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Elder Rights: World

- Archives 2007 -




Articles in Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish


A World Tour of Older Persons Homes
Come on this World Tour to a little known place in the world to discover how older persons are living.


Background Documents

World: The Toronto Declaration on the Global Prevention of Elder Abuse (November 17, 2002)
This 2002 Toronto Declaration on elder abuse is a call for action to prevent older persons from suffering abuse. This paper points out the crucial need of a legal framework to address the issue. As violence against women or children was considered a major issue in the 80’s, today elder abuse should be viewed as a social issue of concern to everyone.

World: Ending Discrimination Against Older Women Through the Convention (July 5, 2002)
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women "urges that special attention be focused on the special needs of older women." The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women "defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination."


Africa

Background Documents

Tanzania: National Ageing Policy (September 2003)
In Africa, after Mauritius, Tanzania is the second country to have a developed policy on ageing. Older Tanzanians face many problems including poverty and inadequate health care and pensions. Elders lack any meaningful participation in the important national decision-making.
 


Reports | Article 

Reports

Africa: Population Aging in Sub-Saharan Africa: Demographic Dimensions 2006 (June 2007) 
Although the older population in most developing countries seems relatively small compared to developed countries, poor countries will experience a rapid increase in the “absolute” number of older persons. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the numbers of older persons will raise from 35 million over 60 in 2006 to over 69 million by 2030, the sheer number of older persons grows more rapidly than in developed countries. This report looks at age groups 50-80 and focuses in particular on the effects of HIV/AIDS on population aging. 

Mozambique: NGO Thematic Shadow Report on Older Women’s Rights in Mozambique (April 2007)
Bridget Sleap, along with colleagues in the HelpAge International Office in Mozambique and others, prepared a groundbreaking report on the situation of older Mozambique women in accessing their human rights. Ms. Sleap presented the report during the May 2007 meeting of the Expert Panel for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The report reveals that many women lack identification documents to prove their eligibility to access services for which they are entitled. The report also notes that both the amount and the access of social cash transfers needs to be improved. Finally, this submission documents gender-based violence against older women and the need to improve access to free health care services. The report concludes with recommendations to the Committee. 

South Africa: Time Preference and Its Relationship with Age, Health, and Longevity Expectations (April 15, 2007)
This study measured health, time preference and expected longevity on a sample of individuals in townships around Durban, South Africa in order to understand the relationship between health and the willingness to choose between smaller sooner rewards and larger later rewards or in other words, individuals’ underinvestment or investment in the future.

Articles

Zambia: An Estimated 500,000 Elderly People Face Potential Destitution by 2010 (December 24, 2007)
According to a new study, 500,000 Zambians over 60 fear destitution by the year 2010. It is not only a serious problem for a country already ravished by AIDS, but especially for the children. Zambian seniors often take care of grandchildren or orphans after parents die from AIDS. Therefore the government should carefully consider this issue and give more protection to old people who have such an important role in the country.

Namibia: Social Security Committee Brings Christmas to Elderly (December, 18, 2007)
Elderly people in two nursing homes in Namibia can feel the Christmas spirit after receiving the donated goods worth of $10,000 from the Social Security Committee (SSC). Senior citizens need some holiday cheer and the SSC sees it as a social responsibility to give back to the community and bring joy to the people who often go neglected. 

Congo: Rape, a War Weapon in Congo (November 15, 2007)
(Article in French) 
A new documentary from the German film maker Susanne Babila depicts some Congolese men living on the border of Rwanda who rape women, no matter what age. These women are 10, 30 or 70 years old and all went through the same traumatic experience. One night, soldiers entered their Congolese village, stole goods, beat the children, tortured and raped women and girls. Susanne Babila met these victims in the province hospitals. Her movie, ‘Rape, a War Weapon in Congo,’ invited the women and girls to speak out, along with the nursing staff who care and restore these patients' health. 

 

Malawi: Mutharika Stresses Need to Assist Elderly (November 8, 2007)
The president of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, is aiming to provide assistance to elderly Malawians through his Bingu Silver Grey Foundation. Reports show the elderly are in dire need of financial assistance. In addition to caring for themselves, some seniors act as caregivers for orphaned grandchildren. Mutharika organized the Bingu Silver Grey Foundation Charity Golf Tournament last week to raise funds for seniors in Malawi. 

Madagascar : Elderly People Without Rights (October 2, 2007)

(Article in French)

On the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, October 1, 2007, older people in Madagascar highlighted the general disrespect for their human rights.  Elders in Madagascar do not benefit from any special protection. They most often live in the rural areas and make up more than 5% of the population.


Democratic Republic of Congo: Stephen Lewis Calls for a New UN Initiative to End Sexual Violence in the Eastern Region of the DRC (September 13, 2007)
In one of the worst cases of gender-based violence, women in eastern region Democratic Republic of Congo live under the threat of sexual slavery and rape. NGOs have reported that young and old women, pregnant women and girls as young as six years old are being gang raped in road blockades and private homes. Some are even forced to eat excrement and the flesh of murdered relatives. Worse, some women have their genitalia injured through gunshots. Protection against sexual violence should remain a major concern in the UN. 

 

Swaziland: The Elderly Have No Time to Retire (August 28, 2007) 
"The elderly are rife for exploitation, and they are being exploited by a society that requires them to do demanding work, regardless of their age or infirmities." In many African countries older persons, especially older women, act as care givers of HIV/AIDS orphans, without sufficient support or recognition by humanitarian organizations or the government. "My grandchildren are fed, they are even well-fed,” by government or privately sponsored programs, says Granny Tsela. "But no one prepares meals for the elderly. I am at home with my little bit of porridge, if I am lucky enough to have that."

Nigeria: Marginalisation of the Elderly (August 28, 2007)
This opinion piece details how the westernization of Nigeria has eroded traditional safety nets for older persons in society. Indeed, older Nigerians experience similar issues facing older persons in Western countries: isolation, discrimination, neglect and poverty. All societies should ask themselves why we let our elderly down. 

Kenya: Grannies Who Are Unsung Heroes in the Fight Against HIV/Aids (August 24, 2007)
According to national statistics, out of a total population of 32 million, Kenya has 2.4 million orphans, of which 1.2 million are orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis. Taking up the burden of the orphans’ care are mostly their grandmothers. Although most of them are “too old to do simple domestic chores,” “they have no choice but to get up and look for food, medication and shelter.” Largely ignored by the government and aid organizations, the grandmothers are slowly receiving more recognition. While the government plans programs to improve support mechanisms, a movie, “The Grandmother’s Tribe,” detailing their plight will come to the cinemas later this year.

Uganda: Who Cares for the Aged? (August 23, 2007) 
At the age of 95, Ms. Bena Nakaz struggles in her daily life. Finding food constitutes the biggest obstacle for Ms. Nakaz. According to the 2002 national census, Uganda has 1.5 million older persons, most of whom “die in the most inhumane way due to lack of health care and basic necessities.” Most of the neglect “originates from the fading traditional social support system,” however the government only slowly adopts to the changes. Having drafted a National Policy on Older Persons, the authorities will have to move swiftly to ratify it, before more people like Ms. Nakazi live and die in poverty. 

Zimbabwe: Old and Hapless (July 2, 2007)
Zimbabwe’s seven-year economic crisis has made the elderly even more vulnerable. Their plights range from being unable to obtain necessary medicines to suffering from cold at night when the government cuts electricity supplies. Food is insufficient; residents of an elderly home survive on plain tea and two slices of bread in the morning, maize meal porridge and beans for lunch and supper. 

Nigeria: Caring for the Aged…Task Before Nigeria June 4, 2007
Nigeria’s rapidly aging society poses both challenges and opportunities for the country. As a developing nation, having inadequate resources is the primary downfall to caring for the rising aging population. While Nigerians embrace the elderly and view them as blessings, the working-age population to support the aging has declined. Like many countries, Nigeria lacks policies and agendas for the elderly population. However, in 2002, the UN organized the Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, Spain, where governments discussed policies and initiatives to address the ensuing challenges of the aging. Can the resulting Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging help Nigeria? 

Ethiopia: Country Urged Not to Forget its Elderly (April 4, 2007)
Ethiopian elders face many difficulties in sustaining their lives. During a workshop, Ms. Lizzie Nkosi, the Ethiopia HelpAge International Country Director, asserted that the government and the media ignore and neglect problems facing older persons, even leaving them out of the five year development plan. She called on media and governments to act, urging them to give greater attention to elderly.

Cameroon: Aging and Solidarity (February 27, 2007)
(Article in French)
Beyond spotlighting the elderly on occasions such as Older Persons Day or noting the tragic French heat wave of 2004 that killed many elderly, how can aging advocates ignite the interest of governments, civil society and families on aging issues? The International Congress of FIAPA gathered in Cameroon to answer this question.

Cameroon: Interview of Paulette Metang, the Executive President of the Cameroonian Association for the Welfare of Older Persons (February 6, 2007)
Paulette Metang has been working in Cameroon’s civil society sector for 12 years.  Her organization, “Civil Society of Cameroon,” coordinates that nation’s aging NGO’s. She also works with ACAMAGE, “Association Cameroonaise pour le Bien-être des Personnes Agées,” an association working for elderly and aiming to increase intergenerational links. Read this interview to learn more about Cameroonian elderly. (Also available in French)

Africa: Palliative Care in Africa (January 13, 2007)
Mary, a 7-year-old child with HIV infection, lives with her 80-year-old paraplegic grandmother in Uganda. They receive palliative care from a home-based care program. The book, “Hospice and Palliative Care in Africa,” contains plenty of such stories, presenting interviews with palliative care experts from 26 African countries showing the complexities of delivering palliative care across Africa.

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Americas & Caribbean

Background Document

Peru: National Plan for Elderly (2002-2006)

(Article in Spanish)
The National Plan for Elderly was created to lay out action steps that the government would take on aging issues in Peru. The elderly population in Peru is 7.2% and could reach 13% by 2025. This plan aims to integrate the elderly in the society, by increasing the quality and quantity of health care services, by creating policies of food assistance and by helping old people enjoy a pleasant life with their families and in society. Another National Plan objective is promoting a positive image of older persons.

Mexico: Law For Older Persons in Mexico City (Distrito Federal, México) (1999)
(Article in Spanish)
A new law for older persons in the city of Mexico (Distrito Federal de México) took effect in 1999. This law affected all persons older than 60 years old. The law’s aimed to integrate the elderly into society and to improve the quality of life. The law includes sections related to health, food, social assistance, participation, and work. 

Reports | Articles

Reports

Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006, by Age and Sex: Findings (July 2007)
This report provides a detailed overview of the age and sex data in Canada from the 2006 Census of Population. One primary finding from the Census was that the number of seniors has increased by 11.5% in the past five years, and the number of children has declined by 2.5% during the same timeframe. 

Canada: Clients Transitioning from Inpatient Rehabilitation to Continuing Care or Home (April 2007)
This Canadian Institute for Health Information analysis highlights the clinical and demographic characteristics of inpatient rehabilitation clients in the Ontario Hospital between 2004 and 2006. The study also accounts for the probabilities that inpatient rehabilitation clients will be discharged their home or to a continuing care facility. 

Canada: Seniors as Victims of Crime, 2004 and 2005 (March 2007)
According to self-reported and police reported data, seniors are less likely than the young to experience violent and property crimes. But, more (5 in 10) senior victims were victimized by a family member as compared to (4 in 10) non-senior victims. And, according to PhoneBusters, Canada’s anti-fraud call centre, seniors may be more vulnerable to telemarketing fraud. Nonetheless, seniors’ sense of personal safety has improved over the last five years.

Canada: A Portrait of Seniors in Canada: 2006 (February 2007)
This report depicts the demographic characteristics, health and wellness, living arrangements, social networks and social participation, security from crime and victimization, work patterns and related activities, income and expenditures, and lifestyles of the Canadian population aged 65 and over. The report looks at three groups of “seniors”: 65 to 74 years old, 75 to 84 and 85 and over since their life circumstances vary considerably. The last chapters are devoted to the comparison of well-being between aboriginal seniors (North American Indian, Métis or Inuit) and immigrant seniors.

Articles

Costa Rica: Families Abandon the Elderly during Christmas (December 20, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
It is surprising how many families leave older relatives in hospitals during Christmas. In fact, families failed to claim some 10 elderly people at the hospital after they had finished their treatment. Now doctors call patients’ families to remind them that it is Christmas time, a family time. They remind them that the elderly should not be mistreated. Years ago, families, including older members, would spend Christmas together; however, the older patients returned to the hospital with visible signs of mistreatment. The Hospital of Geriatrics believes that Costa Rica has no effective way to prevent the abuse of elders.

Canada: Boomers Won't Crash Health Network (November 16, 2007)
A foreseen catastrophic impact on the governmental health-care networks in Quebec once blamed on the baby boomer population now will not be the case as once thought. A study suggests that the aging population will have no greater impact on the health-care networks as it did in the 1970's. A 2005 government-commissioned report noted that at present, the taxes collected from an average of five workers subsidize the health services of one elderly Quebecer. As a caveat, however, if population trends continue, in 20 years there will be only two workers to support every Quebecer who is at least 65 years old.

Canada: A Third of Boomers Volunteer and More Plan to When They Retire (November 14, 2007)

A new survey shows that older persons are likely to volunteer when they retire. 
The Bank of Montreal has just released information showing that 34% of Canadians aged 45 to 60 volunteer and a further 38% of boomers who do not yet volunteer say they plan to when they retire. Older persons’ volunteer activities can be very useful for the entire society, as they have among others tasks, an educational role to future generations. 

Costa Rica: Adolescents Raise Their Voices in the Elderly’s Defense (October 27, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
In an important development, adolescents organized a forum on ageing. It took place at the Presidential House and included officials from the Office of Social Support of the Presidency and the National Advisory of the Older Adults, among others. The forum called on the society to respect and value the elderly. Adolescents and the elderly spoke about elderly abuse. In the first four months of 2007, some 223 elder abuse reports were filed.

Mexico: Mexican Ex-Prostitutes Find Home (October 14, 2007)
What happens to elder “retired” prostitutes? Unfortunately, they often face a tragic end of life. That’s why Carmen Munoz, herself a former prostitute, decided to do something to help. She raised money to open the world’s first retirement home for prostitutes in Mexico. 

Cuba: Cuba, the Elderly Woman and the Embargo (September 17, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
Mary McCarthy, now 107 years old, feels first-hand the embargo that the US government has placed on Cuba. Since she lives in Cuba, the US government will not allow her to transfer money she holds in the US back to the Cuba. She needs this money to go to the doctor. However, Mary has decided to stay in Cuba despite her health problems and eventually be buried next to her husband. 

Canada: Too Young to Retire, But Tired of The Same Old (October 5, 2007)
In Canada, employers are beginning to think about ways to keep seniors at work in companies. Indeed, they often are very useful, thanks to their experience. But many want to take an early retirement. Companies such as Merck Frosst, Home Depot Inc., Direct Energy and Royal Bank of Canada have started programs to retain employees over 50 years, that permit their taking longer vacations and other workplace innovations.

Canada: Neglect of Aged an ‘Outrage’ (October 4, 2007)
The Ontario Federation of Labor sent letters to all major party leaders concluding that most nursing homes in the province violate laws, regulations and binding contractual obligations that require long-term care to keep patients clean and dignified. One major violation is the 75 per cent rule, whereby a diaper is changed only after it is three-quarters full of urine. Nurses who violated this rule by changing diapers more regularly were disciplined, and those who obeyed were given free pizzas. 


Colombia: On Average Fifteen Older Persons Find Themselves Abandoned Daily (September 17, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)

In Colombia many families must or choose to abandon their older members. Colombians have very few financial or other resources to care for their family members. Faced with this immediate problem, they tend to abandon the elders while they are sleeping. Plus, some older persons suffering from depression or Alzheimer-like symptoms leave their families and home and forget where they live. The national government has set up some centers for abandoned elderly to give them temporary housing, but such facilities are extremely limited, leaving many needy older people living on the streets. 

Colombia: Medellin Citizens Become Young Again in the Television Show “Who Said We Were Old” ? (September 17, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
“We are not old,” explained Felix Tabares and Estela Pinto, two hosts of the TV Show “Who Said We Were Old?” airing in Colombia. The show intends to inspire older people to feel young again by challenging them to do daring physical activities such as mountain climbing, paintball, and rappelling. The hosts, who live off their pensions, believe that they are young spirits trapped in old bodies but they do not feel limited to enjoy life’s adventures.

Canada: Sen. LaBreton Highlights Seniors Wellness Fair (September 14, 2007)
Canadian Senator Marjory Lebreton, the federal Secretary of State for Seniors, has had a long political career. Most recently, in a visit to a Seniors Wellness and Information Fair in Canada, she focused in on elder abuse. She pointed out that different kinds of abuse exist, financial and physical, and isolation. She will propose “safe houses” for older persons and defend efforts for seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible.

Mexico: The Debit Card for Senior Citizens (September 10, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
In Mexico, the Institute for Senior Citizens now provides a debit card for senior citizens who are seventy years and older. Beginning October 1, 2007, seniors can use this new card to pay their electric, telephone, and energy bills, as well as most of their daily shopping, including groceries. This new and easier way to shop has the potential to affect the 420,000 senior citizens eligible for the new card, opening a new market for many small businesses. The Institute for Senior Citizens has made it a priority to inform those eligible of the new services. 

Barbados: 432 Sign Petition against Elderly Abuse (September 5, 2007)
As part of the Month of the Elderly, the Barbados National Assistance Board kicked off a signature campaign against elderly abuse. The campaign aims to build support for a legal framework protecting older persons against abuse. While there are legal protection measures for children and persons with disabilities, there is “absolutely nothing for elderly persons within Barbados.”

Ecuador: Seniors Creates New Enterprises (September 4, 2007)
(Article in Spanish) 
As the Ecuadorian elderly population grows, many different enterprises focusing on their needs expand as well. In 1985 the elderly made up 4% of the population but today represent over 5.7% of the population. By 2050 there will be as many seniors as teenagers and children. Nursing homes for older persons are going up. People can choose a home according to their economic situation, illnesses, or other requirements. The Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion has registered 300 organizations specifically providing services for the elderly; many others are not registered. Organizations such as gerontology centers, retiree associations, drug companies and health care organizations stand to benefit from the growth in older persons’ needs.

Mexico: The World’s Top Retirement Havens in 2007 (September 1, 2007)
And the winner is…Mexico. Goods and services in Mexico cost less, so retirees can afford the kinds of luxuries only the very wealthy enjoy up north, and its healthcare system is first rate. Ecuador came in second place followed by Italy, where similar social benefits for retirees are found. As the article advises, one of the simplest ways to improve your retirement lifestyle is to choose the retirement destination offering you more of what you want at the best price. 

Cuba: The Program “Yes I Can” Extends Its Reach (August 28, 2007)

(Article in Spanish) 
The Program “Yes I Can,” which has been implemented by governments in 22 countries, 15 of them in Latin America, shows great advances. The small community of El Naranjo in Guatemala became the first community free of illiteracy in this country. Elderly residents and children alike benefited from this program. “Yes I Can” is presented via television and is adapted in every country based on their particular culture, language and way of speaking. The program uses expert professionals in adult education who are prepared to teach in various languages. In countries like Haiti and Venezuela another program called “Yes I Can Continue” carries on the original program, providing adults a basic education that places them in a 6th grade level and opens the door for them to get a superior education. 

Mexico: The Elderly March to Reclaim Their Rights” (August 27, 2007)
A large group of older people of the third age decided to march to the center of Juárez to demand better health services, work opportunities and retirement homes for the elderly. The organization “Epoca de Oro” (Golden Age) organized this march to protest against the injustices and the neglect that older persons suffer. The organization is concerned that the government exaggerates how well off older persons are rather than state the facts. For example, Golden Age has found that only 30% of older people in Juárez have any kind of health care; most suffer a high level of mistreatment from both society and their families. 

Bolivia: The Rights of the Elderly are Still Not Being Followed (August 27, 2007)
Some 500 senior united in Cochabamba to celebrate Older Persons Day with music, dancing and theater. Along with the celebration, the elderly and their supporting organizations advocated for the rights of the people of the third age. Most old people from this region work the land at very advanced ages because they are not eligible for pensions from the State. Older persons demanded reductions in the price of electricity, water and transportation so that there lives could be slightly improved.

Canada: Canadian Seniors Are All Right (July 25, 2007)
The vast majority of Canadians believe that the over-65 population is a valuable component of society and that their communities respect the elderly, according to a recent poll. Sixty percent of poll respondents, in fact, reported having significant interaction with a person over 65 in the previous week. Most Canadians were skeptical that the Canada Pension Plan and healthcare system will adequately support seniors. But the good news is that Canadians are recognizing that with age comes “a certain panache, a certain wisdom,” and that older persons still make valuable contributions to society.

Peru: Seeking: Successful Señor Citizens  (July 23, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
In Peru , the “Asociación Adulto Feliz” and the “Prima AFP” organizations award prizes to senior citizens over the age of sixty who are positive contributors to society.  These groups seek to change social stereotypes of old age by rewarding the elderly for their accomplishments and promoting the reality that old age is a productive time of life similar to youth.  

Bolivia: Social pensions, older people were cheated (June 28, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
The writer describes how schemers cheat older people out of their social pensions in Bolivia. In one scam, persons carried fake identification papers and passed through the registration process and received the social pension. Other scam artists recruit old, poor and illiterate persons to apply for the social pension and rob them as soon as they receive the money. In another case, a daughter cheated her mother by forcing her to apply for the pension and then robbed her. Law officials are investigating to learn if there is an organized network involved in this terrible scam operation. Of course, this cheating and robbery undermines public confidence in the efficacy of the social pension administration system in Bolivia. 

Argentina: Demand for Programs to Confront Elder Abuse on the World Abuse Awareness Day (June 16, 2007)

(Article in Spanish) 
On June 15, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the National Institute against the Discrimination (INDI) demanded an end to age discrimination and inadequate health treatment, as well as a change in the negative image of the elderly. In the city of Buenos Aires, some 700,000 men and women are older than 60 years. Although around 1,200 official reports of violence are filed every year, only 1 of 5 go to court for judgment. According to a Pan-American Organization of Health study, each year 1.6 million people become blind or are hurt as a result of a violent act, sometimes self-inflicted.

Argentina: Older Persons Go to the University (31 May, 2007)

(Article in Spanish)
In Argentina there are a lot of university programs for the elderly. Inspired by the example of Toulouse, France, that created a University for the Elderly in 1973, Argentineans now have 20,000 older persons registered in such programs. On one hand, the programs change the image of ageing regarding this time as a moment in life with possibilities to continue learning. On the other hand, the programs depend on Extension Services of the university that have very limited budgets. The author argues that elder programs should be integrated as a regular part of the universities so that they do not suffer budget cuts. 

Brazil: An Unflattering Portrait: Half of Brazilians Seniors Are Illiterate (May 9, 2007)

According to a recent report on urban senior citizens in Brazil, 49% of them are illiterate and some of them do not even know how to write their own names. Despite this incredibly high figure, no public policy is in place to deal with the problem. Research from this report also covers large-scale age-related prejudices such as psychological or physical violence and humiliation. 

Argentina: Two Bills go to Congress and a Phone Help-Line to End Violence Abuse (May 2, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
The National Government of the city of Buenos Aires will send a bill to Congress to require that family violence be considered as a violation of Argentine Human Rights. At present, family violence includes violence against children, conjugal violence, violence against older people, and violence against people with disabilities. The government also wants to submit another bill prohibiting trafficking of children. The city of Buenos Aires has a new phone line (137) that receives phone calls from people who suffer any form of violent abuse. One psychologist, a social worker, and two policemen go to the location where the violence has taken place. This is one of the first steps to end violence abuse that has many victims, old and young.

Cuba: Getting Old in Cuba (April 24, 2007)
This article gathers testimonies about older persons and their families in Cuba. Although the Cuban government provides an efficient, free health care system, older persons suffer from the housing shortage and from the lack of assisted-living facilities where they could spend their last years. Families and neighbors have to step in, which is not perceived as a sacrifice since “Cubans have a highly developed sense of community and voluntarily pitch in to help each other,” according to sociologist Cuban Diaz Tenorio. Average life expectancy in Cuba is 77.08 years. Fidel Castro's personal physician, Dr. Eugenio Selman, heads the "120 Years Club," designed to promote longevity among the population. 

Mexico: Mexico Army Chief Faces Lawmakers Over Alleged Rape (April 20, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
The Mexican army has been charged with covering up a rape case in which army officers have been accused of raping an elderly woman and then killing her. The woman, aged 73, was found dead a few hundred meters from a military base last February. The victim’s family stated that just before her death, the victim had told them that she had been raped by a group of soldiers. Tests show that she died as a result of wounds she incurred while she was raped. President Felipe Calderon has stated that the elderly woman died of natural causes.

Argentina: A Safe Home without Barriers (April 11, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
The “Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina” (AMIA), that promotes the well being and development Jewish life in Argentina, opened a new elderly home called “LeDor VaDor” in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March, 2007. Before building “LeDor VaDor,” the organizers traveled to the United States and visited many residences for older persons.. 
Now that the facility has opened, everyone notices that many geriatricians work there, a major contrast with other Argentinean nursing homes. The organizers wanted poor old people to live in a high quality place.

Chile: Keys to Face Fear of Aging (April 9, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
Solidarity, diseases and reduced income are some of the biggest fears people face after they become 50 years old. Dr. Vaillant from Harvard explains that it is important to adapt to the principle of changing what can be changed, accepting what cannot be changed, and knowing the difference. This article is divided into subsections with guidelines about how to overcome common fears. 

Argentina: Around 150,000 Retired People Continue to Live in Poverty (April 8, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
According to a study from the Institute for the Social Development of Argentina conducted in 300,000 homes that includes an older person, researchers found that few elderly receive any pension or retirement funds. In about 150,000 homes at least one older person lives in poverty. Although the government decided to give a pension to people who didn’t pay sufficiently into the social insurance system while in the workforce, the payment of AR$250 (USD$50) per month is not enough to survive in a country with high inflation rates.

Chile: Two Billion Pesos Available for Elderly-Related Projects (April 7, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
Post-retirement elderly persons do not want to sit around with their arms crossed, waiting to develop diseases and eventually die. Instead, they want to continue being active. Living in a society where their labor contribution is not wildly welcome and where their pension income often is not enough to cover their everyday expenses, remaining active is a challenge. In response to elderly persons’ wanting to be active, the Chilean government offers 2 billion pesos to different elderly-based projects or activities, ranging from recording folklore stories to recreational activities. 

Argentina: Crime Wave Against Elderly Persons (March to April 2007)

(Articles in Spanish)
Here are four articles with terrifying details about on-going crimes against helpless older persons in Buenos Aires. Citizens have noted this ongoing crime wave against older persons. Has poverty reached such levels that children and others rob for economic gain? What are the Argentine government and police doing to stop these assaults? What preventive measures can protect elderly persons from this kind of brutality?

Chile: Deterioration of the Quality of Life (April 3, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
With the new pubic transportation, Transantiago, everyday life has changed drastically. Although it is a bit cheaper and makes a lot less noise, the system is widely unpopular. Most people complain about its unpunctuality and the traffic congestion it causes. In addition to these problems, elderly persons face a big and serious obstacle—immobility. The Transantiago system forces them to walk long distances, and many times they are faced with buses and metros too full to travel safely. Thus the elderly population prefers the older transportation system, in spite of its danger, loud noises, lack of comfort, and conductors’ ill treatment towards the passengers; at least the older transportation system allowed them to move around the city and remain active.

Argentina: Proofs of No Authorization from Patients (March 28, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
A federal investigation is underway in Argentina to discover whether doctors tested new antibiotics on elderly persons without their authorization. A proof of consent is accepted if it is done in writing. The investigation shows that there are doctors who received payments of $40,000 from a North American laboratory to test the antibiotics called tigecyclin on elderly persons. Unfortunately, there is no explicit law that regulates how a clinical trial is to be operated.

Paraguay: A New Law for Older Persons (March 19, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
A new law for older persons in Paraguay took effect in March 2007. The law has a clause creating the General Direction of Older Persons, which is responsible for developing programs that protect older persons, and particularly protecting the poorest of the poor. Last year a group of old people paid a monthly fee to a company that promised to give them a pension. But the company was fraudulent and the company lied to the older persons. Some 500,000 old people live in Paraguay. Only 110,000 have any income and the rest, some 390,000, suffer from poverty and extreme need. 

Colombia:
Aging with Dignity and Happiness (February 23, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
One day, you wake up and realize that you are past 60 years old—what a strange sensation! While it is normal for people over the age of 60 to start thinking that their lives are about to end, it is just fear and anxiety taking over logic. While it is true that as people age, they will start to experience changes in their physical and mental senses. However, necessary and easy precautions can slow down the process. This article includes a list of 10 effective strategies to age with dignity and happiness.

Bolivia: A Battle between an Elderly Man and an Anaconda
(February 19, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
A David and Goliath story: Eight-year-old Mateus would have made a satisfying lunch for an anaconda if it had not been for his grandfather, Joaquim Pereira. The five-meter (over 16 feet long) anaconda trapped Mateus while he was playing with his friend in a rural area. His grandfather came to Mateus’s rescue as the anaconda was placing its jaw on the boy’s chest. He battled with the anaconda for almost 30 minutes before he succeeded in breaking its grip on the boy.

Argentina: An Elderly Man Beaten to Death for Theft (January 29, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
Buenos Aires witnessed a third murder of an elderly person in one week alone. The latest took place in broad daylight, at 10 in the morning. The thief beat and robbed an 80-year-old elderly while he was shopping. Yet still alive, he walked about 100 meters before he had a cardiovascular arrest and died. The first two equally brutal murders took place in the victims’ homes. The city has a history of violence towards elderly persons.

Chile: Government Launches Guide of Social Rights (January 23, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)

The Chilean government published the Guide of Social Rights that seeks to keep citizens informed of their rights and the resources available. The revolution in social protection in Chile will be assured when the System for Social Protection is launched in 2010. This plan will protect every person at every life stage, by providing benefits and subsidies to those in need.  The recently published guide serves to inform the masses, but also to emphasize Blanchete’s firm belief that public services are a right of the people, rather than a favor provided by the state. Consequently, every person in need requires optimal assistance.  The published guide covers nine essential social rights: education, health, labor, social security, shelter and adequate living conditions, justice, dignity and fair treatment, culture, and the right to a better quality of life and social integration.   

Argentina: An Elderly Woman Was Robbed and Beaten Up in La Plata (January 9, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
Ms. Ramos, 84 years old, went to the bank to withdraw 4,700 pesos (US$1,525) of her pension. Soon after Ms. Ramos returned  to her house, two men attacked her, beat her and took all of her money. This is not the first attack against elderly. They often tend to withdraw all of their money and save it in cash at home. Thieves find older people an easy target--they are easy to attack and likely have a good amount of money on them.

Chile: The Younger Chileans Stereotype the Old People (August 21, 2006)
(Article in Spanish)
The University of Chile surveyed young people to see the image that they had of older persons. The results were very negative. Young people see old people as dependent (47%), sickly (38%), fragile (42%), and sexually inactive (50%). In Chile around 65 percent of the older population is independent, and only 4% depend on their relatives for health and income. It is very important to change the image of the elderly: stereotypes and prejudices can become a reality.

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Asia Pacific

Background Documents

India: National Policy for Older Person (1999)
The Indian National Policy on older persons attempts to assure the well-being of older Indians as well as to value an age integrated society. Against that background, the national policy is based on principles of financial security, health care, shelter, and welfare, among others.


Reports | Articles

Reports

Report: 6,500 More Aged Care Places for Older Australians (December 20, 2007)
The Australian government will allocate $40.5 million to aged care providers to help them build and improve aged care services. Moreover, 6,525 new aged care beds will come on line to meet the needs of providers in Australia’s undersupplied regions. The government says it is committed to reform the existing aged care system. 

India: Is Caring for Elders an Act of Altruism? (23-25 October, 2007)
The study analyzes the readiness of younger siblings to support older ones and examines their degree of motivation and altruism in looking after their parents. The researchers surveyed 1000 households (slum dwellers, high-income, non-military civilian and middle- to low-income households) with elderly co-residents in Delhi, India. The findings reveal the primary role of socio-religious and moral factors in motivating siblings to support the old. However, siblings in higher age brackets tend to consider parental care as a financial burden. The researchers suggest that faith leaders and educators should take an active part in strengthening the ties between the generations.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s 65+ Population: A Statistical Volume (October 2007)
The population of New Zealand is aging and this change will profoundly affect policy making and planning at national, regional and local levels. This report, largely structured around key social well-being domains and demographic features, focuses on culture and identity, health, housing, migration, safety and security, and social connectedness, and it draws data from social surveys, demographic projections, and administrative data. 

China/US: What College Students Know about Older Adults: A Cross-Cultural Qualitative Study (October 2007)
This study asks 227 college students from Illinois, US, and Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) about their perception of being old. The US students’ answers were consistently more individualistic, focused on freedom and the personal (personal knowledge accumulated over a life course, the personal aging or dying experience) whereas the PRC students’ answers were relationship-oriented and focused on interconnectedness (filial children, fear of abandonment, caring for grandchildren, contributing to society). For better intergenerational understanding, the writers recommend that intergenerational programming and age-mixed activities should be created and expanded.

Hong Kong: Evaluating the Curricula for Entry-Level Care Professionals in Aging-Related Fields (October 2007)
How do students in medical and nursing studies as well as social work alumni evaluate the undergraduate programs offered at the University of Hong Kong? What are the potential areas for developing effective curricula for entry-level care professionals? The answers pointed toward including aging-related knowledge and skills in undergraduate programs since this is essential information for competent practitioners. The authors urge collaborative teaching among gerontologists/geriatricians and general human service educators along with “hands-on training in aging programs and services in various settings.” 

China: Health and Health Care of the Older Population in Urban and Rural China: 2000 (September 2007)
China, home to the largest older population in the world, will age much faster than Western countries in the near future. This report presents a descriptive analysis of the health status and health care of China’s older population in 2000. It looks at older people’s activity limitations, self assessed health, chronic disease status, lifestyle behavior and mental health. This report also examines how China’s elders use health care services.

Australia: Older Women’s Fears of Violence: The Need for Interventions that Enable Active Ageing (September 2007)
This author investigates older, low-income Australian women’s perceptions of fear and their expressed need to learn to protect themselves against violence. It finds that as women become older, fears concerning their vulnerability in areas such as limited finances, lack of transport, inability to maintain home protection, or mistrust of others, increase. This study suggests that “media has the capacity to educate and inform about protective measures, although it may negatively impact on older perceptions of violence.”

Australia: Perceptions of Elder Abuse among Australian Older Adults and General Practitioners (September 3, 2007) 

This report investigates and compares perceptions of elder abuse by general practitioners (GPs) and older people. The results suggest that GPs tend to view all types of abuse scenarios as less severe when compared to the groups of older adults. In addition, “caregivers saw scenarios as less severe than other groups of older people.” 

Australia: Does Gradual Retirement Have Better Outcomes Than Abrupt Retirement? Results from an Australian Panel Study (August 29, 2007)

According to this report, “retiring gradually allows time for people to make changes to their lifestyle.” Having control over the timing and manner of leaving work has an even greater positive impact on psychological and social well-being. “Policies and employment practices that promote employees’ control of their retirement decisions will enhance wellbeing in later life and facilitate longer workforce participation.”

Vietnam: The Relationship Between Old Age and Poverty in Viet Nam (August 22, 2007)
This United Nations Development Programme report suggests that the Vietnamese older population as a group are able to command resources to ensure their welfare if they continue to be economically active, share pooled resources in a household with others and provide other forms of active participation such as housework or child care, receive private inter-household or public transfers, or rely on personal lifetime investment in savings or private pension provision. This, unfortunately, is difficult to achieve and the reality is “that many elderly are poor and the presence of elderly people increases the incidence of poverty.”

New Zealand: Positive Ageing Indicators 2007 (August 2007)
Positive Ageing Indicators 2007 provides a picture of older people’s quality of life in the areas of income, health, housing, transport, and access to facilities and services. It also examines levels of cultural engagement among older Māori, attitudes to ageing and older people, older people living in the community, and their employment and opportunities. These indicators will help to identify key issues for older New Zealanders and areas where action is needed.

Report: Japan: Older Workers: Lessons from Japan (June 2007)
As the baby boomers reach traditional retirement ages, US policymakers may wish to encourage longer worklives. The report examines the example of Japan, where more than 30% of the elderly continue to work after the official retirement age, making it rank first among major industrial nations in terms of labor force participation rates. As of 2005, the United States ranked second with a rate of 25.6 percent. While more than 60% of Japanese workers cited economic considerations as the reason for remaining employed after 65, the Japanese government also encourages longer worklives by promoting self-employment opportunities.

Report: Baby Boomers – Doing it for Themselves (March 2007)
Five years of strong economic growth and extensive publicity about the need to “work longer, save harder” have resulted in more Australian baby boomers finding and keeping jobs. In addition, there have been some striking increases in labor force participation rates by older baby boomers. Yet it is still apparent that many baby boomers are retiring early, with debt hanging over their heads. The average debt for all baby boomer households is an estimated $59,000 in 2004, with 73 per cent of the entire group recording some debt. The good news is that boomers are managing to reduce their debt levels as they approach the official retirement age.

Report: Korea: The Aging of Korea: Demographics and Retirement Policy in the Land of the Morning Calm (March 2007)
Korea is a unique example in the global aging situation. Unlike Japan, the United States, and Europe, Korea is still in the midst of modernization; and unlike China, Korea already has a high-income society. Despite the breathtaking economic growth of recent decades, Korea remains a traditional society. Tradition requires the Koreans to retire early, the women to stop working when they get married and the family to take care of their older relatives. Consequently the National Pension System doesn’t target the elderly who face “modern” problems such as dependency and isolation. The report proposes to move to a universal flat benefit system, and to combine it with a mandatory funded system; this would encourage much higher rates of participation, especially from the new generation.

Asia: Aging in Asia and Oceania (March 2007)
Last year AARP commissioned a survey designed to increase their knowledge of aging issues and attitudes in key Asian markets. Researchers compared US and Asian societies and their policies toward aging. The report examines the different ways in which societies address retirement security and quality of life issues in old age, and attitudes toward older people and their place in society.

Report: Australia: Security and Protection Legislation for Aged Care (February 2007)
In Australia, the House of Representatives is going to give new legislative protection to aged care residents, including compulsory reporting of abuse. This Aged Care Amendment Bill 2007 appears to be a major step forward in monitoring the care of older persons in institutions.

 

Articles


China: Elderly Survey in Harbin: 65% Elderly Want to Stay at Nursing Homes (December 26, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In the city of Harbin, an Elderly Status Survey conducted July to October 2007 showed that 92% of older people are satisfied with their material life, while 55% want further improvement in their spiritual life. Among the older people interviewed, 62% are having health problems and 65% of seniors over 70 years would like nursing home care. The survey also revealed that up to 78.6% of older people are lonely, either because their children are busy at work or because they live alone. 

China: How Are Older People in China Living Now? (December 25, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
The “National Elderly Population Survey” conducted this year with over-60 older people in China has shown how they are living their lives are now. Older people’s lives throughout China have improved when compared to results from the 2000 survey. Pension and personal income increased remarkably; health insurance is improved; social welfare is further enhanced. The living environment is getting better. However, the number of lonely elderly also increased and seniors’ feelings about spiritual life remain unchanged.

China: A Difficult Yet Urgent Task (December 20, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
According to the UN’s standard, China became an aging society as early as seven years ago. The over-60 population in China has reached 145 million, accounting for 11% of total population. The low birthrate, the widespread one-child family pattern, flows of migration, and the changing life style of the elderly are contributing to the increase of lonely elderly. Beginning in 2025, China will enter a fast aging period. The 12-year time window for setting up and perfecting a social security mechanism is not very long. Elder care is not just about people’s well-being, but also impacts the country’s politics, economy, society and spiritual life.

China: Elderly Survey in China: Half of The Elderly are Lonely in Old Age (December 17, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
By the end of 2006, the over-60 population in China reached 149 million, accounting for 21.4% of the world’s elderly. At the same time, the percentage of over-60 persons is increasing at a rate as high as 3.2% annually. More and more older Chinese no longer expect care from their children, but rather rely on social pension schemes. According to the “National Elderly Population Survey” released by National Elderly Committee, 50.3% of older persons have joined pension schemes. The survey also shows that the number of “lonely elderly” is about half (49.7%) of all old people At present, the development of elder care services in the country is not meeting the strong demand from aged citizens.

China: Ageing 'Threatens China Economy' (December 18, 2007)
China recently emerged as the world’s third economic power after the US and Japan. Its low cost labor has made the economy grow. But what will happen when the current labor force reaches old age? China is not prepared, the author says. The challenge of migration from rural areas to cities for jobs has left older people behind in the countryside with few pensions or relatives to help them. How will China’s government deal with this emerging critical need?

China: Elderly Becoming Increasingly Isolated (December 18, 2007)
Everyday, more and more of China's elderly seem to live in isolation, refusing to socialize and haunted by loneliness. More ominously, a survey found that about 2.6 percent of elderly people in urban areas and 4.9 percent in rural areas have thought about committing suicide. The Deputy Director of the China National Committee on Aging (CNCA) office stated that older persons desperately need care and consultation for their psychological problems. Intergenerational socializing and family involvement is vital for maintaining the happiness of the aged population of China today. 

Japan: Elder Abuse Underreported - Survey Finds Vast Majority of Mistreatment Cases Ignored (December 5, 2007)

In April 2006, the Japanese government defined abuse and stipulated caregivers' obligation to report it to municipal government authorities. A new survey shows that in most cases, caregivers don’t denounce or report? abuses. Elderly Japanese remain victims of discrimination and humiliation, such as psychological, language or physical abuse in nursing homes. The survey reports 498 cases in 2006.  

China: Member of the C.P.P.C.C: “Lonely Elderly are Enjoying Life" (December 5, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Mei Zhen Rong, a 50-year-old member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Luo Yang city – He Nan province, is concerned about care given to older persons in her region. With her principle of “inspiring everyone in the society to care for the elderly,” she coordinates 50 other retired people from Shi Hua Organization in a painting club for “lonely elderly.” Ms. Mei Zhen Rong holds painting classes every week at the club. In recent years, as more and more younger family members move away from their family homes to work or study, the number of “lonely elderly” increases daily. At this point Luo Yang city, many of the remaining older persons have joined Mei Zhen Rong’s club and found a second family. 

Japan: Japan Elderly Abuse much more than Disclosed: Media (December 4, 2007)
With 10% of the population over 75, Japan is now facing serious problems of abuse against elderly people. Government report revealed 13,000 abuse cases by family members. Meanwhile at nursing homes, nearly 500 elderly people were abused in various ways by employees. 190 cases involved psychological abuse, 130 cases involved physical abuse, and 110 others involved tying to bed or other types of restraints. These are results from a survey conducted with nursing home employees. 

New Caledonian: Older Persons Are Looking for a Home (December 4, 2007)
(Article in French)
The Caledonian Communal Center for Social Action survey of persons aged 60 to 85 years will help Caledonian local authorities to meet older peoples’ housing needs. One housing unit, the Cerisier Bleue Residence, is celebrating its 10th anniversary and seems to have found a good answer to older people’s needs: Occupants stay independent and remain in their own apartments but they can participate in collective events organized in the building.

China: Hui Ethnic Elderly: “I Can Do Business Online Now” (November 17, 2007) 
(Article in Chinese)
Mai YanHua, 74 years old Hui, lives in Ning Xia Autonomous Region. A successful food businessman, he sells his food online. In 2002, Gu Yuan city in the autonomous region of Ning Xia began an information technology project targeting rural areas. Now farmers at more than 126 rural area information technology posts do internet-based business. By doing business online, Mai YanHua increased his customers. He sells food to buyers as far as North East China and Beijing. Due to online sales, his income has doubled since 2002.

Taiwan: The Aging of Society Deserves More Attention (November 16, 2007)
Taiwan is a fast-aging society. At present, people aged 65 or older make up about 10 percent of the population; by 2025 it will increase to 20 percent in 2025. That’s why the Cabinet recently adopted a plan to assist the island's older persons. The government plans to spend US$2.7 billion over a 10-year period to provide senior citizens with various services -- including home care, free transportation, and rehabilitation -- that they need to live a healthy and comfortable life. Will these measures alone meet the needs of the elders, so often ignored by younger generation?

Japan: As Japan Ages, Prisons Adapt to Going Gray (November 3, 2007)
“There are worries that prisons could become a sort of social welfare facility for the elderly,” said Hideo Nemoto, an official at Shizuoka Prison west of Tokyo. Indeed, as Japanese society ages, family traditions and community ties break down. The 65-and-older group of incarcerated persons is the fastest growing group of prisoners in Japan. Between 2000 and 2006, the number of elderly criminals escalated by 160%, to 46,637. Prisons are facing pressure to care for elderly prisoners and taking on an enormous financial obligation. 

China: District Lets Elderly Lease out Apartments (October 31, 2007)

In a local district in China , the Putuo District Community Service Center , has begun to help older persons who want to rent their property. It helps elderly raise money to pay for accommodations in nursing homes or retirement facilities. A supervision department to oversee the project will be set up soon.

 

India: Urbanization Not Too Good for Elderly (October 26, 2007)
In urban India, wealthy elders living alone are at high risk for ‘acute loneliness,’ making them more vulnerable to ‘emotional entrapment,’ in which they are emotionally blackmailed into giving home health aides, drivers and other help their valuable assets as a sign of gratitude. As India becomes more urban, adult children and relatives may not be as readily available to care for their elderly parents and relatives, thus lonely elders are turning to outside help who may take advantage of them. It is crucial to identify acutely lonely elders living alone in urban areas and provide support through counseling.

Taiwan: Veterans’ Homes to Open Their Doors to Elderly Taiwanese (October 18, 2007)
Veterans’ homes and care centers that have catered exclusively to long-retired soldiers who came from China with the Chinese National Party army will open their doors to elderly ethnic Taiwanese. Retired soldiers tend to receive better healthcare services and pensions than the Taiwanese, but some have no need for these services. The unused resources will now be shared with the rest of the population, which can help change public perceptions about veterans “and also help ethnic groups get along with each other.”

 

China: Exploring New Models of in-Home Services for the Elderly (September 26, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Shanghai Jing’an District Committee of Aging provides comprehensive in-home services such as regular medical check-ups, meal provision, and house cleaning to qualified elderly living in the district. Since 1999, the district pioneered in exploring in-home service models in the city by establishing services such as “Elderly Daily Care Center” and “Happy Aging Home.” Such services offer in-home services ranging from daily care to psychological comfort. 

China: Report of Survey on Elderly Mentality and Attitudes in Nanjing (September 24, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In mid-September, over 500 older persons with ages ranging from 55 to 80 years, were surveyed regarding their living situations and attitudes. According to the survey, the majority of the elderly expressed their willingness to be involved in some work or social activities after retirement. However, many felt difficulties in adjusting to after-retirement life, and some expressed a sense of being lost and lonely or even angry about the changes in after-retirement life. The survey also indicates that the majority of elderly lack social or entertainment activities, and only a few elderly are able to keep their social activities at the same level when they were younger.

China: Will an Aging Population Defang China? (October 1, 2007)

China, one of the five members of the Security Council has taken on a very important role on the international scene. Today, less than 8% of China's population is 65 or older. By 2050, that proportion could rise to as high as 24%. Accorded to the author, China has to take some measures for this part of the population to continue to be a major power. 

China: Exploring new models of in-home services for the elderly (September 26, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Shanghai Jing’an District Committee of Aging provided comprehensive in-home services such as regular medical check-ups, meal provision, and house cleaning to qualified elderly living in the district. Since 1999, the district pioneered in exploring in-home service models in the city by establishing services such as “Elderly Daily Care Center” and “Happy Aging Home.” Such services provide in-home services ranging from daily care to psychological comfort. 

China: Report of survey on elderly mentality and attitudes in Nanjing (September 24, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In mid-September, over 500 older persons with ages ranging from 55 to 80 years, were surveyed regarding their living situations and attitudes. According to the survey, the majority of the elderly expressed their willingness to be involved in some work or social activities after retirement. However, many felt difficulties in adjusting to after-retirement life, and some expressed a sense of being lost and lonely or even angry about the changes in after-retirement life. The survey also indicates that the majority of elderly lack social or entertainment activities, and only a few elderly are able to keep their social activities to the same level when they were younger.

China: Showing Up in Person for ID Verification Baffles 90-year Olds Who Have Difficulty Moving Around (September 20, 2007)
According to recent regulation, retirees are required to show up in person for ID verification on a regular basis in order to prevent fraud and mistakes. However, many elderly have difficulty moving around or are bed-ridden. Recently, Mr. Su, a 94-year old, is facing such difficulties. An official said that the organizations handling the ID verification should accommodate the special situations like Mr. Su by offering options of going to retirees’ home for ID verification.

Australia: Senior’s ‘Accept Blame’ for Environmental Damage (August 30, 2007)
Senior citizens in Australia are accepting responsibility for their share of the damage to the environment. Stating that they want to leave the planet in better shape than they found it, the National Seniors Program are pressing the government to permit older Australians from 124 senior citizen branches to donate their time to help schools with environmental issues. As role models, senior citizens want the chance to teach young people the benefits of environmental responsibility. 

Pakistan: Steps Urged for the Elderly’s Welfare (September 10, 2007)
In Islamabad, the Pakistan Social Association (PSA) took up the needs of elders at a seminar, held September 9, 2007. The fact that family ties are fading and traditional and religious links are weakening, older persons suffer the most economically, socially, and psychologically. The seminar stressed helping elderly people to the level where they can contribute to the society rather than becoming a “burden” they could bring value to society. 

Japan: Robots Turn Off Senior Citizens in Aging Japan (September 20, 2007)
After a seeming boom in the production of robots as companions and helpers for older persons, newest market research shows that older persons have lost their interest. Instead of high-tech gadgets and futuristic robots, they now prefer utilitarian devices, such as height-adjustable countertops and phones with jumbo-sized keys. 

China: Showing Up in Person for ID Verification Baffles 90-year Olds Who Have Difficulty Moving Around (September 20, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
According to a recent regulation, retirees are required to show up in person for ID verification on a regular basis in order to prevent fraud and mistakes. However, many elderly have difficulty moving around or are bed-ridden. Recently, Mr. Su, a 94-year old, is facing such difficulties. An official said that the organizations handling the ID verification should accommodate the special situations like Mr. Su by offering options of going to retirees’ home for ID verification.


Japan: Respect for the Elderly (September 18, 2007)

Japan: On September 18, Japanese workers stayed home in honor of Respect the Aged Day, now in its 60th year. The average longevity in Japan is very high, 79 years for men and 85 years for women. As a result, elderly people could play a major role in society. Unfortunately, an increasing number of people over 65 years live alone, some four million. Many do not choose to live alone but circumstances have created this situation. That’s why the Asahi Shimbun newspaper has launched an appeal to all Japanese to meet each other socially and to look after the oldest. 

Japan: Percentage of Japanese Aged 65 or Older Hits New High (September 16, 2007)
Recently released Government data shows that nearly 22 percent of Japan’s population is aged 65 or older. The figures, which surpass last year’s record, show that “approximately 27.44 million people, or 21.5 percent of the country's 127.76 million population” are elderly. The government predicts that by 2055 those aged 65 and older will make up 40.5 percent of Japan's population. 

China, Hong Kong: Dementia: Six People Go Missing Every Day (September 13, 2007) 
According to research from the Chinese University, an average of six people with dementia get lost every day in Hong Kong. While this fact itself requires closer attention by the government, the real problem is that only one in four families report the disappearance to the police immediately. In Hong Kong, one can observe the transition from a traditionally close family structure to a more “Western” one, where older persons often collect “cardboard or tin cans for recycling to earn extra money.”

China: Elderly Universities Become a Popular Place Among the Retirees (September 6, 2007)
Hefei City, Anhui Province, has over 560,000 seniors aged 60 or over, accounting for 12% of the total population in the city. Many retirees enjoy financial security, but they desire a more active way of life through learning and socializing with their peers or younger generation. Due to the lack of opportunities and places for the elderly to engage in cultural and social activities, most seniors choose to go to the “elder universities,” training organizations that provide group lessons ranging from calligraphy, piano lessons, to computer applications and foreign language instruction. These elder universities are now facing a new and difficult challenge: excessive demand to enroll over the supply or number of available seats as more and more retirees join the classes. Current participants continue to register and stay on with the organization term after term.

India: Elderly Not Wary of Calling off Marriage (September 5, 2007)
The number of pensioners seeking a divorce in India is rising. Out of 2,000 cases filled at a local court, 10% were from the 40-50 age group, while 10 cases were filed by petitioners in the 50-60 and 60-70 age groups. Many divorcees are women, who stay in their marriages until their children grow up and are settled, thereby avoiding entanglement in messy divorces. 


Tunisia: A Pioneer Policy for the Promotion of Older Persons in Families and in the Society (August 2007)
(Article in French)
Like many other countries, Tunisia faces a growing number of older persons and the challenges that come with an aging population: high consumption of health services, imbalance of the pension system and new needs for social protection. The article gives an overview of the programs and financial aids that allow older persons to keep a decent purchase power and their independence. Recently President Ben Ali presented a ten-year plan to promote the protection of the elderly. Tunisia shows, here, its desire to follow MIPAA recommendations.

China: Money is Not the Issue; Elderly Need Better-Equipped Old Age Care Homes (August 31, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Both the elderly and their children expressed their concerns over the quality of facilities and amenities available in current old age care homes. The old age care homes in Nanjing mostly provide very few amenities and only simple services. They typically are not equipped with doctors or nurses and can only provide the most basic services as residential facilities for the elderly. Only a few homes have the ability of providing recovery or nursing services.

India: Indian Bid to Enforce Children's Obligation to Aging Parents (August 27, 2007)
Older persons feel the effects of the rapid change of traditional values in India the most. As many adult children move into their own housing or leave the country to seek better employment opportunities, older persons increasingly feel lonely, isolated and without sufficient funds to support themselves. India’s government drafted a law that would make it “a legal obligation for children, heirs, or relatives to provide financial assistance to senior citizens.” While the draft has several legal holes to fill, some older persons say they would not use the law against their children. Ananta Khudaskar, a frail elderly man, says: "I want my son's love and affection, not his money."

China: China's Elderly Care Conundrum (August 23, 2007)
China continues to grow as one of the world’s most powerful economic powers. However, as a result of China’s one-child policy, not enough young people are joining the work force. This increases the burden of responsibility on younger workers to care for their elder relatives and puts an enormous load on future generations. Among them is four-month-old Jie Jie. His family counts on him to "to look after all of us, mum, dad, grandpa and grandma one, grandpa and grandpa two." 

Thailand: Thailand's Aging Population (August 19, 2007)
As a result of changing economic conditions and social values in Thailand, older persons “are more likely to live alone at home, especially in rural areas where the younger generations frequently migrate” to urban dwellings. Thai families are also becoming smaller, which leaves less potential care givers for the elderly. The article’s author argues that older persons should do more to ensure that they are aging healthy, as older persons can not rely on others to take care of them. 

China: Speeding Cars Makes Crossing the Road Difficult for Older Persons (August 11, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Compared to younger persons, senior citizens often walk much slower, have mobility problems, and are therefore more accident-prone on the roads. Rapid construction in the city has brought wider roads and higher speeds, which exacerbates the difficulty of older persons with mobility problems crossing the streets. According to new transportation regulations, vehicles should slow down at the crosswalks and yield to pedestrians. 

China: 300 Older Persons in Nanjing Help Over 100 Impoverished Students (August 5, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Three years ago, Nanjing resident He Yan established a senior citizens club with the help of the media. This year, the group’s action theme is “giving thanks and giving back.” He Yan says that in his hometown, there are many talented students who will drop out of school because their family cannot afford the 300 Yuan annual tuition. So, with the help of the Shizuishan Board of Education, the senior citizen club chose 103 qualified junior and senior high school students on whom to focus their aid. Both companies and individuals in Nanjing donated to the effort, and in less than 2 hours, these 300 older persons had helped 103 impoverished students.

Australia: Great-Great-Granny Earns Masters Degree at 94 (August 2, 2007)
A 94-year-old Australian woman recently became the oldest person ever to earn a master’s degree. She entered undergraduate study at the age of 70 and decided to pursue a master’s degree in medical science in 2002 at the University of California. Despite her accomplishments, Turner maintains that she is proudest of her seven children and two stepchildren.

China: Retired Couple Establishes Seniors’ Activity Center (August 2, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Every evening, the sound of music flows out from a backyard of a house in Dongguan Villa, Xing’an Neighborhood, Anqiu City—this is the sound of over 20 elderly singing or dancing, enjoying the happiness of their retirement life. This house is the home of retired couple, Minghao Yin and Xuecai Liang, as well as the place where they established the Xi Yang Hong Seniors’ Activity Center to help the local older persons have a happier and enjoyable life.

China: 1,000 Older Persons Experience the Misery of Electricity Loss: 7 Power Outages in Half a Month (July 29, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
For days, elderly apartments in Shuangyu town in Yangyi Village in Lucheng district have repeatedly experienced power outages, greatly distressing the older persons. The Longfeng Villas currently house over 500 seniors. During the loss of electricity, the villas do not have air conditioning or fans, and some older persons even experience breathing problems. The Longfeng complex has three older persons who require ventilators to breathe, but during a power outage not only their ventilators will not start, but the villas’ emergency bells will not work either. According to a customer service representative from the electricity company, because of the energy situation in the summer in Lucheng, the company has already planned to place restrictions on the commercial use of the electricity in the Shuangyu area to guarantee enough electricity for the residents.

Bangladesh: Open Departments in Hospitals for Elderly People (July 28, 2007)
At a seminar organized by the Bangladesh Association for the Aged, speakers urged the government to “provide medicine free of cost and open separate departments in all hospitals for elderly people.” In addition, speakers advocated for programs ensuring better health services for older persons, saying that current measures are “not enough and poor elderly people are still deprived of their fundamental rights.”

Australia: Cold Snap Takes Toll on Emergency Wards (July 24, 2007)
The Royal North Shore Hospital could barely handle the overflow of emergency room patients who came with “virulent winter illnesses” due to the large number of elderly people waiting for care. According to Sydney’s health services, if the government gave proper attention to the issue of care for older persons, hospitals could avoid delays and shortages of beds. When simple health problems are addressed at local care facilities for older persons, emergency patients can receive the immediate attention they require. 

China: What’s Email? 50 Retired Forestry Workers in Cili Learn the Computer (July 20, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Not understanding how to use a computer today is almost as bad as being illiterate in the past. Therefore, older people in Cili are taking a training class provided by the Cili District Forestry Bureau to learn about basic computer operations and ask questions. Studying the computer also helps these older persons keep their minds active, meet new friends, and “stay young.”

China: China Netcom Beijing Office Offering the Elderly “Warm Line” Service (July 19, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Lift the handset without dialing any number for 5 seconds and your phone will be connected to a family member’s phone automatically. This new “warm line” service designed solely for the convenience of the elderly, started this Tuesday in a community in Beijing and established the “express calling service” for hundreds of elderly there. When elderly people have emergencies, they can just pick up the phone in order to get immediate help.

China: Scam Company Received Over 900,000 Yuan from Older Persons by Fraud (July 18, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
A company, licensed in Hangzhou by a group of people led by Changjiang Bao from Hubei province, ripped off 51 older persons for a total amount of 910,000 Yuan within a single month. They told victims that the money were used for “investing in a duck raising project” and promised them “high investment returns.” Once they got the money, they ran away. A few days ago, the Hangzhong Police arrested the group led by Changjiang Bao and Jinyan Feng.

China: More Deaths Among Older Persons Living Alone: How Can We Guarantee Their Safety? (July 11, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In modern Chinese society, older persons and their children both require their own space, a change from more traditional times when several generations would live together. As of December 31, 2006, there were 172,400 seniors living alone in Shanghai, and it is a common occurrence for these elders to die alone; for example, there was one older person who was not discovered until a week after his death. Some communities in Shanghai have installed emergency bells or emergency beepers connected to the community service center.

China: Of 970,000 Older Persons, Barely 700 Senior Citizen Cards Distributed: Why So Slow? (July 3, 2007)

(Article in Chinese)
Among Hainan province’s 970,000 older persons, only about 700 have received their senior citizen “preferential treatment” card to date. Mr. Fu, an older person from the city of Haikou, claims that he completed an application for the card in March only to learn last week that the office had not sent out his forms yet. Many cities are reporting financial problems as the main cause for the delay.

China: Haidong Holds Twentieth Elder Athletic Competition in Hualong (June 28, 2007)

(Article in Chinese)
Haidong district held its twentieth Elder Athletic Competition in Bayan, Hualong on June 25. The competition is held to improve the physical and psychological strength of older persons and encourage them to undertake physical training, in addition to developing the area’s culture.

China: Thousands in Chinese Town Protest Forced Eviction (June 23, 2007)
Thousands in China have protested the eviction of a 90-year-old elderly woman from her home. Sources say that authorities have been trying to expel her since 2004 to make way for a real-estate project. Such practices are becoming quite common in China. The protest drew some 20,000 people and yielded quite a few arrests. The woman was reportedly seen on the roof of her house defending herself with a homemade gasoline bomb.

Japan: Japanese man is world's oldest at 111: Guinness (June 19, 2007)
A 111-year-old Japanese engineer, Tomoji Tanabe, received a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records officially certifying him as the world’s oldest male. His predecessor, Emiliano, Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico, died at the age of 115 on January 24. Tanabe has repeatedly said that avoiding alcohol was a secret of his longevity.

Australia: Is This Any Way To Treat Our Elderly? (June 17, 2007)
According to the article, Australia’s most notorious criminals have healthier, more expensive meals than the country’s elderly. While about $5.70 is spent on a prisoner's meals each day, pensioners on the breadline who live at home have to budget for as little as $2 a meal.

Japan’s Elderly are Urged to Work (June 8, 2007)
The increasing presence of older adults in Japan has motivated the government to help the elderly become active in the workforce. It is vital for people to see them as “invaluable manpower instead of people who just need support and care.” A movement toward elderly employment could prevent poverty and “scandals over the payment of state pensions.” 

China: Elderly People Edged out of Tour Market (June 5, 2007)
Confronted with comparatively high costs, many travel agencies in Guangzhou, southern China, are dropping services specifically designed for older people. The director of one tour association blamed elderly people’s vulnerability to illness, as well as their tendency to spend less than younger tourists. Another company, however, said adding services for the elderly helped them boost their revenue by 80 percent.

Japanese pensioner climbs Everest, sets record (May 29, 2007)
A 71-year-old Japanese man has become the oldest person to climb Mount Everest, the Kyodo Tsusin news agency said Tuesday. KatsusukeYanagisawa said he was glad he made it, adding that the support of his friends was a great help to him. The previous record belonged to 70-year-old Takao Arayama, also from Japan.

India: Old Age and the Cold Shoulders (May 17, 2007)
The elderly population in India has roughly doubled in the last 25 years; however, their quality of life and care are declining with this rapid growth. For instance, 30 percent of the older population lives under the poverty line. Similar statistics hold true for other countries. The author points out that the UN’s Madrid International Plan of Action adopted in 2002 predicted this situation, underscoring that societies can perceive aged persons as a burden and an “inevitable threat to individual[s] today.” 

China: Shanghai Committed to its Aging Population (May 17, 2007)
More than 20% of Shanghai’s residents are now over the age of 60. By 2020, those over 60 will account for 25 to 33 percent of the city's total, while the number of younger working persons is expected to decrease. As a result of this development, the government has decided to increase spending on social security, which includes both pensions and healthcare. The municipal government has said that it will add 10,000 hospital beds for the aged each year. Currently, about 97% of Shanghai senior citizens have a pension plan.

Taiwan: The Employment of Aged Persons is a Struggle in Asia (May 15, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A recent study showed that executives in Taiwan were less prone to hire elder persons compared to their other executives in Asia. The study also found that less than 10 percent  of company executives had a concrete plan for hiring those over 50 years of age. Comparisons were made with Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Japan, and China. 48 percent of company executives in Singapore, for example, said that they have implemented strategies for the hiring of older persons. The study concludes by stating that a few Swedish companies that were surveyed did not fare well with regards to the employment of senior citizens. 

New Zealand: The Advantages of Old Age in Kiwi Workplaces (May 15, 2007)
According to a study, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of working boomers among the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The study illustrates the adaptations employers may be required to make to change demographics in the workforce.

Elderly Japanese Seen as an Important Sector in the Economy (April 15, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
After realizing that senior citizens make up a large part of the Japanese economy, companies are now focusing on developing products and services for the elderly. Some of these programs include 24-hour medical care service that is expected to generate healthy returns for companies with such initiatives.

Japan: Impoverished Refugees Flood Japanese Cities (April 30, 2007)
While it is quite unknown, poverty in Japan affects many people, young and old. According to the author, older persons are among the most vulnerable. “Japanese homeless people are, mostly, middle aged and elder. The cruel economy is especially harsh to these senior people.”

China’s Elderly Are Yet to Surf the Internet (April 25, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
China has an elderly population over 140 million coinciding with the 140 million Internet users in China. However, very few Chinese older persons use the Internet. What accounts for this? Language barriers, difficulties of inputting Chinese, and limited access to necessary hardware, equipment, etc.

China: Community activities are not just for the elderly (April 20, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Older persons make up the main participants in community activities. Interestingly, few young people participate in such activities even though such activity would enrich their lives. Many elderly say that they would love the young people to participate in community activities as well. They feel that community activities should not be left to older persons.

Brunei: Young People Urged to Take Better Care of Elderly (April 17, 2007)
Brunei launched a program entitled “Family in Caring for Senior Citizens.” It encourages young people to take care of their old parents and to provide support to senior citizens. More than a coercion program, it requires “every member of society to take responsibility for their moral obligations:” Young people are taught that the family unit has major responsibility to care for senior citizens. The government also ensures older persons’ well-being: since the Old Age Pension and Disability Act in 1954, it provides a monthly pension to them. 

China: Elderly Working After Retirement Creates More Unemployment? (April 17, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In recent years, more and more retirees want to enter the labor market. Younger job seekers worry that retirees are competing with them for jobs. Many companies show their preference for the retirees for several reasons. Hiring retirees does not require paying social security tax, a 20-30% savings on labor costs. Moreover, retirees are usually experienced workers and do not need much training. Countering the younger workers’ worries, experts from a retiree association claim that jobs taken by older workers differ from those that most younger job seekers want. Therefore the younger workers have little need to feel competitive pressures.

China: Why Do the Elderly Often Become Scam Victims? (April 12, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
China has entered an aging society with its older population comprising 10% of the total population. The elderly now face frequent scams and many have suffered economic loss. The article discusses various reasons and measures that the older persons can take to safeguard themselves from falling into these traps.

China: Add the gender perspective into the elderly women’s legal rights system (March 29, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In comparison with their male counterparts, China’s older women face many problems in securing legal protection. On average, they are worse off in terms of economic security, access to medical services, owning property as well as social integration and taking part in society. In China, around 70% of elderly women live in the rural areas where the social security system is almost non-existent. These rural elderly women face even more severe challenges than their urban counterparts. In 2007, China started to revise its “Law of Elderly Legal Rights Protection.” Experts and women’s organizations are advocating consideration of gender issues and changing laws to meet the particular issues facing older women.

China: Immigrant Elderly Hope for Transferable Benefits (March 29, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
China has based both it pensions and medical systems in a specific locality. Older persons must worry about not getting reimbursed for their medical expenses paid in other regions of the country. Elderly with chronic diseases who travel outside their home region have either to bring enough medicines with them or pay the expense themselves. During this year’s two conferences (National People’s Congress and Political Consultative Conference), many representatives proposed eliminating the restrictions on receiving pensions and reimbursing medical expenses across regions. With the fast development of China’s economy and more free movement of people among the regions, it is a necessary step to establish a medical and social security system that allows cross-regional use.

Korea: Two Koreas Hold First Reunions via Videos (March 27, 2007)
Since the division of the Korean peninsula in 1945 and the 1950-1953 Korean war, millions of families have been separated. Currently, virtual visits take place between the separated families via a fiber-optic video cable. This Red Cross initiative permits families to reunite families’ members via a television screen. It helps answer the urgency for older persons to see their relatives before dying. In the past decade, about 32,000 South Koreans died without seeing long- lost relatives from the North.

China: An Aging Society Needs Apartments For the Elderly (March 22, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
During the 5th session of the 10th Political Consultative Conference, Guo Songhai, the national commissar of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference submitted a proposal regarding apartments for the elderly. According to the proposal, building elderly apartments is one way to supplement the traditional family-support model of elderly care. While many cities already have many elderly apartments which are very popular among the elderly, there still remain many issues including demand for elderly apartments exceeding supply, and insufficient support from the governments at various levels to construct such elderly apartments.

India: Indian elderly cared well by their families and governments (March 21, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
According to this author, the elderly in India are very well respected and cared throughout the society. They enjoy preferential treatment including a government-funded stipend, various discounts at public parks, and seating on public transportation. Many Indian families still have three or four generations living together and the elderly are always the most respected ones in the family. To ensure income security for the elderly, India passed into law “National Policy for the Elderly” which protects the legal rights of the elderly.

Asia: Improve the Retirees’ Life and Create Opportunities for the Elderly in Asia (March 15, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
AARP, an American organization that services persons over age 50, with the help from two Japanese organizations, held a conference in Tokyo in February this year. The conference focused on ways to improve retirees’ lives and how to create opportunities for the elderly in Asia. Representatives from various countries including China, India, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and US attended this conference. They discussed how to utilize the huge untapped human resources among the retirees, how to help the elderly better integrate into the communities, and the proper function and role of the elderly in the family.

Asia: Age and Population: Older, healthier, happier, but poorer (March 14, 2007)
Asian elderly live longer and healthier than in other parts of the world. Nonetheless, many Japanese believe the country has an adverse demographic profile, fearing that the elder population will weigh down national economic growth. Other countries - like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore – appear less pessimistic. Older people are seen as helpful, contributing members of society, wise and also perceived as consumers. Meanwhile, the financial community sees the elderly as an easy target. For example, “bankers see a huge opportunity and are engaged in a race to create products that enable investors to place bets or hedge risks on longevity risk."

Japan: Japanese Nursing Home Kept Man in Cage (February 20, 2007)
Older people are facing some shocking abuses in unlicensed nursing home according to this Japanese report. Government approved facilities have grown too expensive for many Japanese. