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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]

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.

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

The China International Senior Services Expo will be held in Shanghai  at the World Expo Convention Centre from 17 – 19 May 2012.

The China International Senior Services Expo (CHINA AID 2012) has been successfully held for 6 times since its debut in 2000.  The event is organised by IAHSA member  China Association of Social Welfare along with China Silver Industry Association and the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. The event is endorsed by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and China National Committee on Ageing. The event features hundreds of exhibitors from around the world as well as site visits and policy symposia that allow attenees to develop an understanding of the Chinese senior care industry.

The goal of the China International Senior Services Expo to promote the implementation of the Plan for the Development of Social Senior Service System (2011-2015) and the Year for the Development of Social Senior Service System. Specifically it will cover the areas of eco-friendly residential environment, rehabilitation, healthcare, spiritual/cultural needs, organization management, IT services and products, human resource training, and brand promotion. The event provides a networking platform for investors, providers, and exhibitors that are seeking to break in to the Chinese senior service industry and gives you access to strategic influencers in Chinese senior care.

More information can be found at

By the year 2050, the number of seniors in China will exceed the entire population of the United States. As the government of China comes to terms with this reality, private investors are sizing up the market for senior housing and services. Recently, Columbia Pacific and Emeritus Corporation joined with Cascade Healthcare to develop assisted living and senior housing facilities in China.

“The need for senior care in China is staggering,” said Dan Baty, a principal investor in Columbia Pacific Advisors and Chairman of Emeritus. “Over the next 10 years, China’s senior population will grow to 280 million people according to its census, and there are virtually no senior care facilities. It has long been a tradition in China that the family cared for the elderly in the home, but the rapidly expanding economy dictates that people now need more help to provide for the elderly.”

While the market may be huge, there is currently a lack of elder care facilities, regulations, and training opportunities in elder care so establishing new facilities will be a challenge. Is your organisation  considering investment in China? What obstacles do you foresee as China’s aged care sector evolves?

Photo courtesy mattwl

Everyone’s talking about the age wave. What’s going to happen when there are more older people than younger people in the world? How will we care for our ageing society?

China is in a particularly tough situation with regards to ageing population. By 2020, 17% of the population will be over age 60 (60 is the age that people qualify for government pensions). Additionally, an estimated 32.5 million people need long term care, with 8 million competing for the 2.5 million nursing home beds.

Recently, the people of China were polled about what they thought were the top issues facing the nation. They ranked ageing as the 8th most critical issue facing the nation.

So what are they doing about it?

Read more about China’s age wave and find out what steps they could take to assuage the impending crisis.

For those of you interested in what’s going on in China – in addition to the Olympics and the issues surrounding Tibet – the Chinese Government has issued a paper describing its plan for dealing with its increasing elderly population. Entitled ‘The Development of China’s Undertakings for the Aged’, the paper outlines their official position on a variety of issues, including:

I. State Mechanism of Undertakings for the Aged

II. Old-age Security System

III. Health and Medical Care for the Aged

IV. Social Services for an Ageing Society

V. Cultural Education for the Aged

VI. Participation in Social Development

VII. Safeguarding Elderly People’s Legitimate Rights and Interests

China’s Health Minister Chen Zhu recently announced a plan to reform the health system and provide a national service for all citizens, including the rural population.

According to a BBC report, Healthy China 2020 will be similar to the UK’s National Health Service providing universal health service and promote equal access to public services.

Finding the right mix of government support and consumer responsibility is a challenge, even for countries that have had universal coverage for a while. A number of European countries who heretofore have had comprehensive coverage are making changes to their systems as they face a large ageing population growth.

The report doesn’t give much detail on how China expects to organize this massive undertaking but as we learn more we’ll let you know. We can only hope that the Chinese learn from the mistakes of others.

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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