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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.


[Credit: Ms Logic, Flickr]

France’s new president, Francois Hollande, has called for a younger retirement age for some workers: a drop from 62 to 60.  What many countries consider to be an economic mistake, France sees as a “pillar of France’s social benefit system” (AP).

To be fair, Hollande has been trying to win over a people angered by his predecessor, Nicholas Sarkozy, who raised the retirement age from 60 to 62 not long ago.  Sarkozy’s age hike was viewed as unfair to low-income workers and Hollande’s change would help mothers and those who suffer workplace accidents.  

Yesterday, IAHSA attended a press release by the Geneva Association which issued a report on Addressing the Challenge of Global Ageing. Their recommendations for the international crisis were supportive of raising the retirement age.  Here is why:

  • To align retirement age with life expectancy
  • Relieve public finance
  • Increase taxes and social security contributions to stimulate economies
  • Increase Labor force participation

So what is the right thing to do? Of course this is subject to debate but The Geneva Reports leave us with a few ideas:

  • Offer incentives for part-time work beyond the official retirement age
  • Eliminate incentives for early retirement
  • Accept the need to save more

French flags

French Flags [Credit: Quinn.Anya]

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:

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

Did you see the article in the New York Daily News on the increased use of robots in elder care facilities? Thanks to advances in computational technologies, robots are now able to assist with tasks such as moving people, washing people’s hair, and delivering items to people.

Check out this video highlighting a robot that is able to lift people out of bed and sit them up in a chair.

Margaret Roberts may be a “non-traditional student” but she hasn’t allowed that to hinder her studies in aged care. Ms Roberts of Brighton, Australia, is pursuing a level 3 certificate in ageing services and hopes to work in the sector upon graduation. According to reporter Jon Andrews, Ms. Roberts did not want to state her age for fear of future age related job discrimination. She finishes her classes at Holmesglen TAFE Moorabbin in June and will carry out a 6 month internship before seeking a regular position.

Check out this video with commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, as she discusses ageist assumptions in the workplace.

The UK’s National Care Forum has just announced its 9th Annual Conference, this year entitled Shifting Boundaries: Integrating social care, health and housing. The event will take place Tuesday 22 – Wednesday 23 May 2012, at the Hilton Reading Hotel. NCF members are invited to attend and participate in the debate on the challenges and realities of integrating social care with health and housing. Themes to be covered include:

Health and social care reforms

Collaboration and competition

Plurality of the market

New commissioning structures

Outcomes and evidence

Driving quality, improvement and innovation

Managing transition and change

Keynote speakers include David Behan CBE, Department of Health; Professor Steve Field CBE, NHS Future Forum;  and Dame Jo Williams, Chair, Care Quality Commission.  The NCF/VODG member rate will be only £420 (£350+VAT) which includes lunch, conference dinner and accommodation on 22 May plus breakfast and lunch on 23 May. A booking form will be sent to all NCF members this week.

Check out this video from Dame Jo Williams on the state of care.

UK based home-care provider Direct Health has begun implementation of its point of care documentation software. The company employs over 2000 home health workers. Under the plan, each worker will use a smart phone to document care provided; the software includes to-do list and check-lists to improve documentation of each step of the care process. Converting to the electronic smart phone system will allow real time access to changes in a client’s status and also provide greater information to management. The phones (like most smart phones) have GPS technology that allows managers to know when the care provider arrived and departed the home; in this way attendance can be automatically documented and verified.

The company ran a successful pilot of the technology in 2011; based on the results of the pilot, management believes that the system will improve efficiency, transparency and improve communication. They also expect cost saving and a shorter revenue cycle as a result of electronic documentation.

Photo courtesy Baha’i Views / Flitzy Phoebie

The International Dementia Excellence Awards (IDEA) are designed to recognise organisations and individuals who have worked hard to improve the quality of life of people with dementia. The awards are a celebration of the important efforts undertaken to support people who struggle with dementia. Nominations are currently being accepted in the following categories; dementia and the arts, life engagement, employee of the year, team of the year, volunteer of the year, researcher(s) of the year, dementia design innovation of the year, and risky business. For more information or to nominate, visit the Dementia Services Development Centre website.  The awards will be presented during the ‘Risky Business’, International Dementia Conference, in Sydney, Australia in June 2012. The conference is aimed at all those who support people with dementia.

Photo courtesy of and Ambro.

2012 marks the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. According to the World Health Organization, the determinants of active ageing include social determinants, the physical environment, behavioral determinants, economic determinants and health and social services.  The WHO has called on service providers, policy makers and society at large to support active ageing by championing older people’s participation in society, by promoting health for all, and by enhancing security for seniors.

One of the possibilities for promoting participation is to allow people to remain in the workforce for longer. Another option is to support volunteer programs that allow seniors to share their knowledge and expertise with businesses and nongovernmental organizations that need their insight. Permitting seniors to play an active role in society helps seniors avoid boredom and strengthens self-efficacy. During 2012, the European Union will seek to broaden seniors’ engagement and strengthen younger people’s understanding of the important role that active ageing plays in maintaining social balance. How does your organization plan to support the Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity?



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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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