Older people hit hardest by flu in Europe [Guest Post]

Posted on May 12th, 2017 by Kate MacRae under Blog

Guest post by Gary Finnegan, Editor, Vaccines Today

Flu season is over for another year. Vaccines Today reported that worst-affected age group were those older 65 years of age.

One of the key reasons for this was that the dominant flu virus this year – influenza A(H2N2) – usually causes a particularly strong spike in hospitalisation of older people.

“We knew as early as week 46 [November 2016] that this would be quite a bad season for the elderly,’ says Marc Van Ranst, University of Leuven. ‘It is always the same when H3N2 is dominant.”

As the southern hemisphere prepares for flu season, experts will emphasise the need for vaccination of at-risk groups, including older people.

Wider health benefits of vaccines
Vaccines Today also posted articles highlighting the value of flu vaccination for people with chronic lung conditions and heart failure.

In addition, the Europe-based website highlighted a new video proven to improve uptake of pneumococcal vaccines; the benefits of adolescent vaccination in controlling meningitis outbreaks; and the debate on whether vaccination should be mandatory for health workers.

This series illustrates the growing attention to vaccination at all stages of life.

IBM – Combating Loneliness in the Ageing Population

Posted on May 11th, 2017 by Kate MacRae under Blog

Post written by Sheila Zinck, Advocacy and Eminence Program Manager, IBM Accessibility Research

The world’s aging population is expanding rapidly, and by 2050 more than one out of five people will be age 60 or older. A new epidemic is growing just as quickly, with 43% of people over 60 reporting that they are suffering from loneliness.

With an impact often equated to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, loneliness can have a devastating effect on both cognitive and physical health, including:

Examining this Growing Issue
To better understand the impact of loneliness on the aging population, IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) and the IBM Accessibility Research team conducted interviews with a global ecosystem of medical professionals, social workers, consumer and electronics manufacturing experts, advocacy leaders, as well as software startups and government officials for its latest study, “Loneliness and the aging population – how businesses and governments can address a looming crisis.”

The report addresses how organizations can better understand loneliness and aging, and provides recommended actions to mitigate loneliness among older adults.

To read more and to access the full report, click here

WHO / IFA Webinar on the “WHO Core Indicators of Age-Friendliness”

Posted on May 4th, 2017 by Kate MacRae under Blog

The latest WHO / IFA webinar was a great success! The second in a series of webinars in the field of AFE, the “WHO Core Indicators of Age-Friendliness” webinar was presented by Dr. Megumi Kano of the World Health Organization Centre for Health Development (Kobe Centre).

This webinar familiarized participants with the WHO guide to “Measuring the Age-Friendliness of Cities: A Guide to Core Indicators,” and underscored Dr. Kano’s knowledge of the core indicators for age-friendly cities. The webinar also encouraged contributors to ask questions and share ideas related to AFE. Handouts for the webinar can be found by clicking here. Sample questions from the webinar can be found here.

Three key messages conveyed during this webinar include:

  1. The WHO Core Indicator Guide is an important standardization tool in conceptualizing age-friendly environments as settings that can be measurably evaluated and improved upon;
  2. The WHO Core Indicator Guide is also an adaptable tool that has enough built-in flexibility to meet local needs while also having widespread efficacy;
  3. These core indicators ensure that members of the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) have a means for monitoring and evaluating their continuous development toward becoming age-friendly.

This series of webinars is a part of the IFA’s ongoing commitment to exchanging information and knowledge on age-friendly environments. The IFA continues to develop additional age-friendly initiatives such as:

To be part of ongoing developments in the IFA’s work on age-friendly, and to receive and make contributions to the upcoming age-friendly newsletter, register interest here or contact Jessica Rochman-Fowler (jrochman-fowler@ifa-fiv.org).

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