Hello loyal followers and readers! We have some good and bad news.

The good news first?

IAHSA is launching its new and improved website featuring more robust content, user friendly layout and integrated features.  The new website will be available as of Monday, September 24.  It has a search feature which allows you to seek out older posts, scan new headlines and look under categories of interest.

The bad news: IAHSA.wordpress.com will be moving.  As of October 1st, you will no longer be able to view our blog posts here. BUT you may find all of our latest news, highlights and shout-outs on the new IAHSA.net website.  If you are “following” our blog, you will be redirected to the IAHSA website for all new postings.

Actually, this isn’t bad news at all since now you will be able to see all of our exciting events in addition to reading about the latest trends in ageing care.

See you on the new IAHSA.net!

Ikea design has nothing on KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s Centre for Health and Building.  The KTH Centre for Health and Building (CHB) undertakes Research and Design (R&D) projects in cooperation with universities, industrial companies, municipalities and county councils – always taking into consideration universal design.

Every feature in the CHB Full Scale Living Laboratory is adaptable, adjustable, sustainable and accounts for all of life’s transitions. New technologies are tested in the Lab to help people live independent lives before being passed on to field research.

In the Lab, The Centre is testing home and sensor networks, communication and support systems, surveillance and alarm systems, hard- and software for cognitive support in the home, stand­ardized home adaptations, inclusive ergonomic support technology, facility management models for residential housing.

CHB capabilities include construction building technologies, plan­ning and logistics, energy and water resource management, facility management, in-door climate, housing design, safety and work environment, medical ergonomics, patient safety and aged care.

Karin Nordh, R&D Coordinator, shared some photos of the Lab features with us:

The Living Room offers wide spaces, even surfaces and light moving furniture.

Each element in this sustainable bathroom is adjustable, from the toilet seat, to the sink.

The Kitchen features adjustable counter-tops, wheelchair accessible appliances and low-reaching cabinets.

 

As part of LeadingAge’s Annual Meeting taking place 21-24 October 2012 in Denver, Colorado, the LeadingAGe IdeaHouse takes the spotlight in innovative design.  Combining 110 ideas, this year’s house boasts an array of designs and technology applications in a new 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom cottage-style home.

30 companies will be exhibiting this highly sought-after design in senior care and architectural trends. At the heart of the project stand the guiding principles: aging in place, technology in design, sustainable design, affordability and flexibility.  As trends progress, the IdeaHouse brings the latest in senior living design and aging services technology.

The model life-sized house is being built by Freeman Decorating with architectural and interior design by THW Design from Atlanta, Georgia.

The display has been showcased at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting since 2009, but the 2012 IdeaHouse has been completely redesigned to show the latest trends and bring ideas to various levels of senior care.

This year the theme is focused around ideas and how four different individuals and their caregivers can use these ideas to improve their quality of life. The retail value of the 2012 design is $400,000 (USD).

You can get a live viewing during the 2012 Annual Meeting.  For more information, visit LeadingAge.org or take a tour on youtube:

Participants on the Housing Study Tour at Cathedral Square.

The IAHSA and LeadingAge Housing with Services Study Tour was inspiring, informative and interesting.  Each of the five communities we visited brought something new to the table and showed what dedication and commitment can do for senior living.  

The most important lessons we took with us are seldom taught, and less often shared.  The leaders of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, Hebrew Senior Life, Sanborn Place, Cathedral Square and Hearth Inc taught us the following:  

1)          You can make anything happen with volunteers.

  • Many of the services we saw including fitness, educational initiatives and caregiving were conducted not by paid staff, but by willing volunteers.  Students, retired seniors, community centers and relatives can be found all around us.  Why not utilize their talents and time to enrich your community? 

2)          Maintenance Staff are the eyes and ears of your community.

  • All of the sites we visited recognized the value of their maintenance staff, and for good reason. While it may take time for residents to warm up to nurses and staff, maintenance personnel are invited right into the home.  They are there in a time of need when something goes wrong, they have daily contact with the residents which helps them identify risk concerns and can report incidents as they occur. 

3)          If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

  • Finding funding opportunities is an arduous task of piecing together various resources.  A large support can come from private donors, annual pledges, rotary clubs and old fashioned fundraising.  People love to make a difference, help them find a way by talking to them about it.  One donor at Hebrew Senior Life said “I wanted to give back to an organization that gave my mother so much happiness in the later years of her life.”

4)          Take risks.

  • Jacqueline Carson, CEO of Sanborn Place in Reading, Maryland, has a unique and bold approach.  As her residents age, she remains flexible to adapt her community to their evolving needs.  If something doesn’t work, she finds an alternative that does. 

5)          Intergenerational programs are essential, not optional.

