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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]

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.

IAHSA chapter, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) launched an advertising campaign to increase support of aged care workers. The following is from their press release:

If we are all lucky enough to get old we will probably need the help of these very people in the years to come – and that includes our politicians – even our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Our new website asks Mr Rudd: “What is life going to be like for you Prime Minister when you are 87?” Visit Kevin87 to see that ageing doesn’t stop just because we are in the public eye.    We hope he will join all of us in the celebration of aged care and aged care workers – and make everyone more aware of the people and services we can’t do without.

What are you doing to help the workforce in your community?

Seven years ago, Dr. Robyn Stone co-authored a white paper entitled Who Will Care for Us? Addressing the Long-Term Care Workforce Crisis in America.

This excellent paper challenged policymakers to take action on ways in which the USA can prepare for the coming baby boomer generation and the demands that they will make on the health care system in general, and the long-term care system specifically.

Now seven years later, the Institute of Medicine’s recent report, Retooling for An Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, echoes and expands on the issue, calling for bold initiatives designed to meet the growing needs of an expanding elderly population. Dr. Stone testified on the study before the US Congress saying, “The growing demand for long-term care, resulting from aging baby boomers and a much smaller pool of traditional caregivers, means the future will be immeasurably worse without decisive action by both public and private sectors.”

No one except our ageing service provider members seemed to be listening in 2001. Perhaps others will in 2008.

The Australians continue to take a leadership position in providing resources for helping address issues facing people providing services to multiple cultures.

This time it is Multicultural Mental Health Australia, who recently released a number of new mental health resources in over 20 languages. The topics covered include mental illness, anxiety, bipolar mood disorder, eating disorders and depression and many more.

This would be a good resource to share with your staff and families, especially if you have residents and staff from many different cultures and language bases.

Majd Alwan, Director of CAST, is a well known and respected researcher in robotics and elder care technologies. He is also a believer in the importance of using IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network as a vehicle for sharing knowledge about potential technological solutions to the challenges of global ageing.

He and Dr. Jeremy Nobel of Harvard University have written a compelling three-part report that outlines the state of the field in the United States with respect to the development of technologies for the ageing service field.

The report, funded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, offers a vision for long-term care that includes using integrated information technology systems to support and enhance the health, safety and social connectedness of older people living in their own homes.

They identify several barriers to achieving this vision, but are confident that a combination of new knowledge, linked to effective collaboration among a variety of stakeholders, can overcome these obstacles to widespread technology adoption.

This is an important paper and most of the observations are applicable across the globe. Please share it with your colleagues.

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

Have you ever thought about using a robot as a baby sitter? Or having one give you a bath?

According to a study by a Japanese think tank, The Machine Industry Memorial Foundation, robots will be able to fill the jobs of 3.5 million people by 2025 in graying Japan, helping to avert worker shortages as the country’s population shrinks.

Japan has long been regarded as one of the ‘oldest’ countries, facing a 16% slide in its workforce while the number of elderly grows.

Rather than each robot replacing one person, the foundation said that robots could make time for people to focus on more important things. Like bathing?

It would take me a while to get used to having a robot give me a bath. How about you?

What do you get when you meld Starbucks, Bally’s Fitness Center and Elderhostel? A Senior Center that is meeting the needs of today’s elderly.

Studies in the US have shown that the senior center of the 21st century needs to include a wider variety of activities, including a full array of programs that promote healthy ageing, continuing education and programs that attract all ages.

According to a recent NYTimes article, the use of senior centers in the US has been declining, primarily because the old models carry a stigma associated with ageing. The new multi-faceted models attract a wider community involvement and can serve as ‘the place to go’ for everyone, not just seniors.

Meet you at the Café for coffee and dance class!!!

The Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing, located in Victoria, Australia, is an online source of information on culturally appropriate aged care.

The Centre was developed to guide and promote best practice standards of care that address cultural diversity across all levels of service design and delivery.

They have developed a glossary of over 1000 terms used in ageing and translated them into 13 community languages. Even though some of the terms are tailored to the Australian ageing service system, I would think that the Glossary of Aged Care Terminology would be very useful for organizations needing to promote consistency of translations of aged care information.

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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