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Conversations at the CURAVIVA Congress in Basel, Switzerland are a mixture of German, French and English, but everyone speaks a common language when it comes to quality of care for the elderly.  The keynote address by Dr. Manfred Lutz from Cologne, Germany, was an entertaining and poignant journey through the “Joy of Life,” a message reflecting the day-to-day challenges for staff in aged care organizations.

As a tangible demonstration of the Joy of Life theme, IAHSA and CURAVIVA have been collaborating to create a book of compelling photographs that vividly reflects the diversity and dignity of elders in Switzerland and the USA. We are including a selection of these photos on the link below. You will be able to enjoy these images and many more during the IAHSA Global Ageing Conference in Washington, DC, 16-19 October 2011.  Mark your calendars!

CURAVIVA/IAHSA Photo Book Project

January in Switzerland is as I expected it to be – snowy, cold and bright blue.  It is also currently the site of two very important events: The World Economic Forum in Davos and the biennial Congress of CURAVIVA, the premier aged care leadership organization in Switzerland, and one of the most influential in Europe. The Congress, held in the beautiful city of Basel, focuses on ageing, the most important demographic event of the 21st century and one that surely will have a profound effect on the global economy.

On Tuesday, I had the chance to meet with the staff of CURAVIVA at their office in Berne to discuss the major issues facing their providers. The similarity of challenges and opportunities facing IAHSA members around the world are striking, but one common theme rose above the rest – the quest to ensure quality of care for the elders that we all serve. CURAVIVA’s commitment to quality is defined by the creation of a quality framework to act as a guide for quality improvement in their facilities. Closely aligned with IAHSA’s Quality Movement program, CURAVIVA’s Quality of Life in a Home serves as a model for provider groups around the world.

The Congress officially begins tomorrow – the CURAVIVA staff is expecting over 1,200 attendees, a tribute to the importance of the ageing issue in Europe and the excellent program prepared by IAHSA’s Swiss Chapter.

Stay tuned for more reports from Switzerland.

To explore Switzerland’s ageing policies, click here.

Bupa Australia has committed financial assistance to the Red Cross in Australia to help provide relief for fire victims.

As noted in an article in PRWeb, Bupa has also made a commitment to quickly and effectively process any insurance claims for its policy holders.

Bupa  is leading health and care provider in Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom.  IAHSA is honoured to have Bupa as part of our Global Ageing Network and a sponsor of IAHSA’s 8th International Conference in London in July 2009.

Everyone is anxious to say good bye to 2008 – a year of incredible change and terrible waste.

But what will 2009 bring?  Some BBC correspondents have put together a list of their ideas about what they think will be the biggest news stories of 2009.   Enjoy and ponder as your new year begins.


Help the Aged and HelpAge International are two UK based organizations who work together to improve the lives of disadvantaged older people around the world.

According to a recent article, they have again joined forces to alleviate the plight of older people caught up in the post-election violence in Kenya.

In Kenya, as in many emergency situations, older people are among the most vulnerable. Both agencies are assisting by distributing food and working with other relief agencies and government to recognize and address the needs of older people, during this emergency and in the future.

The world is a richer place because of organizations like Help the Aged and HelpAge International. They can use your help so use these links to send donations that will help them address the needs of disadvantaged older people around the world.

Is Blue the New Green??

Everyone is ‘going green’, including IAHSA. We’re making our conferences ‘greener’, implementing practices that will cut down on waste and environmental impact. And we’re already are pretty proud of being ‘virtual’, which means we use minimal printing and do few mailings. The Internet is IAHSA’s Yellow Brick Road.

Now, according to advertising giant J. Walter Thompson’s “10 Trends for 2008” report, blue will take over from green as the symbol of environmental conscience. Why? Because blue more accurately reflects climate change and climate is all about sky and sea – both blue. And to consumers, blue also is reflective of spiritual fulfillment and good-citizen ethics.

