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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 Raising Awareness of Adult Vaccinations

“Take the Survey Today”

vaccinationsImmunization is a core component of the human right to health, a standard element in any effective, preventative public health approach, and an individual, community, and governmental responsibility.  Current advocacy efforts to promote the importance of immunization have focused primarily on children, yet there is a grave lack of awareness about the fact that older people are equally, if not more vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases.

IFA has created a survey to better understand the uptake of adult vaccinations and to promote awareness of the importance of vaccinations throughout the life course.


IFA 12th Global Conference on Ageing

“Health, Security, and Community”


  • Professor Muhammad Yunus Professor Muhammad Yunus Chairman, Yunus Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Founder, Grameen Bank, Nobel Laureate, 2006
  • Dr. Lieve Fransen Dr. Lieve Fransen Director, Europe 2020, Directorate-General Employment, Social Afffairs and Inclusion, European Commission
  • Dr. Jack Watters Dr. Jack Watters Vice President, External Medical Affairs, Pfizer
  • Dr. Alexandre Kalache Dr. Alexandre Kalache President, International Longevity Centre - Brazil, Founder, WHO Active Ageing Framework
  • Dr. Kiran Bedi Dr. Kiran Bedi Founder, India Vision Foundation, India's first/highest ranking female officer
  • Ms. Chetna Gala Sinha Ms. Chetna Gala Sinha Founder, Mann Deshi Mahila Group World Fellow, Yale University
  • Dr. Yves Joanette Dr. Yves Joanette Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Ageing

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 Raising Awareness of Adult Vaccinations

“Take the Survey Today”

vaccinationsImmunization is a core component of the human right to health, a standard element in any effective, preventative public health approach, and an individual, community, and governmental responsibility.  Current advocacy efforts to promote the importance of immunization have focused primarily on children, yet there is a grave lack of awareness about the fact that older people are equally, if not more vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases.

IFA has created a survey to better understand the uptake of adult vaccinations and to promote awareness of the importance of vaccinations throughout the life course.

Chicago Declaration on the Rights of Older Persons - UN 5th OEWG Side Event

side-event flyerThe fifth working session of the United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Ageing is taking place July 30th – August 1st, 2014.  As part of the OEWG meeting, there are a variety of side-events being organized by members of civil society.  This year, the IFA is co-sponsoring a side-event being organized by the John Marshall Law School about the process of engagement and drafting of the Chicago Declaration on the Rights of Older Persons.

The Chicago Declaration is a working product of scholars, advocates and policy makers from more than a dozen countries. It builds on the principles proclaimed in international human rights instruments and previous regional and international instruments promoting the rights of older persons. Elements of the Chicago Declaration include the human rights and fundamental freedoms of older persons and proposed state obligations to ensure and promote those rights.

The Declaration will hope to inform and contribute to the work of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing. After an interactive panel discussion, the panelists and Chicago Declaration Working Group will be available for a Question and Answer session. Further discussions regarding the Chicago Declaration are encouraged and appreciated.

To see the list of speakers and to learn more about this event, please click here to download the promotional flyer.

If you wish to attend the side-event, please RSVP to Ms. Teresa Do (tdo@jmls.edu) by July 31st.

Grantmakers In Aging Gathers Age-friendly Images from Around the World

GIA_photo_contest_India_exercise - CreditWhat does an age-friendly community look like? From city to town, from continent to continent, the answer is different everywhere.  As such, Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) [www.giaging.org] set out to collect a wide variety of images of age-friendly moments, with their “Friendly Places, Friendly Faces” photo contest. The contest was part of GIA’s age-friendly initiative, Community AGEnda, funded by the Pfizer Foundation. [http://www.giaging.org.../]

“We launched this contest to gain insight into what people think best illustrates an age-friendly community,” said John Feather, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Grantmakers In Aging. “Our winning photographs tell meaningful stories of how older adults are vitally connected to the life of their cities, towns and villages in many different parts of the world, and show how communities can be great places to grow up and grow old.”

“Friendly Places, Friendly Faces” received over 500 entries from 29 different countries. The photographer responsible for the grand prize-winning photo is Sudipto Das, a photojournalist for the Times of India. He took the above photo of older adults getting early morning exercise in Kolkata, India.

See all the winning photos here [http://www.giaging.org/programs-events/community-agenda/photo-contest/]

IFA 2014 Annual Members Meeting

In accordance with Section 4 of the corporation’s bylaws members of the International Federation on Ageing are advised of the Annual Members Meeting to be held at The University Club of New York, One West 54th Street, New York, NY, 10019 on Monday 4th of August 2014 commencing at 9am. Members planning to attend should review the information contained in this link for the Provisional Agenda and some important notes.

Announcing New Leadership of the UN NGO Committee on Ageing - Geneva

Dr. FitzgeraldOn April 29th, 2014, at an extraordinary assembly of the United Nations (UN) NGO Committee on Ageing – Geneva, a new Executive Committee was elected. The new officers are Ms. Silvia Perel-Levin, representative of the International Longevity Centre (ILC) Global Alliance as the Chair, Dr. Kelly Fitzgerald, representative of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) as Vice-Chair, and Ms. Ursula Barter-Hemmerich, representative of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) as the Secretary.

The IFA congratulates all the appointees on their new positions, but in particular, would like to extend congratulations to Dr. Kelly Fitzgerald, who currently serves as the IFA UN representative in Geneva.

Under the new leadership, the Committee will develop a work plan for the next year to address current activities and development in the UN, specialized agencies and other organizations with representation in the Geneva area.

Its overall goals and objectives include furthering the UN mission of building a society for all ages, to raise awareness about ageing and intergenerational issues, and to influence global policy. In this context, the Committee will strengthen its relations with NGOs, and bring diverse voices from local and national levels to an international scale.

Read more here.  http://www.ifa-fiv.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/UN-NGO-Committee-on-Ageing-New-Leadership.pdf

Expression of Interest – Core Professional Conference Organizer

The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is seeking to establish a formal relationship with a Core-Professional Conference Organiser to improve all operational aspects of the organisations future bi-annual International Conferences on Ageing and other specified meetings; as well as develop state of the art knowledge mobilisation and exchange processes towards influencing and shaping policy and practice.

The Secretary General Dr Jane Barratt is available to respond to questions from applicants from the time of the announcement until the deadline as per the Expression of Interest guidelines (EOI).  All bids should be received in electronic format, addressed to the Secretary General, Dr Jane Barratt at jbarratt@ifa-fiv.org, and in English language by close of business 18th July 2014.

The Expression of Interest (EOI) Guidelines can be viewed in their entirety [here]

Read more news →

Articles of Enduring Interest

Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide – Available in Russian

Thanks to Dr. Gulnara Minnigaleeva of the NGO, Retired Persons’ Organization “Wisdom Ripening” the WHO Age-friendly Cities Guide is available in Russian. The establishment of “Wisdom Ripening” came about as a result of the WHO Global Age-Friendly Cities Project in the city of Tuymazy, Republic of Bashkortostan, Russian Federation. The organization serves the interests of older peple of the city and works on making the city “livable” for all ages. They received the official status of a nonprofit nongovernmental organization in 2008 and are registered with the Federal Authorities of the Russian Federation.

Their mission is to contribute to providing social security for older persons; create Age-Friendly Environment in concordance with the Age-Friendly Cities Guidelines developed by the World Health Organization; to organize, facilitate and support projects to ensure Active Aging in Tuymazy, Russian Federation; and to work to strengthen humanitarian society and volunteerism. Go to http://wisdomripening.org/ to learn more.

Current and Emerging Issues Facing Older Canadians

The IFA has just released a report on current and emerging issues facing older Canadian that aims to improve policy responses to critical age-related issues through the identification, investigation and analysis of specific country trends and responses that are applicable to the Canadian context and population trends. Ageing issues are complex and not only about seniors.

The notion of a life course perspective was introduced more than a decade ago yet is seeing resurgence in the context the labor market strategies, the work-life balance, the role of family caring and being active and connected as we age. In the study of current and future issues facing older Canadians, all levels of governments, industry and the non-governmental sectors revealed not only layers of a discreet subject (such as an ageing workforce) but more importantly the interrelationships among the issues and the interconnectedness between the issues.

Not surprisingly the issues of ageing in place and support to caregivers were rated as the highest priority. On behalf of the IFA our thanks to members and contributors to this important study. You can view the full report here.

Ageing, Alzheimer’s disease/dementias and caregiving in NCD Summit 2011 Outcomes

Seventy five per cent of the 35 million deaths from NCDs worldwide affect people aged 60 and over, the majority of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. The rapid increase predicted in the number of older people in the developing world from 473 million in 2009 to 1.6 billion in 20502 makes addressing older people’s needs regarding NCDs an urgent priority.

The UN High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases can be a critical moment for rallying global efforts to meet the needs of all age groups affected by NCDs. The proposals on the table have the potential to help shift the behaviour of millions of people to healthier lifestyles and provide much needed healthcare, treatment and support.

UN Member States’ efforts to tackle NCDs will be strengthened greatly by ensuring the following:

Ageing is recognised as a key driver of NCDs and active steps are taken to address people’s health needs across the life-course;

Health planning focuses on preventable morbidity and death without setting arbitrary age limits for good health;

Mental and neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, are recognised as an important cause of morbidity that contribute to the global NCD burden and that NCD prevention programmes and health care interventions provide equitable access to effective programmes for these illnesses;

Palliative care and support provision is scaled up alongside preventive and curative measures for NCDs;

Follow-up to the commitments made at the NCD High Level Meeting include specific indicators relevant to older age groups.

