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Age Demands Action campaign with HelpAge International

06 Oct 2011

Walter Woods is the Vice President, AARP Foundation Impact Programs (Isolation) and has more than 20 years of social development experience working both with and for young and older people in the Greater Washington Region.

a Face to Faith student in India standing alongside her grandmother.This year, HelpAge took part in a live video conference in collaboration with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. The theme of the conference this year was "Voices of the Future: Intergenerational".

The video conference was held on 30 September and included schools from Monterray in Mexico, London, New Delhi, India, Dubai, Gaza, Thailand, amongst others, as well as me their guest speaker from the AARP Foundation.

Bringing generations together

Getting our youth to talk to and about older people is as important as getting them to take action to make this population more visible in our communities.

Multigenerational action today helps create better integrated communities tomorrow. Communities that fully engage with what must be recognised universally as our most treasured resource: our older people.

So, when presented with the opportunity to participate in this video conference, I did not hesitate.

The issues older people face today

In my comments I talked about what the AARP Enterprise does to support older people in the US, my motivation to work in the field of ageing and the role faith based organisations play in this field.

I went on to talk about my thoughts on what the important issues facing older people are today:

  • Older people not having access to basics such as food, housing, income and not achieving their best lives.
  • Communities inadequately designed to allow older people to "age in community" in a fully integrated manner that connects them to resources, recognises their value and sustains a sense of purpose.
  • Poor public awareness around issues of ageing and older people.

Ageing must be a public issue

Some of the comments I heard from participating students helped me realise more than ever how important ALL conversations about ageing are, especially multigenerational conversations.

We must keep the issue of ageing in the public domain as a topic of conversation. If we don't, this issue becomes even less visible and consequently, less relevant to our communities.

I encourage each of you take action and talk with your communities about issues of aging.

Inspire the action you seek by modelling it.

Please sign the Age Demands Action global petition and keep checking out the Age Demands Action web pages for all the latest updates. 

Your comments

Sarah Marzouk

Hi Walter, Thanks for your blog, we have received this really great comment from a student in Dubai that I wanted to share with you: "Today was such an amazing day. I would really like to thank Face to Faith for giving us such an opportunity to interact and discuss worldwide views about such important issues, that are often given a deaf ear to. Today's VC mainly enphasised on the topic AGE DEMANDS ACTION. It really taught me a lot and gave me a wider perspective on some things I wasn't even aware of before. We got to interact with the students from Mexico and India as well. Mr. Walter Woods, who was the Chief Guest, joined us from the US. He gave us some information about his foundation, the AARP, and its different goals. Mrs. Jo was also part of the VC and was of great help throughout the session. We spoke about different faiths and how they pay respect to them I'm very glad that I could be a part of such a gathering, and that I was given an opportunity to voice my opinions. It helped me understand countless reasons why elders are to be respected no matter what happens. Hope we have more of such VCs and hopefully they'll be better and better. I would also like to thank my english teacher Mrs. Anitha Nair for selecting me to be part of such an extraordinary event. I also thank Mrs. Shantha Vishwanathan and Mrs. Sian Rowles."


Hi Walter! Here are some comments from a student in Dubai regarding the video conference: 'I was a part of the Age Demands Action VC and it was an awesome experience. Talking face2face through face2faith with two different Schools and an emminent personality like Mr. Walter Woods, facilitated by Ms. Joe from AROUND THE WORLD! Contrary to my expectations, it was a fun-filled and casual conversation. The ambience was similar to an enthusiastic Classroom discussion. I got to learn a lot about AARP and the efforts of many unsung heroes like Mr. Walter Woods. In the VC, I became aware of the fact that by 2050, the number of 50+ citizens will surpass the number of teenagers. That means that even I 'll be one of them! So I must act or I too will be dumped somewhere like a vegetable. There were emotional moments when Mr. Walter Woods described the sad state of our elders and the guest speakers narrated the love they received from their grandchildren. In this VC, we all took a decision to address our elders as elders and not 'old' people, as they are still young at heart and give them comfort and love in every way possible. But, the experience of my VC is something I will cherish all through my life.'


Comment from Student in Dubai: 'It was a really exciting experience video chatting with people so many miles away. It was a pleasure talking to Mr. Walter Woods about the many issues troubling the old as he has indepth knowledge as well as first hand expeience. I would like to thank Mrs. Sian Rowles and Mrs. Jo Malone for giving us this opportunity to be a part of such a significant event. I had a amazing time and take away a lot from this VC.'

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Author profile

Walter Woods
Country: U.S.A
Job title: Vice President, AARP Foundation Impact Progra

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.