  • These programs aren’t just for seniors.  Intergenerational programs strengthen communities by enhancing the lives of youth and children, spread positive thinking about ageing, encourage cultural exchange and can even maximize your financial resources through partnerships.  They can also help you with point #1.

6)          Invite your greater community in.

  • While your senior community may not be able to parade around the town, your local leaders can certainly tour your facilities and get to know their supporters – after all, seniors vote! Nancy Eldridge frequently hosts events in her buildings and identifies concerns for her local leaders to address so that they stay involved and stay committed.  Her program, SASH (Supports and Services at Home) is an exemplary framework for coordination a the community level.

Changing attitudes, shifting perspectives and creation of new norms when it comes to ageing may seem like an arduous feat.  Art, as usual, has come to the rescue to help facilitate positive outcomes.

Imagine your life transformed before your eyes and knowing now what you wouldn’t for another 60, 70 years.  In Israel, the Dialogue of Time exhibition at the Israeli Children’s Museum in Holon (near Tel Aviv) brings together over 50 people between the ages of 71 and 86 to combat stereotypes. Targeting an impressionable audience, young visitors are transformed into 80-year-old people.

A video from Arutz Sheva reveals how the exhibition recreates the difficulties, fears and stigmas of ageing.

In California, USA, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art  “When I’m 64” exhibit takes a look at the role seniors will play in culture, society, politics and the economy.  Eight artists portray vivid and moving imagery of how it feels and what it means to grow older.

The exhibit also features special events and film screenings celebrating a graying population.

If you know of other art exhibits focusing on positive ageing, please share them with us and together we can help the world population open up to growing up.

Recently on Twitter, one of our followers asked if there was a resource for global age-friendly cities.  Well now there is! A new website has been launched this week to showcase the Age-friendly world.

Organized by the World Health Organization and International Federation on Ageing (IFA) this e-portal will become a central resources for developing, maintaining and improving Age-friendly cities.

This site is aimed at the general public and is free and easy to use, learn, share and discuss.  Just register and join a group that interests you.

The site sheds light on facts and figures, news-worthy updates, and allows you to engAGE in dialogue and discussions on any topic of interest.

For example, did you know that WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities has 103 members across 18 countries worldwide?  This site is a great means of keeping up-to-date on what’s going on across borders. What better way to help the elderly than by sharing ideas and insights.

Check out the new site and start a discussion. http://www.agefriendlyworld.org/

Sister Cities of LOS ANGELES

[Photo Credit: prayitno, Flickr]

This notion of offering specialized culture-specific hospice and palliative care programs is spreading quickly.  There are many communities that already offer culture-specific teams to care for particular ethnic groups or those sharing common languages, religious affiliations or traditions.

Now, Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Boston, Massachusetts, is accommodating Russian-speaking residents by offering a Russian-speaking team composed of a social worker, nurse, home health aides and art therapist.

Residents are presented with care options in their native language, meals of traditional foods, and medical advice within a culturally sensitive framework.  The program has been received with open arms and hearts by the patients and their families.

This program is of particular significance for the Russian-speaking community because of the infrequency of such practices throughout Russian history.

“The lack of palliative and hospice care for people with terminal illnesses in Russia is a problem that has not been addressed for decades.” says Olga I. Usenko, a Russian physician, “In addition, palliative medicine is still not recognized as a specialty in the Russian Federation medical system and the majority of medical professionals do not have adequate knowledge about modern methods of pain management.”

Anna Sonkin recently highlighted the challenges of accessing palliative care and the lack of resources in Russia, which is affecting children as well as the elderly.

Hospice of the Good Shepherd recognizes this need and is doing more than its part for the Russian-speaking community by expanding its initiative internationally.  In Moldova, for instance, they are helping to purchase equipment, conduct training exchanges and develop hospice programs which have only begun to grow in the last 10 years.

IMG_5862.jpg

[Photo Credit: Tom Page, Flickr]

For a list of hospice and palliative care in Russia and CIS countries, see the list from Pallcare.ru (in Russian).

New research shows that a lack of sleep is a growing health problem around the world, and not just in developed countries.

It was found that Bangladesh, South Africa and Vietnam have extremely high levels of sleep problems. On the other hand, India and Indonesia reported relatively low levels of sleep problems.

Sleeplessness has been linked to such chronic illnesses as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation may impair physiological functions, for example, appetite or neuro-regenerative responses, and the immune system, which may actually explain the association of sleep with occurrence of many chronic diseases.

On the other hand, some people can actually sleep too much, such as the elderly, making them more prone to disease, weight gain and risk of heart problems.

Sleep is a key player in age-related health concerns, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Sleep Apnea.  Helping your loved one find a healthy rest balance can help.

Parkinson’s
People with Parkinson’s disease performed markedly better on a test of working memory after a night’s sleep, and sleep disorders can interfere with that benefit, researcher has shown.

