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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.

 

Doctors have been saying all along that physical exercise is essential for healthy ageing, better moods and fewer accidents.  But it’s not just aerobic exercise like walking – the exercise of choice for the majority of seniors – that keeps the doctors away.  While walking is “beneficial to heart fitness [it] does little to protect the exerciser against falls or loss of bone mass” says the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Australian Journal of Science and Medicine featured a study “Walking not enough for older Aussies” that looked at Australians over 65 years of age using the Exercise Recreation and Sport Survey.  Not only applicable to Aussies, this study gets at the heart of the overload of information out there on what’s healthiest, what seniors should be doing, and how best to do it.  Every person holds different interests, ability and fitness level that might work best for them.  What is important is that seniors seek out the regiment that works best for them while integrating various forms of exercise.

Key findings from the study are applicable no matter what the choice of fitness may be:

  • Varying exercise routinely increases your health
  • Combining aerobic, strength and balance exercises is key to maximizing health benefits
  • Exercising in groups increases motivation and reduces loneliness
  • Combining exercise with healthier eating habits optimizes your health
  • Some physical exercise is better than none at all

“Raising awareness on the types of activities that can most benefit the elderly, including those that achieve several fitness dimensions all at once, given that few older adults choose to participate in multiple activities is certainly warranted,” says Dr Dafna Merom, lead author of the study.

Old Runner A3

[Photo Credit: Maxwell GS, Flickr]

IAHSA and its chapter in China, the China Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA-China) are pleased to announce the joint sponsorship of IAHSA’s 10th International Conference.

The conference theme, Connecting our Global Community, provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the most diverse programmes from around the world, along with an exciting forum for the exchange of both practical knowledge and new strategies focused on the provision of care and services for older adults.

The conference will take place in Shanghai, a bustling international city, full of multicultural flair. Shanghai also offers exciting travel opportunities and cultural attractions. From historic landmarks like the Yuyuan Garden and the Jade Buddha Temple to modern marvels like the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Jinmao Towere, there is something for everyone.

Faced with a fifth of its population that is 60+ years old, Shanghai has been developing its nursing home care industry rapidly. The country itself is at a climactic point in understanding and deciding how to manage population ageing, housing and pensions for their greying population.

This is a great opportunity to showcase your interest areas, learn about innovations, technology, research, design and practices from around the world and to interact with care models in ageing care from around the world.

 
Submit a proposal for consideration.

Dates To Remember:

30 October 2012 Call for Presentations submission deadline
December 2012 Submitters notified of status of their submissions
17-20 November, 2013 IAHSA/IAHSA-China Global Ageing Conference
Illumination [Yuyuan Garden / Shanghai]

Shanghai [Photo Credit: d. FUKA, Flickr]

As the International AIDS Conference winds down, the culmination of the event anticipates that one message is clear: Ageing with HIV is an urgent matter that requires a lot of attention.

As one man put it, “I fear that if I need to be cared for, the carer would be as ill-informed and prejudiced about HIV as the general public.”

A number of integral sessions were conducted with regards to HIV and ageing. Andrea Beal of Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN) in Canada presented “One Day an Army of Grey-Haired Women may Quietly Take over the Earth”.

Global experts from around the world served on a panel on “HIV and Aging: The Challenge of the Epidemic’s Fourth Decade” covering topics such as ageism, stigma, prevention and the critical role of caregivers.

Judith Currier presented on the “Intersection of non-communicable diseases and Ageing in HIV” discussing a global action plan.

Here is what we learned from the AIDS2012 conference:

  •  It is expected that 50% of all persons with HIV in developed nations will be age 50 or older as early as 2015
  • Increased life expectancy for treated HIV now approaches survival rates similar to the general population.
  •  Older people with HIV have twice as many age-related health conditions as their HIV negative peers
  •  Discrimination, ignorance and poor clinical treatment continues to ensue about AIDS illness
  • Many health systems are not ready to cope with the influx of ageing HIV-positive people requiring medication and care
  • Older adults accounted for 15% of new cases of HIV in the US
  •  HIV positive people are at a greater risk for illnesses common in old age
AIDS awareness in Chimoio

AIDS awareness ad in Chimoio, Mozambique [Credit: Ton Rulkens, 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.

