voting demographics in America, both campaigns laboured to secure the support of this crucial group. The Clinton campaign made many bold promises regarding Social Security and Medicare, earning her the endorsement of the Alliance for Retired Americans and their 4.4 million members.But once the election is over, what can America’s older adults expect? Will they see the changes promised in Clinton's platform? What will those changes mean? How much will they cost?Dr. Debra Whitman, a member of IFA's Expert Centre, serves as Chief Public Policy Officer for the AARP. She is a leading authority on ageing issues with extensive experience in policy development and the political process.Dr. Whitman is a skilled speaker and has extensive experience speaking with the media. She is available to speak to news outlets regarding the outcome of this very important election.Source:

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Is Ontario ‘Measuring Up’ to the needs of older adults?

A report issued last week by Health Quality Ontario revealed some very serious gaps facing those in need of health care in Ontario.Health Quality Ontario (HQO) is the provincial advisor on the quality of health care. HQO reports to the public on the quality of the health care system, evaluates the effectiveness of new health care technologies and services, and supports quality improvement throughout the system.In ‘Measuring Up,’ crucial gaps in this system were revealed, showing potentially serious problems for vulnerable seniors and those who look after them. The report cited that caregiver distress is on the rise and that a staggering 65 per cent of palliative care patients die in hospitals, instead of at home, which is their first choice.Dr. Marla Shapiro is an expert in community and public health. She is a member of the Order of Canada and has long been a trusted source for health information.Dr. Shapiro makes regular appearances as an expert on television and also writes a regular column for the Globe and Mail. Dr. Shapiro is available to speak with media regarding the details of this very important report.Source:

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Leave No-One Behind: Ageing, Gender and the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Development Programme has shared its first policy note on the subject of ageing and gender. The brief approaches ageing through an intersectional lens, situating the challenges and opportunities presented by growing ageing demographics in low and middle-income countries within the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.As the report explores, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) directly address the concerns of older women by:- Calling for an end to poverty for all (SDG 1)- Including targets that lift historic age-caps on data collection for gender-based violence (SDG 5)- Specifying the right to health “for all and at all ages” (SDG 3)- Promoting “lifelong” learning (SDG 6)- Encouraging the development of sustainable, inclusive, and accessible urban environments, including for older persons (SDG 11)- Reducing all forms of violence, including physical, psychological, or sexual violence, among all persons, regardless of age (SDG 16)In the report, the UNDP says its commitment to gender equality “is rooted in the principle that Goal 5 – end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere – is a precondition to the success of the 2030 Agenda as a whole.”The International Federation on Ageing’s Expertfile is home to a number of top international experts on global ageing, all whom are available for media comment and speaking opportunities on issues related to global ageing and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.Source:

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"Take a stand against ageism," says United Nations on International Day of Older Persons

The United Nations is marking the International Day of Older Persons by encouraging countries to draw attention to and challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and ageing, and to enable older persons to realize their potential to build a life of dignity and human rights.“While older persons are often said to enjoy particular respect, the reality is that too many societies limit them […] The marginalization and devaluing of older persons takes a heavy toll,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the International Day, marked annually on 1 October.“Ending ageism and securing the human rights of older persons is an ethical and practical imperative,” said the UN chief, urging for measures to address this violation of human rights as well as calling for greater legal guarantees of equality for older persons to prevent ageism from resulting in discriminatory policies, laws and treatment.The International Federation on Ageing’s Expertfile is home to a number of top international experts on global ageing, all whom are available for media comment and speaking opportunities on issues related to global ageing and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.Source:

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32,000 people in Japan turned 100 this year - how can the economy keep up?

Every year, on September 19, Japan celebrates Respect for the Aged Day - a national holiday on which every new centenarian receives a silver sake dish. The tradition is beloved, but it is becoming an economic burden. In 2014, purchasing 59,000 sake dishes cost the Japanese government nearly $2.1 million USD. This year, the government will introduce a less expensive silver-plated alternative.Despite talk of a "demographic time bomb," many experts see Japan's ageing population as a tremendous opportunity for growth. In a recent public statement, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, "I have absolutely no worries about Japan's demography... Japan may be ageing. Japan may be losing its population. But these are incentives for us." Adjusting to the needs of an ageing population, said Abe, has motivated growth in robotics and technological development. "Japan's demography," he says, "paradoxically, is not an onus, but a bonus."The International Federation on Ageing’s Expertfile is home to a number of top international experts on global ageing, all whom are available for media comment and speaking opportunities on this pressing issue.Source:

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Hillary Clinton's Health: Learn More About Pneumonia

With the press discussing Hillary Clinton’s recent bout with pneumonia, there is no better time for a reminder about pneumonia - a fully vaccine-preventable infection.Pneumonia is a common but serious infection of one or both lungs, caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Anyone, regardless of age, can acquire pneumonia. The infection causes symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, high temperature, and pain in the side of the chest. Full recovery can take weeks, or even months.Pneumonia is commonly acquired by young children, individuals with chronic conditions, and older adults. The immune systems of these population groups are, respectively, building immunity, coping with strained immune systems, or declining slightly in efficiency.Even though vaccines are available to prevent cases of pneumonia, 600,000 to 800,000 adults worldwide succumb to the disease each year. In the United States alone, pneumonia is among the top ten leading causes of death.A simple preventative tool such as vaccination can mitigate the severe risks of pneumonia. Nonetheless, vaccination is severely underutilized in the older adult population, where uptake rates remain well below the recommended percentages. Ensuring older adults are up-to-date with appropriate vaccinations can reduce unnecessary infections, associated complications, and hospitalizations.With this in mind, it is important to know the approved pneumococcal vaccines and the populations they are recommended for:• The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria and is recommended for children under the age of 5 years, all adults 65 years and older and adults 19 years or older with conditions that weaken the immune system.• The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria and is recommended for those 2 years or older and all adults 65 years and older that are at high risk for this infection.IFA’s Expertfile is home to a number of top international experts on adult vaccination, all whom are available for media comment and speaking opportunities on this pressing issue.Source:

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7 out of 10 Americans plan to work in retirement

A new study by Bankrate has found that a stunning 75 per cent of Americans say they plan to work "as long as possible" in retirement - and not because they love their jobs. Only 40 per cent say they plan to continue working because they want to, while 35 per cent say they plan to work out of financial necessity."Working during retirement brings a lot of benefits," says Jill Cornfield, a retirement analyst for Bankrate. "I’m not surprised that nearly three quarters of people said they’d like to work as long as they can while in retirement. It’s not just the money. When you can work as a consultant or find some part-time gig, it really helps you stay sharp."IFA's Expertfile is home to a number of top international experts on retirement and older workers, all of whom are available for media comment and speaking opportunities on this pressing issue.Source:

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"Pensioner prisons" could cope with ageing inmates

The United Kingdom's Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke, made waves in recent weeks when he suggested that the carceral system could adopt "pensioner prisons" to better provide services and care to ageing prisoners, who frequently require palliative care and specialist treatment. Clarke emphasizes the importance of adopting an individualized approach to suit to each prisoner's needs and provide the greatest level of security. People over 60 are the country's fastest-growing demographic of prisoners, with more than 4,000 inmates nationwide over the age of 60 and nearly 100 over the age of 80. These figures have risen dramatically in recent years, with the number of older prisoners increasing by nearly three times since 2001.“The proportion in the prison population above work age is increasing quite dramatically," Clarke said in an interview with the London Evening Standard. “A lot of these people are on very long sentences ... and at some point there needs to be some consideration of whether prison is the right environment, whether it’s necessary to hold them in the security levels that prisons provide, or whether some other form of secure accommodation more suited to managing the risk that they present is found.”At the International Federation on Ageing's 14th Global Conference, to be held August 8-10, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, experts will discuss older prisoners as part of a broad, conference-wide conversation on addressing inequalities in ageing. To learn more about the conference program and themes, and to register your interest in attending, visit www.ifa2018.com.Source:

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Japan puts its seniors to work

In a global climate of concern around ageing populations, Japanese employers are discovering that silver is a valuable resource that can be spun into business gold. Older workers offer knowledge, how-to, and experience unmatched by younger cohorts.In a recent essay on Japan's older workforce, the Financial Times highlights the accomplishments of Sayaka Honjo, who, at 76, is cosmetic company Pola's top sales representative, posting monthly sales of ¥150m, or $1.4 million U.S. dollars. Honjo is not an outlier; among Pola's 50,000 sales representatives are 5,500 people in their 70s, 2,500 in their 80s, and 250 in their 90s. Pola benefits from their older salespeople's capacity to form long-lasting community connections. Says 83-year-old saleswoman Miyoko Sugiyama, "I won't retire as long as my clients want me."Metal fabricator Isoda regards older workers in a similar, positive light. A decade ago, the Tokyo company discarded rules mandating retirement at age 65. Employees like Kenji Sato, who is 71, are able to put their years of experience to good use in training new generations of workers and maintaining superior quality. Says Seto, an instructor for colleagues in their 20s and 30s, "I want to pass on to them every technique I've mastered."The International Federation on Ageing comprises government and non-government members in 62 countries, including Japan, and represents some 50 million older people. The IFA's Expertfile is home to a number of experts in the fields of ageing, employment of older adults, and retirement. Our experts are available to speak to media regarding employment trends, worker longevity, and international attitudes regarding older workers and retirees.Source:

