Alongside a rapidly ageing population global inequality exists and the diverse needs of older people are apparent. This diversity is often overlooked and underrepresented in policies and programs, negatively impacting older people and the ageing process. Throughout this theme, various topics will be explored to better understand the multidimensional impacts of discrimination, marginalization and inequality on ageing populations globally. Improving understanding of the ways in which identity and life experiences are compounded and impact older people is critical to developing solutions to address deeply rooted inequalities. Discussions around social and health inequalities, as well as successful good practices and interventions that enhance policies and programs, will be present throughout this theme.
Those dedicated to addressing inequalities experienced by older people can submit an abstract under one of the following sub-themes:
The health and wellbeing of older people is determined by a myriad of contributing factors. However, often neglected and minimized is the role that inequality and an individual’s identity has in impacting the ageing process. It is time to address the often-intersecting experiences of older LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) people, older prisoners, older women, older homeless persons and older Indigenous persons will draw attention to the role that life experience has on the health and ability of older people to meet their basic needs.
Climate change, economic opportunity and political conflict are three of the many contributing factors that influence the migration and displacement of people globally. Older people are particularly at risk to the impacts of migration and displacement. From understanding how to ensure that the diverse needs of older people are addressed in humanitarian efforts, to planning for emergencies and climate change disasters or even creating initiatives that improve the health and wellbeing of older people “ageing out of place”, the experiences of older people need to have their diverse needs included in policy and practice.
Financial insecurity poses many critical problems for the world’s ageing populations. For many, financial insecurity and poverty increases in older age, discriminates by gender and culture and for those who have experienced a lifetime of endemic poverty, they often are at risk for additional insecurity and inequality. Addressing the many dimensions of poverty and financial insecurity, and how it impacts ageing populations globally, are a priority.
Creating environments that are age-friendly requires action across all sectors including; health, long-term care, transport, housing, labour, social protection, industry, information and communication. Bolstered by the World Health Organization’s vision of age-friendly communities as “policies, services, settings and structures [that] support and enable people to age actively,” this conference theme will be a vehicle through which age-friendly experts can showcase innovative work and engage in discussions of good practice in age-friendly environments. Recognizing that in order to build age-friendly environments it is important to consider the physical, social, emotional and relational well-being of older people.
Those dedicated to age-friendly advancements can submit under the following sub-themes, all of which interconnect to foster age-friendly environments:
The Age-friendly Cities and Communities (AFCC) program and similar initiatives aim to create environments that are truly age-friendly. To facilitate this, there are eight measures by which an age-friendly city or community can be evaluated on. Examples include social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services. Within this subtheme presentations will identify and reflect on age-friendly initiatives that include one or more of these measures, while further identifying the concrete steps cities and communities have taken to achieve the goal of being age-friendly. Abstracts are called for that showcase good practice, measure and evaluate the impact of AFCC, and demonstrate sustainability.
Advances in technology can contribute to the social and functional needs, as well as to the physical requirements of ageing populations. Abstracts within this theme will highlight the advances of medical devices that have improved life expectancy and quality of life, the innovative telecommunications devices that have positively contributed to reducing social isolation, and the advanced telehealth measures that have allowed for improved coordination of care. Existing products and services as well as proposed directions can also be highlighted under this subtheme, reflecting the range of work in this area.
The unique challenges facing the world in the upcoming decades include both rapid urbanization and ageing populations globally. Urban planning must include age-friendly initiatives that take into consideration outdoor spaces, buildings, and transportation options. Abstracts within this theme will address urban planning, as well as age-friendly housing initiatives. Examples of age-friendly housing may include initiatives that contribute to ‘ageing in place’, which aims to keep individuals in their own homes, as well as other topics which encourage dialogue addressing the importance of tailoring spaces to meet diverse needs.
Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age. This can occur between individuals or on a systemic level through the presence and / or lack of policies, programs or services. Ageist attitudes are widespread, and examples of age-based discrimination are present across policy areas including health and social services, employment, education, and infrastructure. The pervasive nature of ageism has negative impacts on older persons, including social exclusion and loneliness as well as poorer health outcomes. Efforts to combat ageism, through changes to policies as well as to perceptions and attitudes, are needed to empower and facilitate inclusion of people of all ages in economic and social opportunities.
Those dedicated to combating ageism can submit an abstract under one of the following sub-themes, all of which relate to ageism and age-based discrimination:
Often older people experience barriers to accessing the most basic of health care and social services; as some view them as a ‘drain’ on health system resources. Population ageing is a driver to establishing person-centric services including health promotion as ‘the norm’ rather than the exception. Abstracts under this subtheme should contribute to a great understanding of good policy practice, the value of interdisciplinary teams, and methods to dispel myths around the burden of older people within health and social services.
This is an unparalleled time of change in the nature of work and whether indeed there is such as thing as ‘retirement.’ For generations work has been a defining characteristic of one’s value, and yet automation, generational expectations, ageism/age discrimination, and volunteerism has changed all of that. Abstracts under this subtheme will help to inform our thinking around the concept of ‘decent work for all,’ the social and economic contribution of older people, good practice to combat ageism, and future policy development across sectors.
It’s time to tackle the silence; social issues such as isolation, loneliness and abuse often grow insidiously yet have a deep impact within our communities in general while also having a profound impact on those who are ageing. Evidence of the impact and increasing prevalence of these social issues is real and powerful almost in every country of the world. Abstracts for these sessions are called to showcase examples of good practice and especially those which have been evaluated. It is time to understand how these examples can be replicated and scaled up.
Health is often assumed to be the sole factor influencing quality of life in old age, when in reality many older people experience health conditions that have little or no impact on their wellbeing. Functional ability, defined by the World Health Organization as “having the capabilities that enable all people to be and do what they have reason to value” encompasses a wide range of factors including the ability to grow and gain knowledge, move and participate in activities, maintain and form new relationships, and contribute to society.
With the growing population of older people across the globe, it is now more than ever critical to determine ways to maintain and improve the functional ability of this cohort. Research has increasingly indicated that rises in sensory impairments, cognitive impairments and long-term care negatively impact functional ability. This theme will showcase innovations in long term care that enable functional ability for residents who often face progressive and chronic diseases; the interplay between cognition and functional ability; and the importance of senses such as hearing and vision to functional ability.
Those dedicated to enabling functional ability of older people can submit an abstract under one of the following sub-themes:
Global population ageing is a current day phenomenon that is attracting the attention of all levels of government around the world. While healthy life expectancy is slowly increasing, between ten and twenty percent of older people report experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and some 46.8 million people are living with severe cognitive impairment impacting their ability to function independently in society. Growing evidence suggests that throughout the life course, brain health and cognitive function can be promoted through lifestyle modification interventions and cognitive impairment strategies that are both person-centred and cost-effective. Abstracts for this subtheme will help build the understanding of brain health and showcase promising evidence-based interventions.
Systems of long-term care (including palliative care) are needed in all countries to meet the needs of older people. They enable older people, who experience significant declines in capacity, to receive the care and support consistent with their basic rights, fundamental freedoms and human dignity. These services can also help reduce the inappropriate use of acute health-care services, help families avoid catastrophic care expenditures and enable the main caregivers to have broader social roles. Abstracts for this subtheme will showcase innovative assistive technologies and solutions for long term care such as remote monitoring and robotic caregivers alongside emerging trends in this field.
Sensory changes such as vision and hearing loss as one ages have significant impacts on our function and may also contribute to loneliness, social isolation, dependence and in some cases cognitive impairment. Vision and hearing loss are too often dismissed as a normal part of ageing which is not the case; hence the need for effective screening, timely diagnosis and safe and effective solutions and treatments. Abstracts to this sub-theme will build the understanding of the impact of sensory impairments on functional ability and showcase promising evidence-based solutions to maximize senses.