The findings underline the importance of addressing sleep disorders in the care of patients with Parkinson’s, and indicate that working memory capacity in patients with Parkinson’s potentially can be improved with training.

Alzheimer’s:
Alzheimer’s may reverse a person’s sleep-wake cycle, causing daytime drowsiness and nighttime restlessness. These sleep disturbances often increase as Alzheimer’s progresses. Eventually, round-the-clock naps might replace deep, restorative nighttime sleep.  The Mayo Clinic recommends how to a promote good night’s sleep.

Sleep Apnea:

Sleep apnea, the disruption of sleep caused by obstruction of the airway, interferes with sleep’s effects on memory. As many as one in three elderly men have at least a mild case of sleep apnea. 300 elderly women who were mentally and physically fit, with an average age of 82, led Kristine Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco, to find that one in three women had sleep apnea. The women with sleep apnea were 85% more likely to show the first signs of memory loss.

Sleeping.

[Photo Credit: Daniel Morris, Flickr]

My garden does not whet the appetite; it satisfies it. It does not provoke thirst through heedless indulgence, but slakes it by proffering its natural remedy. Amid such pleasures as these have I grown old.
– Epicurus

A recent study in the American Heart Association’s Journal Circulation, found that heart health can be improved by regularly engaging in leisure and household activities such as gardening.

Gardening is not new to rehabilitation.  Spending time outdoors, embracing nature and actively engaging in an pastime seems intuitive to good health.

Still, it is sometimes overlooked as one of the best natural remedies that can help in fighting health problems associated with old age and dementia. Gardening can provide the health and fitness a person requires to stay active. The effects of gardening are rejuvenating for the elderly.

Unlike previous research, Circulation  tracked participants for over 10 years and demonstrated that activity over the long haul consistently  reduced inflammatory markers and therefore may be important in preventing physical effects related with ageing.

Previously, Virginia Tech had issued a related study on the benefits of horticulture therapy. It concluded that the benefits included:

  • improvement in attention
  • reduction of pain symptoms
  • lessening of stress
  • modulation of agitation
  • reduction in medications needed
  • improvements in symptoms of dementia
  • reduction in number of falls

These successes are popping up in the news more and more.  Today, for instance, a U.K. man shared his ability to overcome depression through gardening.

However, one report found that not all gardens are equally beneficial. “Among their findings: users mostly visited gardens seeking relaxation and restoration from mental and emotional fatigue. Tree-bordered vistas of fountains or other water features, along with lush, multi-layered greenery of mature trees and flowering plants, appealed most.”

Other researchers found that creating a standard checklist of features can ensure the healing power of gardens.  These elements include:

  • Lush greenery
  • Sculptures and variety in views
  • Atmosphere that facilitates interaction
  • Interactive engagement of multiple senses
  • Accessible entryways and pathways
  • Relaxing sounds

In addition to adapting garden spaces, tools and equipment too can be modified or adapted to help the elderly or disabled begin or continue gardening while reducing physical stress.

Please share your gardening health successes with us and tell us what gardening means to you.

Conflict of interests

[Photo Credit: HyperBob, Flickr]

Jimmy Carter with his grandson Hugo

[Photo Credit: The Elders, Flickr]

Next week, William (Bill) T. Smith of Aging in America will attend the Open Ended Working Group 3rd session  in New York on behalf of IAHSA, where the Committee on Ageing will be presenting to the government delegations, a list of nearly 100 endorsements on a call to action.  IAHSA is one of the many organizations who has signed this call.  The supporting organizations are suggesting ways the OEWG on Ageing can strengthen human rights instruments to better protect and promote older people’s rights.

The goals of this action plan include:

  • Providing governments with a legal framework, guidance and support
  • Having the capacity to address emerging concerns
  • Guiding human rights organizations and civil society

Here are 10 reasons why we need to act to protect the rights of older people:

1– The Number of older people worldwide is growing at an unprecedented pace.

2– There is no dedicated protection regime for older people’s rights.

3– There are clear gaps in protections available to older people in existing human rights standards.

4– Older people’s rights are neglected in the current human rights framework.

5– Age discrimination and ageism are widely tolerated across the world.

6– Older people are highly vulnerable to abuse, deprivation and exclusion.

7– Older people hold rights but are often treated with charity instead of as rights holders.

8– National protections of older people’s rights are inconsistent.

9– Respect for older people’s rights benefits society as a whole.

10– Older people are an. increasingly powerful group.

 

Let’s work together towards building a consensus around the human rights of older persons!

[This list was written by HelpAge International along with papers prepared for the meeting. For more information, please visit www.helpage.org ]

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

Twitter Feed

Connect with us on Facebook

IAHSA - Global Ageing Network

Connect with us on LinkedIn

IAHSA - Global Ageing Network

Archives