Other observations in the JWT report include:

  • Consumption in the future will be more cooperative. Extending the “time-share” model for owning a vacation home, consumers will increasingly accept fractional ownership of art work, cars, and other high-end products.
  • As the genetic links are identified for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and high blood pressure, look for commercial genetic testing services promoted alongside pharmaceutical ads.
  • Consumers are rethinking “instant gratification” and choosing to hold off buying mass merchandise in favor of custom made or one-of-a-kind products and services.
  • Demographic “pigeonholing” will become less useful to marketers, as consumers change their behaviors–such as when they marry or attend school and for how long–in less predictable ways. Marketers and others will focus on behavioral segmentation rather than age when targeting their campaigns.

So many colors! Actually I really have no preference for either blue or green – what I do care about is doing whatever it takes to get the public to be more aware of their impact on the environment and to get them to do something about it.

Happy Holidays and a Healthy and Safe New Year from IAHSA.    We appreciate your support and look forward to 2008.

Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE, the UK’s Voice for Volunteers, understands volunteers as a powerful social movement and the impact they can have in ageing services as well as in society in general. She herself is a Liberal Democrat, social reformer, ordained rabbi and a member of the House of Lords; she was recently appointed by PM Gordon Brown as the UK’s Volunteer Champion.

I had the honor of meeting Lady Neuberger at the Annual Dinner of the National Care Forum in London last week. She is a dynamic spokesperson and exudes energy and enthusiasm for her role as Volunteer Champion. As such she hopes to help develop a much more actively involved society.

As she noted in an interview with the Guardian, ‘Volunteers are not there to take away people’s jobs. This is about additionality. Professionals hate hearing this, but volunteers can do things professionals can’t.” She believes that volunteers can enhance the life of the elderly by adding another kind of human touch and contact. And volunteers have an important role in linking the community to the resident and the staff that is difficult to maintain otherwise.

Lady Neuberger’s next book Not Dead Yet: Manifesto for Old Agewill be published in 2008. I can’t wait.

Last week, we blogged about the challenges facing African health care programs because they can’t find adequate medical workers.

There is also a grave shortage of basic medical equipment and supplies.

That’s where Doc to Dock comes in. Doc to Dock, the brainchild of Dr. Bruce Charash, was founded to connect the tremendous surplus of medical equipment and supplies in one part of the world to the great need in another by engaging physicians, nurses and volunteers in a collaborative effort to collect, sort, ship and distribute unused medical supplies to hospitals and patients that need them most.

Every day thousands of patients in the developing world are turned away from hospitals and medical centers due to a lack of basic medical equipment and supplies.

Shortage of medical supplies is compounding the region’s health crisis and is a recognized problem. “Morale is low all over the developing world, where doctors and nurses have the knowledge to save lives but lack the tools. Where AIDS and drug-resistant TB now burn through populations like forest fires, health-care workers say that the absence of medicines and other supplies leaves them feeling more like hospice and mortuary workers than healers.”
— Foreign Affairs, January/February, 2007

Doc to Dock is dedicated to improving the health and lives of people in Africa by providing healthcare workers with the tools they need.

It is estimated that in the United States thousands of tons of medical supplies are discarded every day due to overproduction, procedural excess and regulatory requirements. This surplus of medical materials is either incinerated of deposited in landfills, both of which are harmful to the environment.

Doc to Dock strives to reverse this cycle of waste by collecting the unused medical supplies from New York hospitals and shipping them to hospitals and clinics in need in Africa.

The first shipment was made in May 2007 when Doc to Dock delivered a 40-foot container of medical supplies and equipment to the Hubert Maga Hospital in Cotonou, Benin.

Hurrah for Doc to Dock! Visit the Doc to Dock website to learn how you can help.

Attention faithful Blog readers. IAHSA will be taking time off this week to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

This is a traditional North American holiday give thanks at the conclusion of the harvest season. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

Thanksgiving meals are traditionally family events where certain kinds of food are served. First and foremost, turkey is the featured item in most Thanksgiving feasts (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes facetiously referred to as “Turkey Day”). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, turnips, and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner.

In keeping with the holiday theme of giving thanks, during the socializing or meal, people talk about what they are thankful for or tell about experiences during the past year which have caused them to feel grateful. And we all eat too much.

And IAHSA staff gives thanks to all of you for your support and commitment to IAHSA. We’ll be back on Monday the 26th of November.

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".

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Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

Alla Rubinstein, Program Administrator, IAHSA

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