IMG_1899

[Credit: Aurelian Săndulescu, Flickr]

Today, June 23 2012, Richard Jackson of CSIS and Christian Toft of University of Kassel, Germany, spoke about “Work, Retirement Age, and Fiscal Sustainability in an Aging World” hosted by AARP International.

Dr. Jackson highlighted CSIS’s Global Ageing Preparedness Index (or GAP Index) which reviews pension reform, solvency and income protection in 20 key countries.  The countries include most developed countries and some emerging economies such as India, Brazil and China.

Professor Toft looked at retirement-age policies and labor force issues relating to increases in retirement age in the U.S. and EU15.

According to the report, “the purpose of the Global Aging Preparedness Index (or GAP Index) is to provide a comprehen­sive assessment of the progress that countries are making in preparing for global aging, and par­ticularly the “old-age dependency” dimension of the challenge.

Ten or fifteen years ago, global aging barely registered as a policy issue. Today, with large age waves looming just over the horizon in most of the world’s leading economies, it has become the focus of growing concern. Many governments are beginning to debate—and some have enacted—major reforms. Yet despite this progress, there ex­ists no satisfactory measure of how well countries worldwide are actually responding to the chal­lenge. The Global Aging Preparedness Index is designed to fill this gap.”

You may view your country’s individual data sheet or see a cross-comparison across countries.

Dr. Jackson was a keynote speaker at the 2011 LeadingAge Annual Meeting and IAHSA Global Aging Conference.  He presented on the GAP index during last year’s opening plenary of the Annual Meeting.

Hands

[Credit: Ms Logic, Flickr]

By Jackie Pinkowitz, M.Ed.; Board Chair, CCAL-Advancing Person Centered Living

[To support dementia initiativedementia care and learn more about research and practices, register for the International Alzheimer’s Disease Study Tour Today! ]

On Friday, June 29, 2012, The National Dementia Initiative, gathered in Washington DC at LeadingAge for their first meeting to form  recommendations on person-centered non-pharmacologic strategies to address behavioral and emotional aspects of caring for individuals living with dementia in home and community-based settings.

The meeting’s participants included nearly 60 dementia experts spanning research, policy and practice from around the United States. CCAL-Advancing Person-Centered Living is one of the leaders of this initiative.

Like most significant efforts, The National Dementia Initiative “will take a village” to achieve its lofty purpose which began in 2011 with the germ of an idea:  it should gather a leadership team representing research, policy and practice sectors that would:

  • Work diligently to connect dementia experts from all three sectors across the United States and beyond
  •  Who will volunteer their time and expertise
  • To collaborate virtually and in person reframing dementia care  by using a person-centered holistic well-being philosophy and approach
  •  In the context of understanding and responding to “difficult or challenging” behaviors through person-centered non-pharmacologic practices.
Dementia initiative, caregiving

All photos credit of CCAL

In the ensuing months, “sixty villagers” heeded the call and began virtual communications in preparation for our all-day gathering on June 29th, 2012 — a gathering that can only be described as passionate, intense, and singularly focused on our common purpose.  Today, the villagers are back home, enthusiastically volunteering for three  workgroups being formed  to advance this effort.

The aspiration of the recent meeting was to come together on key principles and practices of person-centered dementia care and provide input for a comprehensive White Paper, which will focus on how to support individuals living with dementia.  A workgroup of volunteer participants will be assisting in disseminating and distributing the final paper come September 2012.

To truly understand What Matters Most in our Initiative, you need to gaze upon some of the faces in this blog: faces of those we love, care for, and caringly assist with utmost respect and dignity.

