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IAHSA is very proud of all of the volunteer program initiatives around the world that our members offer and wanted to share these with you!

Christie Gardens – Toronto, Canada

Christie Gardens Apartment & Care, Inc., a member of IAHSA in Toronto, is a retirement community that has long been serving residents physically, socially and spiritually for over 25 years.

The success of Christie Gardens has been volunteerism, among other unique programs. Its volunteers have remained an integral part of the culture of Christie Gardens. Christie offers flexible daily, weekly or monthly duties in various areas of service, including assisting with events, church services, programs on floor one, calendar delivery and folding, and weekly or monthly duties like mail delivery, decorating and plant maintenance. They look forward to expanding their program in 2012, and welcome any interested applicants.

Reaping Hope – Kathmandu, Nepal

Reaping Hope, IAHSA’s first member in Nepal, is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that creates opportunity for global awareness through its volunteering programs. Its programs work with needy and vulnerable groups and are always looking for people with a health-care background for placement in elderly homes (Briddashram) and disability centers.

Volunteers of all backgrounds and skill levels can work at the Ni Shahaya Sewa Sadran (an old age home) or The Pashupati Old Age Home in Pashupatinath.  Reaping Hope invites volunteers to help seniors with daily chores and activities while seeing the beautiful and spiritual landscape of Nepal.

Tape m'en 5

[credit: Jonas Boni, daoro]

It seems everywhere around the world, drastic changes in aged care reform and funding are culminating this summer.  As the United States awaits a Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act and Patient Protection Act this Thursday, the American people are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what will happen to their future in health care. 

In Australia, the residents are already dealing with a crisis. Aged & Community Services Association, a member of IAHSA, is following the cut-backs of the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and its impact on aged care services to begin around July 1, 2012. The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) will be cutting back about $50 million in the next year, which can seriously impact the staffing and care of vulnerable residents. The impact on the industry would result in a $500 million loss as a result of the funding cuts.

Nursing homes around Australia say they will have to cut staff within two months, at this rate of financial loss.

Providers in Australia are speaking out by forming monitoring groups to ensure that adequate funding is available to support elders’ needs.

Gerard Mansour of Leading Age Services, Australia, points out “how can we tell the sons and daughters of the frail aged that their mum or dad will get less care support than someone of the same care needs admitted prior to 1 July 2012?”  

Let’s ask what we can do to help the aged get the services they need, and how we can join forces around the world to prevent the vulnerable from suffering.  As the great Gandhi had said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”

Last station nursing home

[Credit: ulrichkarljoho]

Happy birthday to GERATEC (Gerontological Research Training Education and Caring), a member of IAHSA, which just turned “sweet 16”!

Under the direction of Margaret Van Zyl, Director of Strategic Partnerships at GERATEC and board member of IAHSA, the organization is well on its way to re-model long-term care in South Africa. Using values of integrity, innovation and “person-centered care”, they are transforming under-resourced homes in isolated rural areas, in a land with few resources but a huge heart. 

Margie Van Zyl getting to know the residents at Emseni Old Age Home in rural KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Van Zyl is now working on the formation of the South African Care Forum, a not-for-profit, that will build a reputation for quality and best practice in long-term care.  It will influence policy making; be involved in advocacy and lobbying; become a clearinghouse for information, research and best practice; focus on networking and partnerships; and be involved in encouraging research and product development.

A recent success was the transformation of Ekuphumleni Old Age Home in Gugulethu which went from complete lack of maintenance and absence of progress to organized leadership, community involvement and a functional facility.  With the help of the Department of Social Development, GERATEC created a garden, an Eku Boutique, an interactive lounge and personalized living quarters for the residents.

We are very excited about GERATEC’s latest projects: 

  • The establishment of the Eden Alternative South Africa at the end of last year, with Rayne Stroebel, the Eden Alternative SA Coordinator
  • The development of Huis Ina Rens, the first small Green House in South Africa for people living with dementia
  • The ongoing administration and running of Ekuphumleni that was struggling with exploitation, corruption and lack of care.

Residents at the Emseni old age home at Rorkes Drift in KwaZulu Natal

A new paper by Peter Beresford shares the results of a survey executed in November 2011, that was undertaken by Shaping Our Lives (a national network of service users). The project received financial support from Joseph Rowntree Foundation as a part of its commitment to ensure the voices of service users are heard in national debates on social care reform.

While the sample size was small (27 people) the respondents represent a diverse range of independent adult social care service users from different areas in England.

The consultation covered the six issues identified by the government last fall including quality of support, personalisation and choice, prevention and early intervention, service integration, care market challenges and funding of social care. Participants felt that the current system is patchy, faces strong pressures, and is unsuited to deliver quality support despite the commitment of workers. Additionally, they perceived a threat from reduced public spending and inadequate support infrastructure. Many were strongly opposed to privatisation, citing unfavourable treatment of disabled people by insurers as cause for concern. People also wanted to report the damaging effects of reductions in services and support. They felt the debates about welfare reform is having a corrosive effect, stereotyping disabled people as” scroungers’ or ‘a drain on society’. This was creating anxiety and despair, with people feeling scared and insecure.

JRF’s position on the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations differs from the views expressed through the survey. JRF strongly supports the Dilnot proposals as a road map to reform social care funding. JRF also supports the development and piloting of a new equity release product for ‘cash-poor, asset-rich’ older home-owners so they can improve their quality of life. Although JRF has a different view on how funding should be reformed, much of  their wider evidence chimes well with other views expressed. JRF shares the conviction that those who use care and support need to be involved in transforming social care.

