You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘ageing’ tag.

Changing attitudes, shifting perspectives and creation of new norms when it comes to ageing may seem like an arduous feat.  Art, as usual, has come to the rescue to help facilitate positive outcomes.

Imagine your life transformed before your eyes and knowing now what you wouldn’t for another 60, 70 years.  In Israel, the Dialogue of Time exhibition at the Israeli Children’s Museum in Holon (near Tel Aviv) brings together over 50 people between the ages of 71 and 86 to combat stereotypes. Targeting an impressionable audience, young visitors are transformed into 80-year-old people.

A video from Arutz Sheva reveals how the exhibition recreates the difficulties, fears and stigmas of ageing.

In California, USA, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art  “When I’m 64” exhibit takes a look at the role seniors will play in culture, society, politics and the economy.  Eight artists portray vivid and moving imagery of how it feels and what it means to grow older.

The exhibit also features special events and film screenings celebrating a graying population.

If you know of other art exhibits focusing on positive ageing, please share them with us and together we can help the world population open up to growing up.

Advertisements

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]

My photography project evolved from a good idea into an amazing journey. I knew I would enjoy taking pictures of the elder residents of Frasier Meadows, but I had no idea the special gifts this experience would give me. After every shoot I would be inspired by each resident and their willingness to share their talents with me as I shared my talent with them.

–Heidi Wagner

Heidi Wagner, a professional photographer and Exercise Therapist at Frasier Meadows in Boulder, Colorado, embarked on a photographic journey she titled The Passions Project.  Heidi began to capture the love for life, talent, art and adventure of the many talented residents at Frasier Meadows.

Heidi took nearly 100 photos of each resident, who then got to select their own final picture.  The residents were invited to come to Heidi with interest in having their photograph taken and the collection in black and white really captures the big hearts of the people willing to share their life passions.

There is Clint Heiple on his motorcycle, Pat Doughty with the masks she makes, Bill Ardourel playing the mandolin and many more inspiring images.  Each photo is accompanied by a quote from the resident.

The project came together in a collection of photographs which will be displayed at the LeadingAge Annual meeting in Denver, October 21-24, 2012.  IAHSA will offer several international sessions and an IAHSA reception.  To register for the event, please visit the conference registration page.

To view some of the photos, visit The Passions Project blog page.

Betty [Credit: Heidi Wagner Photography]

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]

Senior citizens may be dominating the global population, but they have not been the popular demographic on the film screen.   When they do make it into films, it’s rare that the elderly are portrayed in a positive light and leave us with a contented feeling about ageing.  This is hopefully about to change.

Pixar’s “Up” succeeded in opening up the hearts of all ages to enjoy elderly characters as endearing, comical, and inspiring.  Now Spain brings us a 2D animated film for adults, “Wrinkles”, by Paco Roca. 

Although the film is based on a 2008 comic book by the same name, Roca borrowed experiences and personalities from actual experience he had with people living with Alzheimer’s.  He spent six months conducting research in a nursing home and interviewing people as role models for his characters.

The film brings up an important topic not often discussed outside of care giving circles, but may be used as a great way to broach the topic when it’s difficult to talk about it.

The film is sad, funny, heartbreaking and heartwarming.  According to the synopsis, “Wrinkles portrays the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, two aged gentlemen shut away in a care home. Recent arrival Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimer, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor of the care home, also known as the lost causes or “assisted” floor. Their wild plan infuses their otherwise tedious day-to-day with humor and tenderness, because although for some their lives is coming to an end, for them it is just beginning.”

The film has won awards across Europe, UK and US including first prize in several national film festivals. “Wrinkles” is coming to theaters worldwide this year. You can watch the trailer here:

Global Connections

Margie Van Zyl (left) making Global Connections with Debra Rose (2nd from left), Jan Montague (2nd from right) and Rayne Stroebel of GERATEC (right)

Margie van Zyl, Direct of Strategic Partnerships at GERATEC, gave a presentation on Global Connections made to date at the recent IFA conference in Prague.  

The starting point for the Global Connections began in Trondheim, Norway when Margie met with IAHSA’s former Executive Director, Ginger Nuessle, to set up the country support network through IAHSA.  “We started emailing each other sharing ideas and thoughts” recalls Margie.

Following the IAHSA Conference in London in 2009, partnerships began to develop: Staff visited across countries, donated equipment, and supplied one another with training materials.

At the IFA in Prague, Margie made more connections. She is currently working on linking them to organisations in South Africa.  These programs include computer clubs for senior networks in Australia and South Africa, and a project on hope in long-term care in Canada. 

Then there was Jan Montague, President of Whole-Person Wellness Solutions, Inc. and Dr. Debra Rose, professor of Kinesiology Department and director of the Center for Sucessful Aging at California State University, who came to South Africa on holiday early in July.

Margie asked Jan and Debra if they wouldn consider running a workshop for staff in and around Cape Town. They agreed and about 80 nurses, social workers, carers, administrators attended the presentation on 3rd July 2012. Jan presented on Advancing Whole-Person Wellness and Debra on Fall Risk Reduction as a Pathway to Whole-Person Wellness.

They then went to visit Ekuphumleni, an old age home in KwaZulu Natal, and they were able to see first-hand the struggles of South Africa’s ageing.  Jan returned to the U.S. very committed to speaking to people at home to encourage support abroad.

Another successful connection was with Dan Dixon of Guardian Angels of Elk River, whom Margie met in Washington DC.  Volunteers from Elk River had visited Tanzania to work on an elder care project. Dan and Margie have been exchanging ideas and Dan is now raising funds through Rotary and getting matching grants for this project.

“For me the potential is limitless – it just takes passion and commitment!” says Margie. “It is IAHSA that gives the impetus for such global connections.  Thank you IAHSA!”

The Global Connections Program continues to inspire team work.  We look forward to welcoming new connections and international partnerships this year.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa

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]

On Thursday, July 26, 2012 the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will continue considering the social and human rights questions on how to engage more constructive participation by Member States during their meeting in New York.

From 23-27 July, 2012 ECOSOC’s primary focus of the General Segment will be to discuss the state of world affairs in the field of development.  Item 14 on the agenda, Social and Human Rights, will tackle the report from the High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights of older persons.

In April 2012, the UNHCHR issued a report (E/2012/51) in 6 UN languages on the human rights of older persons.  The report concluded that powerful advocacy efforts are needed for a new convention.  The Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) was established to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons and continues to make headway.

The OEWG will then have their third substantive session on 1-4 August 2012 in New York.

Per the April UNHCHR report:

“64. The situation of older persons presents a number of particular and urgent human rights challenges…each posing a set of issues that deserves in-depth analysis and regulation.

66. Current arrangements at the national and international level to protect the human rights of older persons are inadequate. Dedicated measures to strengthen the international protection regime for older persons are called for without further delay.”

The second working session discussed five topics, namely, discrimination and multiple discrimination; right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; violence and abuse; social protection and the right to social security; and age and social exclusion.

We look forward to a positive third session and encourage NGOs to help the OEWG advocate for the rights of older persons.

 
Flags in front of UN Headquarters

[credit: USAID_images]

A recent article in the Economist discussed some of the challenges facing China in developing their elder care system. The article highlighted a the Hangzhou City Christian Nursing home,  a facility with 1,400 licensed beds, with a  waiting list of over 1,000 persons. According to Sun Xiaodong, the government provides about 80% of long-term care beds, but is unable to keep up with demand and encourages development of facilities by approved religious and non-profit groups. Interested in learning more about elder care in China? Consider attending the  China International Senior Services Expo.

Photo courtesy  Matthew Wilkinson

This morning IAHSA received a visit from the Executive Director of Fundacion Saldarriaga Concha, Dr. Soraya Montoya. The Saldarriaga Concha Foundation is a Colombian institution that has worked since 1973 to increase organizational capacity and societal awareness of issues faced by elderly or disabled persons. The  issue of ageing in Latin America is increasingly urgent, as Latin America has a growing population of older people and relatively underdeveloped social security and healthcare systems. Dr. Montoya stressed the importance preserving the human dignity of older persons. “They do not just need health care and a pension. Those things are important, but it is also very important for older people to feel like they are integrated into society.”

The Foundation is seeking to expand its work in the area of age appropriate technologies to help older people stay connected with their family members. In the past year they have financed courses to help senior learn basic computer skills and their on-line recipe competition received over 800 entrees. “The older people are so happy when they are able to get on the internet and send letters to their son or their grandchild,” said Dr. Montoya. “We really see that the interest is there and we are interested in helping people connect with one another through technology.” Want to stay connected with Saldarriaga Concha? Follow them on Twitter or Facebook or check out this video (Spanish), highlighting the Foundation’s ageing initiatives.

 

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

Twitter Feed

Connect with us on Facebook

IAHSA - Global Ageing Network

Connect with us on LinkedIn

IAHSA - Global Ageing Network

Archives