When I opened our all-day gathering, framed photos of “Those who Matter Most” decorated every table and a beautiful kaleidoscope of faces flashed across the screen as I acknowledged:  “Clearly the most important people in our village are not here today—the people living with dementia, their families, and their care partners.  But they are with us in spirit and we honor them through all the wonderful pictures so many of you provided.  I know that if we continue to work together with open hearts and open minds, we will have an incredibly meaningful and productive meeting; and we will succeed in advancing this most important Initiative for these most important people.”

Dementia Initiative

So I urge you, regardless of whatever Change Effort you may be conceiving or currently leading,  to truly understand what drives your amazing villagers (i.e. What Matters Most  to them; what motivates and energizes them to give their all for a greater good) so that you may tap into it throughout your entire fascinating future-focused journey of change…

IAHSA provides an opportunity to join the conversation on What Matters Most and engage in dementia care best practices on October 15-20, 2012 in LA and San Diego, California. IAHSA, in partnership with Alzheimer’s Disease International, will host the International Alzheimer’s Study Tour which will explore the research and treatment protocols for early stage dementia as well as provide a shared learning experience through site visits with communities.

Register today!

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.

On October 15-20 2012, IAHSA and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) will be hosting the Alzheimer’s Disease International Study Tour in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, USA.

ADI and World Health Organization (WHO) came together earlier this year for a publication titled “Dementia: A Public Health Priority”.  The report raises awareness of dementia as a public health priority, to articulate a public health approach and to advocate for action at international and national levels.

According to the report:

  • The number of people living with dementia worldwide is 35.6 million and will double by 2030
  • Worldwide costs of dementia were US$604 billion in 2010
  • Countries must include dementia on their public health agendas
  • Dementia is not a normal part of ageing
  • Priority areas of action that need to be addressed within the policy and plan include:      

                        – Raising awareness

                        – Timely diagnosis

                        – Good quality continuing care and services

                        – Caregiver support

                        – Workforce training

                        – Prevention

                        – Research

These developments are particularly significant for developing countries, especially those in Asia, where populations are aging much more rapidly.

Dementia Statistics

                                                                                [credit: ADI, www.adi.co.uk]

In continuation with the findings of this report, the Alzheimer’s Study Tour will explore research and treatment protocols for early stage dementia and share learning experiences through site visits.  Registration ends August 2, 2012.  Don’t miss this chance to be a part of the international collaboration to address the global crisis.

In February 2012, Student British Medical Journal revealed a study on rising STI and STD rates, including HIV, in seniors. “Sexual Health and the Older Adult” estimated that in the US, UK and Europe rates of transmission doubled in the last 10 years.  

For instance, in Britian, HIV among the 50-90 age group comprised 20% of the reported infected population.

Some may shy away from this taboo subject, or turn a blind eye so as not to get involved. But if the health of the aging community is a primary concern of providers and care givers, sexual health is equally important.

One organization, Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University in Pennsylvania, USA, has taken matters into their own hands and is providing education, safety instruction and guidance for professionals.  They have released numerous ads in public places to increase awareness and have caused a stir with their risqué YouTube videos.

In the media, the issue has come to attention in a more-light hearted article in June’s issue of The Atlantic about the re-release of the classic film Harold and Maude (1971), a film in which a woman pushing her 80’s is shown enthusiastically kissing and caressing a younger man.  The article explores senior sexuality through the eyes of pop-culture and the stereotypes of aging.

This week, the Journal of Medical Ethics published a report dealing with the subject of sex and seniors in a more serious tone. The report exposes lack of safety and discretion in nursing homes in protecting sex among seniors.  It discusses the difficulties in grappling with consensual sex, primarily in elderly with dementia, and the complexities providers must deal with regarding the subject.

How are care givers around the world responding to the sensitivity of this issue?
Hand in Hand

[credit: garryknight, flickr]

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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