Photo courtesy garryknight.

Care homes across the UK are being invited to open up a dialogue with residents, relatives, community groups and the wider public on what people can expect from care homes and how government and society can support care homes.

The Big Care Home Conversation, led by My Home Life, offers a unique opportunity to be part of a bold and inspiring project. Launching at the House of Commons on 16 May, and lasting for a month, the Conversation will engage the public in a UK-wide debate about care homes for older people, about what works now and what will be needed  from them in the future. Care homes are invited to open up a dialogue with residents, relatives, community groups and the wider public via a “conversation tree”. Care homes may choose to use a real tree outside, bring twigs inside or design and make their own tree. To begin the conversation, care homes will be encouraged to open up a dialogue around the question:

What makes life good in care homes now, what could make them better – and how might we get there?

People will then be able to respond by hanging their answers as “leaves” on the tree. All the trees will thus become objects of ideas, wishes and comment on best practice in care homes. Alternatively, members of the public will be able choose to visit the My Home Life website where they can add their thoughts.

The Big Care Home Conversation needs your support. If you are a care home, or provider group and would like to engage in the Big Care Home Conversation, then register your interest at: Home Life will support you by providing downloadable resources including posters, banners and other materials to get your conversations up and running. You can also follow along on Twitter @MyHomeLife1

Photo courtesy of leo19981.

On 30 March 2012 IAHSA Director Katie Sloan met with Arlene de Silva, a pioneer in the field of music therapy programming. Ms. de Silva is the CEO of the Cincinnati Music and WellnessCoalition and has over 30 years of experience in ageing services. She has authored photo books highlighting the many faces of ageing around the world. Ms. de Silva is presenting at the American Society on Aging on the documented health benefits of music therapy. She is also seeking subjects for her next book that will highlight musicians over the age of 60. Suggestions for subjects may be sent to

The website is a free resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals that features videos on a variety of topics including dementia, nutrition, and quality of life. With engaging speakers, transcripts, and PowerPoint presentations, viewers can access  experts in aging from the comfort of their home or office. There is a special collection of videos in Spanish to meet the needs of the Latino community. An opportunity exists for hospice administrators,  long term care administrators and others to earn continuing educations credits through the website.  According to a viewer, the site fills an important gap by providing education for those working in organizations affected by the economic downturn. “Your website is a real treasure for Spanish speaking caregivers and health care providers,” says Erika.  Another user shares her sentiment stating, “This website is amazing!! The videos are very informative and it is great that you have such a wide variety of topics. I have watched four so far and plan on showing a few at our next caregiver support meeting.”

Check out the website today and see how you could be providing your employees with this great resource.

The China International Senior Services Expo will be held in Shanghai  at the World Expo Convention Centre from 17 – 19 May 2012.

The China International Senior Services Expo (CHINA AID 2012) has been successfully held for 6 times since its debut in 2000.  The event is organised by IAHSA member  China Association of Social Welfare along with China Silver Industry Association and the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. The event is endorsed by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and China National Committee on Ageing. The event features hundreds of exhibitors from around the world as well as site visits and policy symposia that allow attenees to develop an understanding of the Chinese senior care industry.

The goal of the China International Senior Services Expo to promote the implementation of the Plan for the Development of Social Senior Service System (2011-2015) and the Year for the Development of Social Senior Service System. Specifically it will cover the areas of eco-friendly residential environment, rehabilitation, healthcare, spiritual/cultural needs, organization management, IT services and products, human resource training, and brand promotion. The event provides a networking platform for investors, providers, and exhibitors that are seeking to break in to the Chinese senior service industry and gives you access to strategic influencers in Chinese senior care.

More information can be found at

Designers and architects often claim to be age friendly, but how can they be sure that their product really works well for people with mobility limitations? The Third Age Suit is an empathy suit developed to simulate the effects of loss of mobility and declining sensory acuity, which can occur with the ageing process and also with certain clinical conditions. It was designed to help answer the question of how designers, who may be fully fit and active, really know if their designs work in practice for people with some loss of mobility or declining sensory perception.

The suit was developed by Howard Jeffrey Ph.D.  for his U.K. based company Mobilistrictor.   The Third Age Suit was shared with participants of the 2012 By Design Conference, an annual event that provides design industry professionals the opportunity to access the latest thinking and research in the field of senior living. “This innovative Third Age Suit enables us to truly understand the confines of limited mobility of the clients we serve,” states Tye Campbell, CEO of SFCS.   “We are excited to be able to share this ingenious device with our colleagues, customers, the media, and co-workers as they strive to build, design, and care for seniors. Our mantra is always looking forward to ‘what’s next’. We believe this Restrictor Suit will assist us as we continue to progress into more functional designs for seniors”.

A Designer Tries Out Third Age Suit

The 27th International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International starts on tomorrow 7 March 2012  in London.

Conceived as ‘three conferences in one’, the event will feature parallel sessions focusing on scientific advances, social support interventions, and technological measures to address the disease.  This conference  involves professionals, scientists, researchers, policy makers, people living with dementia, informal and professional carers and all Alzheimer association staff and volunteers alike. Despite dreary statistics on the expected growth of dementia, this will be a conference that expands awareness and understanding of the disease and develops research networks to search for a cure.  The International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing wishes Alzheimer’s Disease International a successful conference. If you’re attending the event use  the hashtag #ADI2012  on Twitter to share your thoughts during the event!

Check out this video that provides highlights of the event!

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


Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

Alla Rubinstein, Program Administrator, IAHSA

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