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Feros Care Community Members and Employees

Every two years, IAHSA recognizes member organisations and individuals for programmes and services that are models of innovation and excellence through the IAHSA Excellence in Ageing Services Award. This year’s award recipient is Australian Feros Care, for the implementation of their Community Care Gateway Programme.

The Community Care Gateway Programme has created a single point of entry to Feros Care’s community services. It has significantly simplified service access, delivery, logistics and administration by routing all information through one super hub, which serves as Feros Care’s organisational backbone.  Today, referrals and communications from clients, families, staff, referral agencies, service providers, health professionals and funding bodies travel seamlessly through the gateway and all management and administration systems are auctioned centrally.  This has allowed Feros Care to efficiently serve a 1,000km area, located between Port Macquarie, New South Wales and Bundaberg, Queensland. This one-stop-shop gateway is also the avenue through which Feros Care has started implementing smart home technology for use in the homes of senior Australians.

Having saved over $1,000,000 annually, decreased travel costs by 50% and increased available direct care hours by 25%, the Community Care Gateway Programme has allowed Feros Care to provide ageing services that make a difference in a modern and affordable way. This fact led our team of judges to conclude that Feros Care “has demonstrated the importance of community care, and that the combination of human and e-resources was an excellent model for replication in other communities.”

Feros Care will officially receive its 2011 Excellence in Ageing Services Award during the IAHSA Global Ageing Conference/LeadingAge Annual Meeting, to be held 16-19 October, 2011 in Washington, DC, USA. During the ceremony, attendees will be able to learn more about this groundbreaking programme, as well as about the innovations developed by these year’s citation of honor winners: Canada’s Schlegel Villages, for their Working Together to Put Living First and the Netherlands’ Swinhove Group, for Supporting Elderly in the Community.  Our three honorees represent the latest innovations in ageing services programmes and projects that provide an outstanding benefits to the people they serve.

IAHSA looks forward to welcoming all our members to Washington this fall to celebrate Feros Care’s achievement. To register to attend the Conference, click here.

Somerset Centenarians

Somerset Centenarians Cover

As part of its on-going 20th anniversary celebration, Somerset Care, an IAHSA member that manages 31 not-for-profit care homes in South West England and the Isle of Wight, has published a heart-warming book.  The book, titled Somerset Centenarians, celebrates the lives of 20 residents of Somerset’s communities that have lived for over a century through photographs, anecdotes and historical records.

From a Tiller girl to an amateur photographer and one of the last fighting Tommys, the Somerset residents have had a rich and varied history.  They have not only lived through two world wars, several coronations, and a great depression, but through their own wedding days, birthdays, losses, successes, disappointments and determination.  Together, these experience are a testament to the human experience and illustrate the importance of caring for our elders.

The book was written by Kalina Newman, and includes photographs from the residents’ own archives as well as contemporary portraits by award-winning photographer Anita Corbin. You can purchase a copy of the book by visiting the Halsgrove Publishing website or by writing to hannah.rowe@somersetcare.co.uk.

This past Monday, July 25, 2011, IAHSA joined the International Federation on Ageing and other non-governmental organizations in the ageing field to brief the U.S. Congress.  The briefing aimed to inform, stimulate interest and provide a mechanism through which further dialogue could occur to strengthen the rights of older people.  During our time before Congress, internationally respected academics, advocates, practitioners and human rights lawyers called for the full recognition of the rights of older people through the use of existing national legislation and encouraged the U.S. to actively participate in discussions about the need for a new international human rights instrument for older adults.

Speaking on behalf of IAHSA, Dr. William T. Smith said that while older persons are identified as being the foundation of our societies, they are frequently overlooked in the twilight of their years due to the many competing demands that governments must address.  There are many in our country, he said, that would say that older persons have “paid their dues” and are “entitled” to the services afforded by various programs.  Unfortunately “entitlement” has become a word with many negative connotations in the United States, he concluded.

Mr. Edward Ryan, speaking for AARP, stated that people everywhere have the right to secure living conditions that enable each one to age with fair recognition, respect, dignity and purpose.  He further asserted that “we cannot ignore the injustice of discrimination against people after they reach a particular stage of life or cross an imaginary line defining a person as old, then look at her or him as being different from what they were and create a basis to dismiss from employment or deny adequate insurance or quality health care.” Mr Ryan concluded by stating that  “AARP requests American leadership support for an international and universal human rights instrument that would help to obligate governments to provide, protect and help older persons to surmount their challenges to a quality of life with economic security, good health, social inclusion, family cohesion and safety that all human beings should have as a right.”

Ms Irene Hoskins, President of the International Federation on Ageing explained that “while the rights of older people are embedded in international human rights conventions reaffirming economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, these international instruments are are not specific to older people.”

Take a few minutes to see slideshow below, which includes the pictures of our briefing this past Monday and share your thoughts with IAHSA.

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U.S. Capitol

This Monday, 25 July 2011, IAHSA will join the International Federation on Ageing and other ageing organization to participate in a briefing to the U.S. Congress before the Special Committee on Aging of the United States Senate.  The briefing aims to inform the U.S. Congress on the rights and protections granted to older adults by international human rights conventions, to stimulate interest and provide a mechanism through which further dialogue can occur to strengthen the rights of older people.

By 2040, the planet will be home to more older people than children for the first time in history.  Yet, during this period of unprecedented demographic change, social, civil and political rights rights have been embedded in international treaties and conventions, but have not been made specific to older people.  As a result, many older adults experience discrimination and violation of rights at the family, community and institutional level.  Our message to the U.S. Senate will focus on the fact that rights do not change as we age, but that what does change, is that older men and women are considered to be inherently less valuable to society creating more dependency on others and loss of autonomy.

IAHSA’s participation in the briefing will be titled The Rights of Older People “in Care” and led by Dr. William T. Smith. This briefing will be open to the public and all IAHSA members are encouraged to attend.

Monday, 25 July, 2011
2:00 – 3:30pm
Room 562, Dirksen Senate Office Building
U.S. Capitol Complex
Washington, DC, USA

The Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL), an IAHSA member in Chelsea, Massachusetts, USA, is using cutting-edge technology to give more freedom to its residents with disabilities.  Take a few minutes to read this great blog entry, by our colleagues at LeadingAge, IAHSA’s American chapter, and learn about this innovative program:

Technology is helping individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) find new freedom at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) in Chelsea, MA. In addition to serving older people, the skilled nursing home allows younger individuals with severe disabilities to remain as independent as possible through access to assistive equipment, ventilator support and personalized mobile command centers.

Computerized Command Centers 

The ALS and MS residences are smart houses that promote and support independence regardless of the stage of an individual’s illness. Both residences are equipped with PEAC, a state-of-the-art automation solution for palliative care. PEAC provides a resident with his or her own computerized “command center,” which mounts on a wheelchair and allows the user to open and close doors, turn lights on or off, and surf the web.

Much of the technology in the ALS house was designed in consultation with resident Steve Saling, who was a successful landscape architect before his ALS diagnosis. Saling met Barry Berman, chief executive officer of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, at a 2007 symposium about ALS. Berman had come to the symposium to learn about the disease while Saling came seeking information about what housing options would be available to him once his disease progressed.

“From there, an incredible friendship was born,” recalls Berman in the above video. “To take an individual who has been totally dependent … and to give (him) as much independence as technology allows, is a very significant contribution.”

National Replication 

Saling hopes that the success of LFCL will help spur the development of similar ALS residences through the country.

“The LFCL will show everyone that a vented life can be a quality life,” says Saling. “Most of what ALS takes away, technology can give back. The sad fact is that there are only 10 people able to live in the ALS residence at any given time.”

Designed according to the Green House model, LFCL is sponsored by the Chelsea Nursing Home Foundation, a LeadingAge and IAHSA member. The 6-story, 100-bed facility consists of 10, 7,000-square-foot, condo-style homes that each contain 10 private bedrooms, a dining area, open kitchen and common living room. One of LFCL’s 10 homes is designed specifically for individuals with ALS while another residence houses residents with MS.

According to Russia’s most recent census, Russians of retirement age are the fastest growing demographic group in that country.  Yet, as highlighted in a special report by RT, in country where aged care has traditionally been taken on by families, being placed in a nursing home is often associated with stigma and shame.  As a result, while many Western societies have seen a gradual shift towards viewing retirement as enjoyable and active, many Russians view retirement “as the gloomiest, loneliest and, in economic terms, the least secure years of life.” In fact, the report states that “[g]etting older is one of the four biggest fears in Russian society, on a par with worries over terrorism, natural disasters and crime.” It adds that “[p]eople are apprehensive about aging because of the associated health problems, poverty, loss of dignity and loneliness.”

A program developed in the Siberia region of Kurgan, however, is being observed by throughout Russia as a tool with the potential to address the needs of both older and younger Russians.  Noting that many older residents lacked the means with which to support themselves and that a number of younger residents felt a need for the “advice and company” of a grandmother, regional leaders developed an “Adopt a Granny” program.  Through the program, seniors are adopted by young local families who support them financially.  The families receive both government payments and the opportunity to host a senior in their homes in return.  The program is thus seen as allowing for the elderly to be provided for by a family, without going through the social stigma of being placed in a nursing home that they cannot afford.

Take a few minutes to watch the RT report below and share your thoughts on this program with IAHSA.  Can this model be replicated elsewhere? Do you know of similar programs in your region? Can this program provide for the full needs of these seniors or would a Western-style nursing home better serve their needs?   What lessons can other societies learn from this program?

For more information:

RT

Raising the South Sudan Flag, from Reuters

In just under an hour, South Sudan will officially become the world’s newest independent state.  For many, independence will fulfill a decades-long dream and the culmination a struggle that began shortly after Sudan’s independence from the United Kingdom.  However, there are still many challenges ahead for both the country and its older adults.

At independence, South Sudan will likely emerge as one of the youngest countries in the world.  While statistics are hard to come by, the region is among the poorest in the world, has very little access to healthcare and housing, has been plagued by years of civil war, and is  currently in the mists of both on-going border clashes and a drought that is having devastating effects across Eastern Africa.  None of these conditions encourage living to old age.   In fact, a BBC picture report states that, “anyone over the age of 50 is considered old” and that many older South Sudanese struggle to feed themselves and their grandchildren. 

The Southern Sudan Older People’s Organization (SSOPO), a local NGO that cares for the aged, identifies prevailing “negative attitudes,” together with “poverty, poor housing, lack of adequate food and nutrition and physical disabilities” as leading to widespread suffering among the country’s older adults.  It adds that the facts that “the government has no policy to cater the needs of [older] people” and the “lack of active older activists” as further complicating the situation.

IAHSA hopes that South Sudan’s independence serves as an opportunity to bring peace to the region, and to improve the daily lives of South Sudan’s older adults and society at large. While likely taking several years or decades, improvements in public health, housing, sanitation and prosperity will likely result in the gradual ageing of South Sudan’s population.  Ageing can thus serve as a signal that independence has benefited the people of South Sudan.

For more information:

AlertNet

The Economist

The Associated Press

BBC News

A new joint report published today by Cardiff University and the University of Kent aimed “to identify, in a systematic way, the quality of dignified care experienced by older people” admitted to the acute wards of hospitals administered by the United Kingdom’s National Health Services (NHS).  To do this, researchers “observed [care] practices on the wards and interviewed patients, families, ward staff and managers.” They found that “the majority of staff were concerned [with] provid[ing] dignified care to older people, but that care provision was variable.”  They thus concluded that there exists a “lack off dignity for older patients” in the acute wards of hospitals administered by the NHS.

The study went on to list five key areas that patients and workers identified as contributing to the lack of dignity:

  • Poorly-designed wards which were confusing and inaccessible for the elderly
  • Boredom through lack of communal spaces and activities
  • Concern about nearby patients of opposite gender
  • Demoralised staff who were also ill-equipped with the skills to care for the elderly
  • Organisational problems causing patients to be frequently moved within the system

All five areas identified by the study are key issues which aged care providers must continually manage.  However, the fact that the first three concerns expressed by the patients and workers at the participating hospitals relate to the ward’s built environment serves to highlight the importance of design in aged care.   Wards that are better designed for the needs of older patients, who constitute a growing portion of the world’s population, would serve to immediately address the top concerns identified by the study’s participants.

At IAHSA, we aim to promote and foment the learning and implementation of the best practices in ageing design.  To that end, we have created IAHSA’s International Design for the Ageing Programme, an international survey and exhibit of the state-of-the-art and trends in senior living design as represented by projects submitted from IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network. We invite design firms and aged care providers to submit a project that represents their contribution to the field of senior living design for consideration in the program.   All submissions will be analyzed by a multinational, multidisciplinary team, with findings presented at the International Design for Ageing Symposium at the IAHSA Global Ageing Conference/LeadingAge Annual Meeting in Washington DC in October 2011.

Dates to Remember: 

30 July 2011                      Call for Entries Submission Deadline
16 – 19 October 2011        IAHSA/LeadingAge Conference in Washington DC

Download the application by clicking here.

For more infromation:

Medical News Today

University of Kent

An interesting social experiment is being conducted this week by the British foundation Friends of the Elderly (FOTE).  Noting that over one million of the United Kingdom’s elderly live in isolation and that one in five older people in the UK see other people less than once a week, FOTE put together a one-week public experiment called Isolation Week.  The goal of this event is to  increase social awareness about the many implications of isolated living.

Throughout this week, 10 young and social members of the public are being invited to live under conditions which simulate the lives of isolated seniors.  To do this, FOTE has confined the participants to their own homes, without any human contact and with only the TV, radio and limited-access internet (no social media sites) for company.  The participants are also being asked to use “empathy tools”, special equipment such as gloves and vision-impairing glasses, that help them experience the physical effects of ageing.

The daily thoughts, experiences and frustrations of the 10 participants are being documented on the Isolation Week website, though daily blog postings and video diaries.  Participants are also sharing their experiences through one-way Twitter feeds.  So far, the participants have expressed frustration at the difficulty of carrying out daily tasks with the empathy tools, boredom and a feeling of a lack of purpose.  The feeling echo those of isolated seniors in the UK (see video below).

Take a few minutes to browse through the Isolation Week website and share your thoughts with IAHSA.  Do the participant’s feelings surprise you? How are they different/similar to what you would expect?  What steps can be taken to address the isolation of seniors?

For more information:

BBC News

Isolation Week

Together with nine other organizations (see below), IAHSA has issued a statement urging the United Nations to add ageing and dementia, alongside cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, to the list of non-communicable diseases to be discussed by global heads of state at the United Nations Summit on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) this September.  The statement outlines the necessity for ageing and dementia to be included and the commitments the group believes should be made to these causes during the Summit.  Take a few minutes to read the statement and share your thoughts with IAHSA.

Full Statement

Other organizations supporting the statement:

  • AARP
  • Age UK
  • Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI)
  • HelpAge International
  • The Global Coalition on Aging
  • The International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
  • The International Longevity Centre-UK
  • The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA)
  • The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA)

About this blog

IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network Blog was created because of you!! We got your message loud and clear – “Provide us with a quick and nimble communications vehicle so we can stay connected and create community across borders".

Questions? Email us at iahsa@leadingage.org.

Authors

Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

Alla Rubinstein, Program Administrator, IAHSA

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