Ageing and healthy environments
Earlier this week, I attended the "Ageing and Healthy Environments" International Federation on Ageing (IFA) workshop in Cameroon. The event focused on health and wellbeing into old age, elder abuse and age-friendly environments.
The two day workshop had wide international representation mainly through the presence of the IFA Board and also friends of the IFA (Canada, Australia, Israel, China, Japan, Jamaica, USA and Ireland).
The African delegates and presenters were mainly from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon. My contribution to the workshop was to share regional examples and experiences related to age-friendly environments in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as launching the Ageing in the 21st Century report.
Highlights of the workshop included:
- The opening and closing remarks from the Minister of Social Affairs, Cameroon who emphasised the importance of older people in sustainable development as well as intergenerational solidarity.
- The key note address from Dr Isabella Aboderin, a HelpAge board member, which focused on the power of evidence to support advocacy, as well as the importance of enhancing healthcare for older adults in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- The South Africa Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressing the importance of Africa's participation in the August 2013 Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, the need for a UN convention on the rights of older people and the importance of governments, civil society among others in making this happen.
- Discussions on older people and crisis management and people's experiences from emergencies in Jamaica, China and Japan.
- Viewpoints on elder abuse from Nigeria, Cameroon, Canada and the US.
- Reflections on age-friendly environments within cities and communities from Canada, Sub-Saharan Africa, Ireland and Greece.
General recommendations for future work included the promotion of active ageing, the need to share different models of care, promoting the rights of older people, more robust research and disaggregation of data (by age, disability and gender), the need to promote political will, promoting partnerships to further the ageing agenda and giving older people a voice in developing policy and practice.
Delegates and participants also re-emphasised the importance of networking, consolidating and sharing global learning.
The IFA will upload the presentations on their website within a week or two.