IFA Skim | January 2018
UNHCR: Recommendations on the Rights of Older People in the Global Initiative on Refugees

Across the world, 26 million older people are affected by natural disasters every year. And in situations of forced displacement, older people are usually the last to leave or be evacuated and the last to return. 

Additionally, older people who suffer from chronic conditions that require daily medication can often see their health deteriorate rapidly if they lose access to the medicine or the caregiver responsible for assisting them with their medication, as well as the stress that fear and grief places upon the body.

In conducting research on older people in refugee situations, the NGO Committee on Ageing Geneva found that while numerous standards and guidelines exist for the protection of older people in natural disaster contexts, interagency guidelines and standards on protection of older refugees are currently very limited.

Seeking to address this disparity, the NGO Committee on Ageing Geneva has drafted key recommendations on the rights and needs of older refugees - which have been made available on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) website.

To read the full recommendations, click here.
SAGE: New HHS religious freedom exemption 'imperils' health of older LGBT people

On January 18, 2018 the United States government announced that the Department of Health and Human Services will create a new division to " more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom" - thereby allowing health care providers to delay or deny health care on the grounds of religious objection.

Responding to this announcement, SAGE CEO Michael Adams released a statement criticizing  the choice to prioritize religious freedom over an LGBT patient's right to treatment.

"Today's announcement by the Trump administration - allowing healthcare providers to deny LGBT and especially transgender patients and others critical care in the name of religion - is a horrifying next step in its coordinated effort to allow discrimination on religious grounds. Our federal government is creating a dystopian world in which it places the rights of those who discriminate over the care of people."

This new religious exemption is particularly concerning for older LGBT people, as 85 percent of non-profit long-term care providers in the United States are religiously affiliated - which is highlighted in SAGE's new report "Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions and LGBT Elder Services" which can be read here.

The rights of older LGBTQI people are a key focus of the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing. To learn more about how the Conference is seeking to address issues facing many older people in the LGBTQI community, click here.

Read the full statement from Michael Adams here

Watch a panel discussion on religious exemptions here
UNH: Aging in the Shadows

Loneliness and social isolation are becoming a pressing concern in our increasingly digital world.

Recently in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a 'minister for loneliness' to continue the work spearheaded by MP Jo Cox.

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2012, found that participants who reported feeling lonely were more likely to develop difficulties with activities of daily living - to the point that loneliness became a significant "predictor of functional decline" and even death.

With mounting concerns about the severe emotional and physical impact that loneliness can have - especially on older people - United Neighborhood Houses (UNH) has released a new report "Aging in the Shadows: An Update on Social Isolation Among Older Adults in NYC."

The report examines changing trends since the release of the first "Aging in the Shadows" report, defines isolation and its risk factors, and recommends changes to form and implement a prevention strategy.

To read the full report, click here.
"The Right of Older Persons to Dignity and Autonomy in Care"

Age discrimination, social exclusion, economic marginalisation, and exploitation and abuse are all frequent barriers to the full rights of older people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that by 2050, 25% of the population of Europe will be aged 65 years and older. With an increasingly older population, the question of the rights and autonomy of older people has come to the forefront of attention for organizations like the United Nations (UN) and the Council of Europe, who released a recommendation on the promotion of the rights of older people in 2014.

With this background in mind, Dr Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council of Europe, has released a formal human rights comment on the need for - and fundamental human right to - long-term care for older people in Europe.

To read Dr Muiznieks full statement on this pressing issue, click here.
Webinar Announcement: Ageism and Age-Based Discrimination Within LGBTQ2 Communities

The IFA - in conjunction with SAGE and Egale Canada  - is presenting the latest webinar in the series on older LGBTQ2 people on 8 February 2018 ( 12 pm EST ).

The focus of this webinar will be on ageism and age-based discrimination within the LGBTQ2 community. 

The webinar will be moderated by the IFA's Secretary General, Dr Jane Barratt and will feature Dr Brian de Vries (Professor, San Francisco State University and Adjunct Professor, Simon Fraser University) and Mx Kate Hazell (Coordinator, Older LGBTQ Community Programs, The 519) as panelists.

To register for the webinar, click here.
New Book Announcement: 
Age-friendly cities and communities: A global perspective

Bringing together leading researchers and policy-makers working to develop age-friendly cities and communities, this edited volume examines the potential of developing urban environments responsive to the needs of older people. 

The book provides numerous case studies and examples of good practice, drawing upon work in Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, and the USA. 

It highlights new approaches aimed at involving older people in the design of cities, and provides a manifesto for the age-friendly movement, focused around tackling social inequality and promoting community empowerment. 

In developing its approach, the book spans a range of disciplines including architecture, sociology, social policy, urban geography, and urban planning. 

To learn more about this new title, click here.
Dementia Advisor App for Caregivers

The IFA is pleased to announce a new series of videos by the Reitman Centre and the IFA, spotlighting the work behind the Reitman Centre's revolutionary Dementia Advisor App.

Dementia Advisor is a mobile app that helps family caregivers learn how to deal with difficult dementia behaviours and improve communication and problem-solving skills through interactive, chat-based role playing.

Dementia Advisor was developed specifically to help working caregivers cope with the stress of caring for a family member with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. 

The Dementia Advisor App recently won a prestigious Bronze award for Mobile Digital Health Resources in the Fall 2017 competition of the Digital Health Awards. Other winners include some of the world's renowned health care innovators, including Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins School of Nursing and Kaiser Permanente

To view the full series of videos, click here.
Mark Your Calendars: November is Fall Prevention Month 

Older people are valuable members of their families and communities. Falls can lead to loss of independence and even death in this group. But most falls in older adults are predictable and preventable. This reality was the impetus for the launch of Fall Prevention Month three years ago, with a goal of promoting ways to prevent falls through a concerted effort.

Why do we need Fall Prevention Month? The motto says it all "It takes a community to prevent a fall: We all have a role to play."

Fall Prevention Month is a November campaign championed by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) and partnering organizations who work with older adults and others at risk of injury due to falls. The campaign encourages organizations and individuals in Canada and beyond to come together to coordinate fall prevention efforts for a greater impact. 

If you work with or care for older adults, please consider joining the Fall Prevention Month campaign this year.
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