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The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, adopted in April 2002, marked a turning point in how the world looked at ageing.  The report had delineated guidelines for policy development and implementation, made suggestions for mainstreaming ageing issues into government agendas, and helped promote dialogue in the information exchange.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSDP) have been focusing on social development issues including ageing, disability, employment, social integration and social protection, as a means to implement the Madrid Plan.

After 10 years of implementation, DESA and DSDP are conducting a questionnaire to assess the need for support and servicing in order to facilitate agreement on international standards and resolutions.

With your help and experience, the Departments can strengthen their work while considering the challenges you face in your hard work and dedication to ageing care.

Organizations sometimes overlook participation in such opportunities because it is hard to feel the impact on the ground, in the every-day care giving.  However, with every bit of input and recommendations from experts in the field, the UN can help improve the use of information and communication, and fulfill their role in the international arena.

On October 1, organizations around the globe will celebrate the UN International Day of Older People, bringing countries together to share their achievements, raise awareness and support communities. For instance, HelpAge International will be running a campaign “Age Demands Action” to help celebrate this day.  October 1 will be both a celebration of Old People, and a celebration of our accomplishments over the last ten years.

To Participate:

Due: September 17, 2012

Questions: Contact Mr. Amine Lamrabat at and Ms. Nan Jiang at


[Photo Credit: *Muhammad*, Flickr]

UNECE has created a research publication to analyze the ageing situation in Eastern European countries, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Among these is the June 2012 release of the Roadmap for Mainstreaming Ageing in Moldova, produced in conjunction with the Republic of Moldova.

The first of such reports was on Armenia in 2011.

These reports are based on available publications, documents and data. The hope of this and future Roadmaps is to improve the integration of older persons in society, social, cultural and political life and promote their well being.  It is also anticipated that these projects will help change the image of ageing.

The report focus areas include:

  • Integration and participation of older persons
  • Social protection
  • Health
  • Housing and independent living
  • Education
  • Labour market
  • Gender
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Involvement of stakeholders
  • Outreach and public awareness‐raising
  • Research and data collection
  • Integration into international processes

The Roadmap is a great introduction for other countries to look internally and assess their own situation at home.  For Moldova, the Roadmap provides a structured way forward with goals, timelines and action plans.

Recommendations from this report which may be useful to other countries to encourage their own review and development include:

  • creation and support for volunteering programs
  • access to transportation in rural areas
  • providing self-help networks for older generations

“A state having a lot of old people does not mean a society composed of inactive people, consuming only the resources, but on the contrary, there is the need to reconsider the manpower of old people, to value their professional life and experience, both, for their families and for economic activity or/and the community” says Valentina Buliga, Moldova’s Minister of Labor.


[Credit: Aurelian Săndulescu, Flickr]

In 2006, the World Health Organization developed a project on “Age-Friendly Cities”.  The project was completed as a practical guide in 2007, but the results are far from over.  The checklist of essential features of age-friendly cities includes developments in:

WHO's age friendly cities

Key Areas for Age-Friendly Cities [credit: World Health Organization]

  •  Outdoor spaces and buildings
  •  Transportation 
  •  Housing
  •  Social Participation
  •  Respect and Social Inclusion
  •  Civic Participation and employment
  •  Communication and information

So five years later, who is in the running of the most age-friendly cities?

Singapore: In 2010, Dr. Kang Soon Hock issued an update via the Institute of Policy Studies on Singapore’s progress. Singapore has improved in major areas including smoother transitions from hospital to homes, introduction of universal design of buildings and a neat crosswalk that gives you the option for more time to cross!

Brussels: Brussels was named the first Age-friendly city and has since began to offer a 65+ travel pass for travel within Brussels and communes (homes for the elderly) run dedicated services for senior citizens in their respective areas. 

Ljubljana: One of the many accomplishments of Slovenia’s capital has been the creation of assertiveness programs for medical service users intended to enhance their rights to social security and health insurance. Mayor Zoran Jankovic also plans to improve transportation and make Ljubljana “the cleanest city in Europe.”

New York:  In 2009 the New York Mayor’s office together with various city departments came out with 59 initiatives that would enhance city living for older citizens. It was the first city to respond to WHO’s initiative.

Ireland’s Age Friendly Counties – The Ageing Well Network allows Ireland’s communities to participate in the development of caring communities.  It currently features eight age-friendly counties who all subscribe to WHO’s guidelines. CARDI (Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland) issued a thorough report this month).

China is also making progress in improving its cities.  The Future City Initiative presented by Xuejin Zuo, (Tokyo, 2012) demonstrated some urban design concepts.  In August 2012, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) will host a conference in Taipei on age-friendly cities and age-friendly economics to show-off some more plans.

