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A new view on global ageing


Presentation given at International Association Homes and Services for the Aged (IAHSA) conference, Shanghai, 2013

Presentation given at International Association Homes and Services for the Aged (IAHSA) conference, Shanghai, 2013

Published in Health & Medicine
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  • 1. International Association of Homes and Services for the Aged conference “Connecting our Global Community” Shanghai 18th October 2013 Mark Gorman Director of Strategic Development HelpAge International
  • 2. The 21st century is the century of aging “The new millennium closes the first chapter in human history: when we were young” (Paul Wallace: “Agequake”) Life expectancy is extending worldwide, fertility rates are falling, and demographic ageing is accelerating “The ageing of humanity across the world is a defining stage in history. It will change everything from business and finance to society and culture”
  • 3. Global ageing is a triumph of human development Twentieth Century advances... Health and sanitation Education Poverty reduction
  • 4. Development progress... more people are surviving childhood more women are surviving childbirth fewer children are being born... ...and people are living longer
  • 5. Scale and rate of global population ageing
  • 6. The deficit approach to ageing strained pension & social security systems increasing demand for acute & primary care services increased need for long-term and social care Reduced family care and support
  • 7. A global aging crisis? Many low- and middle-income countries are said to be “growing old before they grow rich” Media headlines on aging... “Aging population may explode global economy by 2050” “Silver Tsunami” “World faces ageing population time bomb says UN”
  • 8. The “burden” of old age For the state - fiscal load of income support and health and social care costs For individuals - care-giving effort and stress. The “burden”… “tends to simplify relationships... between age-groups ...or between a carer and an older person, and communicates senses of a nuisance and an excessive charge”
  • 9. Ageing is largely ignored as a global challenge... a lack of preparedness (governments and societies) fear of old age & a wish to avoid it a reaction against older people fear-mongering today reinforces a fatalist approach to the future
  • 10. Old age is seen as a disease older people frequently report this attitude among health staff Older people are seen as a problem economic pressures are challenging traditional caregiving Older people are seen as a threat destabilising economies and societies
  • 11. A new view of old age Attitudes to ageing formed when there were far fewer old people Changing social structures over the last century In “developed” world education, work & retirement - the normal life-course For the majority in developing countries lifetimes of work, a short “old” age in poor health, & an early death
  • 12. Life-courses are changing dramatically Longer working lives in the developed world A long old age is increasingly expected in the developing world Many older people remain connected to family & community... ...And play active roles in community life
  • 13. A new view of old age Focus on the individual and not the age – her/his capabilities and assets, not deficits Old age is not the problem... ...Societies need to adjust– social structures, physical environments, attitudes
  • 14. The Millennium Development Goals Poverty Education Gender equality Child mortality Maternal health HIV & AIDS Sustainability Global development partnership
  • 15. After the Millennium Development Goals – what next? From 2015 Sustainable Development Goals Not just developing countries - collective responsibility for global future Aim - raise living standards and control the global burden on natural resources
  • 16. “… As the international community embarks on...the post-2015 development agenda, it is clear that the issue of population ageing should be fully addressed as part of this process”. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
  • 17. Ageing in the “post-2015” agenda a forward-looking global agenda on health, poverty, rights, the environment - must recognize demographic change and global ageing needs a life-course based, inclusive approach
  • 18. A UN Convention on the rights of older people? Growing concern over challenges to older people’s rights… …and abuses – physical, social, financial UN review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing - major obstacles to older people’s “participation, inclusion & social integration”, including discrimination and abuse
  • 19. Care in old age A sense of crisis growing numbers of oldest old growing numbers living with dementia reduction in family-based care challenges to division of health care & social care rising costs
  • 20. the great majority of care will continue to be given & received in older people’s own homes and communities care will be provided informally, by family, friends and neighbours, and in an ideal world... supported by formal local services - community health & care care workers, in community centres etc.
  • 21. Working with family caregivers Problem HIV pandemic in Africa and SE Asia - older people caring for family members living with HIV, and orphans and vulnerable children many older carers have care needs themselves
  • 22. Response a training program for older carers They trained others - basic nursing care, counselling, pain control Information on HIV and available services, nutritional advice for people with HIV, drug administration, referrals Support groups to combat the stigma felt by families Older carers increasingly offer a wider community resource
  • 23. Utilising community resources Problem Increasing isolation, family separation due to migration, work requirements Lack of community-based facilities – health and community centers
  • 24. Response Village-based older people's associations - foster social bonds and help older people to support each other training on older people's health “age-friendly” health consultations training on home-based care home care volunteers for frail older people
  • 25. In Cambodia, “National Guidelines on Home Based Care” endorsed by government... ...a model for care at home for the most vulnerable older people Key need – to be closely linked to public service provision – family/community care also needs formal care service support
  • 26. Care in emergencies Problem Older people are especially vulnerable to natural disasters conflict long-term crisis – drought, food shortages
  • 27. Response In Colombia, Peru & Bolivia... Representatives from older people’s associations trained in emergency preparedness Teams of older people (“White Brigades”) have been set up for disaster preparedness (awareness, training) disaster response (rescue, rehabilitation)
  • 28. Working together? “to create a peer network so that providers around the world can learn from one another and have a forum to share innovations and best practices.”
  • 29. Thank you
  • 30. Photo credits Haiti: F. Dupoux/HelpAge International 2011 Bangladesh: Antonio Olmos/HelpAge International 2013 Singapore: Jerry Wong/Flickr 2013 Tanzania: Jeff Williams/HelpAge International 2011 Cambodia: Joanne Hill/HelpAge International 2010 Tanzania: Jeff Williams/HelpAge International 2011 Cambodia: Nile Sprague/HelpAge International 2007 Bolivia: HelpAge International 2012