We welcome the progress made so far to address these issues as reflected in the draft Political Statement. These commitments also need to be reflected in national NCD plans that Member States will develop.

View the UN Declaration of the NCD Summit.

Voices of Advocacy: Older Women Speak Out!

“How do we engage, nurture and sustain older women advocates in civil society?” In 2009/10 Peggy Edwards studied the unique Grandmothers To Grandmothers Campaign (in Canada and Africa) to find answers to this question.

Older women who volunteer in the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign are working to turn the tide on HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and to provide a voice in Canada and with international agencies for African grandmothers and the millions of AIDS orphans in their care. The Grandmothers Campaign is affiliated with the Stephen Lewis Foundation. (www.grandmotherscampaign.org)

There are now over 240 groups in Canada from coast to coast.

“Against all odds, the Grandmothers Campaign has become a social movement. The grandmothers have not only raised awareness but a huge sum of money ($12 million in five years!) but they have become a force of political advocacy at crucial political moments… The Grandmothers Campaign has helped to transform international development policy.” … Stephen Lewis, former UN Envoy on AIDS in Africa.

Peggy’s website at www.grannyvoices.com provides the results of her work through a 10-minute video and other innovative products and teaching tools. Use of these tools will provoke reflection and discussion about the role of older women as passionate, committed and skilled advocates for social justice, and the Grandmothers Campaign. Peggy’s work was supported by the Alan Thomas Fellowship granted by the Carold Institute for the Advancement of Citizenship in Social Change (www.carold.ca)

“The video inspired us to stand in solidarity with the African grandmothers who are raising millions of AIDS orphan, and to keep working to turn the tide on HIV and AIDS in Africa”. … member of a grandmother group, Toronto, ON.

“The video and handouts break down negative stereotypes about aging and provoked a good conversation about intergenerational relationships and the capacity of older women as leaders and learners in modern society”. … professor, School of Nursing, George Brown College, Toronto, ON.

Food Crisis and Older People

16 October 2011 was both World Food Day and Blog Action Day. As a result, the theme for Blog Action was food, but more specifically, the focus of World Food Day was “Food prices – from crisis to stability”.

Older people key providers of food

Older people have been affected by the food crisis, price hikes and the devastating drought and famine in east Africa.

At first, the situation seems contradictory: Older people are the key producers and providers of food, yet millions go hungry. They play a vital role in producing, preparing and providing food and high proportion of farmers in developing countries are older people.

In Jamaica for example, the average age of farmers is over 55. In Mozambique, more than two-thirds of the Small Farmers Union members are over 50.

However, there are many reasons why so many older people are going hungry. Reduced mobility can affect older people’s access to food. Land can also be a problem; as the need for farmland increases, older people can be victims of land grabbing. The declining capacity to farm, changes in the environment, as well as the demands of caring and insufficient income can also be huge issues for older people.

The crisis in Ethiopia is an example of many of the above reasons converging and leading to devastating results.

For more information or donation, click here.

Japan Disaster Appeal – Supporting Older Vulnerable People

The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) together with Friends of IFA (FOIFA) Japan are launching a focused fund-raising campaign for a specific project that aims to assist organizations providing support and care services to vulnerable older people affected by the most powerful earthquake to hit north east Japan in more than 100 years.

Our prayers and sympathies go out to our friends, colleagues and their families of those lost in the earthquake in Japan. The effect of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis has had devastating consequences for the lives of tens of thousands of people, their families and their communities.

The IFA has a strong affinity with older people in Japan through members such as the Japan Productive Ageing Centre, the Japan Well-Ageing Association, Meals on Wheels Japan, and FOIFA Japan. FOIFA Japan has offices and a medical network and old age homes in Akita Prefecture which is 200 kilometres north-west of Sendai City which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.

How Can You Help?

The funds raised through this appeal will be used to support much needed services to older people in communities affected by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami, FOIFA Japan has direct links to the service providers in the most affected areas. The funds will provide immediate and long term support for:

Seniors organizations, displaced older people and their families with essential care and support services in addition to recovery assistance
Organizations serving older people to rebuild and supply essential long term care facilities
Help two long-term care facilities with replacement vehicles.

You can make a difference today, by providing donations directly to FOIFA Japan or through the IFA. Donate online now or download the Japan Disaster Appeal Donation Form now.

Friends of IFA Japan: by email at  inquiry-comment@foifa.or.jp or by fax at +81-18-868-6220

International Federation on Ageing: by email at gshaw@ifa-fiv.org or by fax at +1- 416-392-4157