        Today, May 21, 2012, University of Adelaide is launching the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre (APMRC) focused on developing a sustainable population and workforce strategy for Asia Pacific and Australia. Research will include topics such as the impact of aging on the workforce, modern communications technology for the elderly, and issues of obesity among many others.

       This is a rare and exciting opening of a one-of-a-kind research institute. Research will be collaborated by a number of leading universities in the region as well as the United States and the United Kingdom.  Leading the center will be Professor Graeme Hugo and Deputy Directors Dr. Dianne Rudd and Dr. Helen Feist.  Professor Hugo had been studying labor mobility trends and implication of international migration on economic change.  Most recently, he has written a publication titled “Australian Population and Immigration Policy: An Opportunity”.

        The APMRC team have had 6 papers accepted for the International Federation of Aging conference which will be held in Prague in May 2012.

        We can’t wait to see what interesting findings come out of this exciting venture!

Chart: Projected population size for selected age ranges.

Credit: The Treasury, Australian Government; Australia’s demographic change


European Commission May 5 2012


Europe has marked 2012 the Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity in hopes of stimulating the employability of older workers and inspiring positive attitudes towards active aging.  The Commission’s “Never too old to…” campaign has been spreading across Europe to promote learning, encourage integration and initiate development for the ageing community.  See video

On May 5, 2012, the European Commission in Bonn invited professionals to participate in workshops to discuss projects to spread the notion of an age-friendly Europe.

Despite European Commission’s best efforts, the age-group of 50 years and older has been struggling to change the perspective on economic inclusion across Europe.  The tendency towards younger entrepreneurs is highly visible in companies across Europe. 

Although the face of European start-up culture is dominated by young faces in their 20s and 30s, Baby Boomers will represent the most crucial population demographic. The older business-minded have also been making an impact.  Older entrepreneurs across sectors tend to gain many years of experience and then start “safe” businesses in regulated markets.  It is also a way to turn a honed skilled and hobby into a successful career.  Older entrepreneurs have much to offer and share in The Year of Active Ageing.

Read success stories of older entrepreneurs at 

For resources on elders starting their own business, please visit:

The Australian Counsel on the Ageing and the Department of Health and Ageing released results on a national listening tour on concerns surrounding aged care. The Minister of Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, participated in over 30 meetings with concerned citizens throughout the country. The conversations yielded some valuable insights, such as the fact that most Australians state that they would like to remain in their homes and receive services at home if possible. People also want a system that is easy to understand and use, and they want payment procedures to be transparent. Interested in the full report? Just click here.

Want to learn more about housing with wrap around services? Consider joining our study tour.

Photo Courtesy of  mugley.

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!

Over the weekend a coalition that includes the Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association and the Health Services Union joined with over 20 other groups to call for aged care reform. Together with unions and charitable organisations, the coalition launched the Australians Deserve to Age Well campaign. There are currently about 1 million Australians living in aged care and projections estimate that this number will at least triple by 2050. In order to care for the aged, Australia will need an additional 500,000 workers. The Productivity Commision report, Caring for Older Australians, outlines a plan for reforming the existing system; so far the government has yet to respond to the report. Check out this video from the Age Well Campaign that features Beryl and Bob’s Story.

The Journal of Aging Research is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles, review articles, and clinical studies related to all aspects of aging. They have placed a call for papers to include original research articles, as well as review articles that will stimulate the continuing efforts to understand the etiology and determinants of resiliency, successful aging, and healthy longevity. They are particularly interested in articles describing novel interventions for preserving function and mobility in adults >85 years. Findings from observational and experimental studies are welcome, as are those from studies performed at the cellular, applied, community, and population levels. Potential topic areas include, but are not limited to:
• Physical function and mobility
• Metabolism
• Musculoskeletal function
• Cardiovascular function
• Cognitive/neurosensory function
• Psychosocial health
Interested authors should read the journal’s Author Guidelines. Prospective authors should submit an electronic copy of their complete manuscript through the journal Manuscript Tracking System at Manuscripts are due 17 February 2012!

The Metlife Mature Market Institute recently released its annual survey of the cost of long-term care services in the US, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day programs and home care.   As expected, provider costs rose far faster than the rate of inflation for all levels except home care, where costs were unchanged from 2010 to 2011.

This is not good news for anyone, be it a provider or consumer of the service.   And as the costs continue to rise, the US is unable to figure out how to pay for the services, either through public or private funds.

This is a sobering report on the USA; how does your country match up?  Share your thought with IAHSA.

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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