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Will Quality and Standards Keep PACE with For-Profit Seniors Care?

Recent legislation in the United States could see a serious change in the way seniors receive health care. PACE - Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly - provides comprehensive medical and social services to certain frail, community-dwelling elderly individuals, most of whom are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid benefits.The goal of PACE is to enable seniors to remain living in their homes, while receiving care, avoiding the overwhelming and increasing costs of nursing homes and assisted care facilities.What’s also different is for the first time for-profit organizations are getting involved. Until recently, only non-profit organizations were allowed to run programs of this nature. The idea is that allowing seniors care to have business potential will mean faster more efficient services for those in need.With 30 million baby-boomers coming of age and becoming potential new clients over the next two decades – it’s a lucrative market.But opportunity does not come without concern. There are critics worried about reduced standards, ethics and quality of care. New approaches and technology that benefit bottom-lined based thinking and higher-margins were never part of the equation when the non-profit sector controlled this market.As PACE becomes a reality, there are some in America rubbing their hands while others are very worried.Dr. Jane Barratt is the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing comprising government and non government members in 62 countries and representing some 50 million older people.She is an expert with over 35 years experience in both public and private sectors in the fields of public... health, community and aged care, and ageing and disability. She is highly respected internationally as a leading voice on issues and policy concerning seniors and the elderly.Dr. Barratt is available to speak to media regarding this new legislation, the benefits, the concerns and what to expect as generation of baby-boomers is creating a new industry in at-home care.Source:

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Dr Debra Whitman - Plenary Panel Day 2: Age-friendly Cities and Communities – ‘Creating Enabling Environments’

Dr. Debra Whitman is an authority on ageing issues with extensive experience in policymaking, research and the political process. As chief public policy officer for AARP, Dr. Whitman leads policy development, analysis and research, as well as global thought leadership supporting and advancing the interests of individuals 50-plus and their families. She oversees AARP’s Public Policy Institute, AARP Research, Office of Policy Development and Integration, Thought Leadership, and AARP International.Later this month at the IFA 13th Global Conference on Ageing in Brisbane Australia, Dr. Whitman will be presenting in the Plenary Panel on Wednesday 22 June 2016 at 9:15 am discussing Age-Friendly Cities and Communities – Creating Enabling Environments.The IFA Conference is focusing on age-friendly environments and providing a platform to engage with stakeholders, identify priority actions and provide evidence-based planning. This is a unique opportunity to ensure that work being conducted on the ground can influence global bodies such as the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) for further development and appropriate support.Did you know that an ageing population poses a number of challenges not only for policy makers but increasingly for urban planners? In fact, the number, location, health, functional ability of the older population will impact everything from seating design and the width of our footpaths, to the way we plan transportation, roads, public spaces and housing. More and more people are ageing in place, which means our communities, cities, regions and towns need to accommodate the mobility of older people. This will undoubtedly have a serious impact on how politicians, policy makers and every level of how governments will plan for the future.An economist, Dr. Whitman’s career has been dedicated to solving problems affecting economic and health security, and other issues related to population aging. As staff director for the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, she worked across the aisle to increase retirement security, lower the cost of health care, protect vulnerable seniors, and improve our nation’s long term care system.From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Whitman served as a Brookings LEGIS Fellow to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Earlier in her career, she conducted research on savings and retirement for the U.S. Social Security Administration.Source:

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Dr Bradley Willcox - Keynote Speaker Day 2: Age-Friendly Cities and Communities - 'Creating Enabling Environments'

Bradley J. Willcox is Professor and Director of Research at the Department of Geriatric Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, at the Kuakini Medical Center (KMC) Campus.Dr. Willcox trained in Medicine at the University of Toronto, Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, and Geriatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School.Later this month at the 13th IFA Conference, leading experts will be the first to explore the implications for older people in natural and human-induced disasters and health emergencies.Dr. Wilcox will be opening for a plenary panel regarding Age-friendly Cities and Communities ‘Creating Enabling Environments’.This panel will include speakers and experts from around the world to discuss and provide a critical perspective on what has been termed ‘age-friendly cities and communities’ by shifting the focus from questions such as ‘What is an ideal city/community for older people?’ to the question of ‘How age-friendly are cities and communities?’.A topic that is of great concern in every modern country today. Dr. Wilcox is available to discuss this topic and other aged related matters.Source:

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Prof Suzanne Garon - Plenary Panel Day 2: Age-friendly Cities and Communities – ‘Creating Enabling Environments’

Professor Garon has a Ph.D. in Sociology is a full professor at the School of Social Work of the University of Sherbrooke.Later this month at the 13th IFA Conference, leading experts will be the first to explore the implications for older people in natural and human-induced disasters and health emergencies.Did you know that developing environments responsive to the aspirations and needs of older people has become a major concern for social and public policy?Professor Garon will be joined by other world-renowned experts to provide a critical perspective on what has been termed ‘age-friendly cities and communities’ by shifting the focus from questions such as ‘What is an ideal city/community for older people?’ to the question of ‘How age-friendly are cities and communities?’This approach, it is argued, might be more suited to deal with the complexities of cities and communities as sites of interlocking and conflicting commercial, social, and political interests. The panel will explore:• the main factors driving the age-friendly debate; • constraints and opportunities for older people living in urban environments; • options for a critical social policy; • the challenges and opportunities of a disaster prone world; • and examples of involving older people in the development of age-friendly and disaster prepared environments.This topic of great concern in every modern country today. Professor Garon is available to discuss this topic and any other aged related matters.Source:

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Prof Sarah Harper - Plenary Panel Day 1: Innovations in Aged Care and Program Delivery

Professor Sarah Harper is Professor of Gerontology at Oxford University and Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, a multi-disciplinary research unit concerned with the implications of future population change.Later this month at the 13th IFA Conference, leading experts will be the first to explore the implications for older people in natural and human-induced disasters and health emergencies, as well as issues related to age-friendly environments, care and support, elder abuse law and rights, and income protection and security.Did you know that migration is now an essential, inevitable and beneficial component of the economic and social life of every country and region? With high rates of immigration and of internal migration to urban areas over several decades many countries are now experiencing rapidly ageing ethno-cultural populations. This growth and complexity provides a range of challenges for practitioners and policy makers. The absence of an interface between mainstream and ethno-cultural services has impacted negatively on knowledge sharing and capacity building to prepare the general community, health professionals, care providers and families with cultural competencies to support the cultural diversity of older adults and their families.Professor Harper will be joined by other world-renowned experts to discuss and debate how some of the most pressing issues of the current and new eras in care to ensure older people are able to age in a society where their care needs are realized, prioritized and met. These experts will share best practices, learn from those tasked with meeting the challenges of an ageing population and create meaningful global knowledge mobilization networks.This topic of great concern in every modern country today. The 13th Global Conference is a great opportunity for knowledge mobilization and developing priority actions to ensure care and support services take on a more functional ability approach for all people to have the opportunity for a long, meaningful and healthy life. Professor Harper is available to discuss this topic and any age related matter.Source:

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Dr John Beard - Plenary Panel Day 1: Innovations in Aged Care and Program Delivery

Dr John Beard, is Director of Ageing and Life Course with the World Health Organization (WHO).Later this month at the 13th Global Conference, leading experts will be the first to explore the implications for older people in natural and human-induced disasters and health emergencies.Did you know that providing efficient and effective aged care services is one of the greatest public policy concerns currently facing governments today?A radical shift in thought, innovation, and action is required in the development of models and modes of care to meet the expectations of future generations of older people.Dr Beard will be joined by other world-renowned experts to discuss how older people are amongst the most vulnerable members of society during environmental and man-made disasters. As well, what will be expected of care providers in terms of their significant responsibility to ensure the clients' safety?A topic that is of great concern in every modern country today. Dr Beard is available to discuss this topic and any other aged related matters.Source:

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A new WHO report says diabetes is on the rise. With over 400 million cases globally, what will this mean for our aging population?

Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the IFA, is an expert on this topic and is available for media inquiries today. To connect with her or experts in other topics visit http://www.ifa-fiv.org/expert-centre/Source:

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