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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.

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]

Older workers are an increasingly important resource for employers who can benefit from wisdom and late-life creativity according to a new report Ageing, the Demographic Dividend and Work by Prof Desmond O’Neill, Centre of Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities at Tallaght Hospital in Ireland.

But the older worker faces many barriers to employment that reflect ageism in society as noted in the Irish Times.  This is an important report given the trend in Europe for increasing the retirement age, which Prof O’Neill warns could be detrimental without providing retirees life-long training and age-friendly workplaces.

Age discrimination continues to exist in all societies, with older people often viewed as fragile, unproductive and a burden on society.      This week we will highlight two movements that are underway to help us understand the issue and direct greater attention to creating a society that respects and values older people.

The first is from Benetas Aged Care, an IAHSA member provider in Melbourne, Australia.  They recently conducted a study with Deakin University which examined the attitudes of society toward older people and what respect for older Australians means to them and the wider community.    The report, Respect in an Ageing Society, revealed that older people who are respected tend to have greater life satisfaction, including a sense of usefulness and involvement with their family, community and significant others.   The study revealed themes of ageism within Australian society and Benetas plans to conduct further research on the issue with the goal of helping the Australian people understand and embrace older people.

Older adults are subject to discrimination world wide. As the global population ages, this trend will only grow larger. The United Nations has produced a report titled, Strengthening Older People’s Rights: Towards a UN Convention. The goal is to create a UN Convention for older people, therefore helping protect our elders globally.

Find out what you can do to help the cause.

Bill Thomas hosts an excellent blog called ChangingAging.   I read it every day and always find interesting articles and ideas that you don’t find anywhere else.

Today’s post is a short cartoon about ageism.    It’s on YouTube – share it with your friends and colleagues.  We need to constantly fight against ageism.

The NGO Committee on Ageing is an important voice for the elderly and ageing issues at the United Nations.    Dr. William Smith and Katie Weiss are IAHSA representatives on the NGO Committee on Ageing, making sure that issues pertaining to ageing service providers are included in the on-going dialogue with the high ranking UN delegates.

Recently the Committee addressed the important issue of ageing in the workplace.  As the world’s population ages and the number of young workers decreases, it will be increasingly important for employers to provide a work friendly environment for employees of all ages.    Through the good work of Bill and Katie IAHSA will continue to participate in these important discussions.

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".

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Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

Alla Rubinstein, Program Administrator, IAHSA

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