October 1:  International Day of Older Persons

With advances in medicine helping more people to live longer lives, the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050 and will require radical societal change, according to a new report released by the WHO for the International Day of Older Persons (1 October).

Source: WHO | WHO: Number of people over 60 years set to double by 2050; major societal changes required

See also:

WHO Fact sheet on Ageing and Health

WHO World Report on Ageing and Health (full report) (executive summary)

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Advocating for better treatment of individuals with dementia

This post is from Dementia Alliance International (DAI), who promote education and awareness about dementia. The original text may be slightly modified for this post.

Kate Swaffer’s keynote speech highlights some of the most relevant issues in dementia care and living with dementia:  the need to address the individual, not just their symptoms; human rights issues; balance in dementia research funding; rehabilitation and palliative care in dementia care plans; better diagnostics; delaying institutionalization; inclusion; breaking stigma – I mean, wow, she really gave a great speech! She also touches on two other important topics:  psychosocial stimulation and maintaining work and contribution to society, mentioning her own experience and drive to continue contribution through advocacy.

She is a champion in breaking down stigma and raising awareness for people with dementia, particularly young-onset dementia (before age 65). Head on over to her website, have a read, and sign up to follow her.

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The World Health Organization and the Global Alzheimer’s Movement

I came across a short article on the US Against Alzheimer’s website, where they pose the question:

Can WHO Lead the Global Alzheimer’s Movement?

And I was relieved they asked it! I had also been thinking about this over the past week but had been hesitant to post about it. I guess I didn’t want to seem jaded since my internship with the WHO on the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities was a bit on the disappointing side. But, I am glad to see I am not the only one who is skeptical about the WHO leading a global Alzheimer’s movement. Wait…

…I am going to call it a dementia movement. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. But, around 50% of people who meet a dementia diagnosis criteria don’t ever get a diagnosis, so we can really only say that Alzheimer’s is the most diagnosed type of dementia. There are many people who do not have Alzheimer’s disease and will benefit from this movement…

Back to the WHO. They are certainly a global leader in addressing health issues and health promotion, and that the work they do is challenging and important. But large scale, challenging, and important work occurs over a long-term of research, planning, and implementation. Shaping policy and all the work that goes behind that takes a long time. This will be a great help – large scale, challenging, and important work that will affect MILLIONS of people. They can affect the movement in their own way, but I hesitate to call them THE leaders.

In addition to the long-term project cycles, and to the criticisms in the article below, I also wonder:  Isn’t there already a global dementia movement?

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Dementia as a Human Rights Concern

On the 16-17 March health ministers have gathered for the first time to discuss at the highest level dementia as a global challenge.

Ms. Kornfeld – Matte, UN Independent Expert on the rights of older persons has addressed the first Ministerial Conference on Global Action against Dementia Organised by the World Health Organisation in Geneva. She stressed that dementia should be viewed both as a health priority and as a human rights issue demanding comprehensive strategies to tackle it and ensure that the rights of people with dementia are protected in all settings. The Independent Expert has taken a particular interest in aspects of care and autonomy as part of her ongoing mandate. Her annual report is expected in September 2015. In April she plans a visit in Mauritius to examine the state of older people’s rights in the country.

More information about the Independent Expert’s intervention on dementia

For further information you can contact Nena Georgantzi, AGE Legal Officer,nena.georgantzi@age-platform.eu 

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Good Practices for Active and Healthy Aging

Launch of an EU-wide repository of good practices supporting active and healthy ageing

March 09, 2015 – 09:00

Europe is ageing rapidly. To address the challenges posed by this unprecented demographic change, European local and regional authorities, universities, civil society organisations and industries, have already developed and implemented a large number of initiatives in the fields of public services, healthcare, ICT, transport, housing, accessibility, and social participation. Today, the AFE-INNOVNET Network is taking the opportunity of the first EU Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing to launch a Europe-wide repository set up to gather and share interesting initiatives and help make population ageing an opportunity for Europe’s economic and social growth. Learn from existing initiatives and share yours as well!

With more than 256 members today, the AFE-INNOVNET is an EU-funded Thematic Network aimed at supporting innovation in the field of age-friendly environments, i.e. the adaptation of our social and physical environments to our needs as we age, according to the WHO approach. Launched in February 2014, this network is contributing to the European Innovation Partnership on active and healthy ageing by creating an EU-wide community of stakeholders willing to implement a holistic approach to active and healthy ageing.

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