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Are you signed up for the International Federation on Aging’s 11th Global Conference on Aging? This year the event will feature a Senior Government Officials Meeting to discuss the role of Technology in Long Term Care.  Technologies to be reviewed include medication optimization, remote patient monitoring, assistive technologies, remote training, disease management, cognitive fitness and social networking tools. Join the conference from 28 May to 1 June 2012, where speakers will include Professor Greg Tegart,  Richard Watson, Dr Eric Dishman, and Msc. Anneke Offereins. To sign up of for more information, visit the website below!

Prime Minister David Cameron announced Monday that the U.K. will double funding for dementia research by 2015. Dementia funding will go from “£26 million at the end of the last parliament to over £66 million at the end of this one,” he announced in a speech. He went on to say that the lack of response to the dementia challenge was scandalous and amounted to a national crisis.

The increase in funding will be funneled to NHS hospitals for diagnosis and treatment. Currently the U.K. has 670,000 people living with dementia but more than have of them have not been diagnosed. The total number of people living with dementia in the U.K. is expected to reach 1 million within a decade.

Raising rates of dementia cannot only be addressed as a biomedical issue, but also must be tackled as a social issue in terms of stigma, care giving, and structural supports to maintain personhood and dignity for those living with the disease.

Said Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust: “The dementia challenge will require progress in social care, so that patients can be helped to live at home for longer, and so that relatives who care for their loved ones receive the support they need. And it will require action to raise awareness of this devastating condition, so that it is understood and not stigmatised.”

Photo courtesy of  windelbo

Registration for the fourth EAHSA Conference on 27-28 September 2012 is now open! This year’s event will feature a Global Applied Research Forum focusing on the research needs of providers that provides an opportunity for researchers and providers to dialogue on translating research into practice. This conference will be an opportunity for aged care providers to share practices, daily challenges and findings about homes for the elderly and other services offered to the ageing population.

Since it was established, EAHSA has served as an important platform of exchange and discussion for service providers and all those committed in delivering the finest services together with first-class accommodation to elderly people. A highlight of the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, this conference is only one of the many contributions that EAHSA makes to support of ageing in society.

Check out this video with highlights from the European Year!

The International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing is pleased to announce its inaugural Global Ageing Research Forum. The event will be held 26 September 2012 in conjunction with the European Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing Conference in Malta. Designed as a facilitated dialogue between researchers and providers, the event will explore the challenges and opportunities of culture change in care homes. Featuring presenters such as Dr. Julienne Meyer, City College of London, Dr. Robyn Stone, Center for Applied Research at LeadingAge, and Dr. Barbara Bowers, of the University of Wisconsin, the applied research forum will provide an opportunity for providers to discuss their research needs and provide insights on translating research into practice. Registration is now open, and those who sign up by 1 June 2012 will receive a discount.

Photo courtesy Agatha & Andrew Mleczko

Have you seen this great new video that was produced in honour of the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity? While brief it highlights the important role that elders play in social balance.

The European Commission has recently published a survey on active ageing to understand citizens’ views and attitudes towards older people. The survey examines the contribution of older people in the workplace and society, as well as how best to promote the active role of older people in society.

Active ageing is important because we are all living longer and median age is increasing. This presents a number of challenges for welfare systems and public finances. EU Member States spend almost a quarter of their GDP on social protection. Most of this goes on older people in the form of pensions, health services and long-term care. The current economic crisis has left Member States with large public deficits and public debt burden just at a time when the post-war baby-boomers are entering their sixties and starting to retire. The key issue today is how to secure good social protection in an increasingly challenging economic and demographic context.

Opinions obtained through the survey indicate that there is still a need to increase awareness of ageing. While the majority of Europeans (71%) are aware that the population is getting older, only 42% are concerned by this. Citizens in Portugal, Greece and Bulgaria seem to feel more concerned than other Europeans, whereas people in the Netherlands and Sweden seem to be least concerned.

Do you have ideas and suggestions for the European Year? A slogan? A nice picture, story or video clip that would illustrate the benefits of active ageing? Summit it to the Commission via their website.

Photo courtesy OlsenWeb

The Woodstock care home in the Hague has recently made headlines for housing residents that are chemically dependent and have been termed “long term addicted with untreatable addiction”.  One of the goals of the facility is to alleviate homelessness in the elderly, as well as to promote social order and safety. The facility is managed under the direction of the municipal government as well as local health care manager Parnassia. The facility uses multiple parameters as admission criteria, and provides treatment for multiple co-morbidities. While residents must enter a behavioral agreement to ensure safety, they are permitted to continue to consume chemical substances in the program. “Our criteria state you can only get into Woodstock if you’re over 45 and after a medical examination declares you are beyond rehabilitation,” said psychiatrist Nils Hollenborg. (For beautifully haunting photos of residents, see these photos from Peter Van Beek). Municipal authorities argue that providing stability for this population helps reduce petty theft.

While “hard” drugs may not be on the menu, chemical dependency may be an emerging issue in elder care. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report in 2009 that documented an increase in drug use among persons ages 50 – 64. As the “baby boomers” age, it is probable that elderly service providers will have to confront the issue of substance abuse among elders, as people who have consumed cannabis across their lifespan need services and supports. Complicating the issue from a provider policy standpoint, some states in the U.S. now allow for medical use of cannabis. Therefore, homes and care providers in California or Colorado might legally allow residents to consume cannabis while in their care. Such a home would be in compliance with state law but in violation of federal law. Residents of an advanced age may feel that rehabilitation in no longer a viable option and may prefer to continue their consumption. What do you think? Will “baby boomers” demand acceptance of chemical dependence as they age? What impact do you see this having on the aged care industry?

 

Woodstock Residence- Photo Courtesy Parnassia

 

 

 

 

The government of Switzerland has recently unveiled plans to construct a mock 1950’s village for people living with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The proposed village will be worth approximately 20 million Euros and will be constructed close to Wiedlisbach near Born. The village will be able to house about 150 residents in 1950’s style houses. The architects purposely developed a design to invoke the atmosphere of the era.  The building plans call for no closed doors so that residents will be able to move about freely. The carers will also participate in the effort to resurrect the 1950’s by dressing in typical garb of shopkeepers, beauticians, and groundskeepers of the era.

Markus Vögtlin, the Swiss entrepreneur behind the construction says that he struck upon the idea after visiting the Hogeway nursing home in Holland. Proponents of the model argue that reinventing the past can help Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers have a greater sense of normalcy during the advanced stages of the disease. Detractors argue that the model is deceptive and inefficient. Interested in learning more about alternatives in Alzheimer’s and dementia care? Why not join us on our study tour in California this year?

Kitchen at Hogeway Care Home, Holland

IAHSA congratulates the Association of Housing for the Elderly in Denmark on a productive 2011! We recently received an update on their activities. This past year they rebuild several of their care homes including Birkebo in Helsingor and an expansion of the Margarethe Hjemmet facility in Roskilde. The facility in Helsingor is located near wooded areas and offers stunning views from Birkebo across the Sound to Sweden. The Association also plans to build a senior community in 2012 that will house 40 modern apartments for seniors. The design  creates a state of the art facility that will open its doors in 2013. The general manager of the Association of Housing for the Elderly in Denmark, Henrik Nord, says that his organization’s success would not be possible without the devotion and hard work of more than 1.000 staff members who keep their facilities running. “Their commitment brings quality of life and joy to our seniors,” he says. How does your staff contribute to the contentment of your residents? Leave us a comment or send your story to iahsa@leadingage.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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?

 

 

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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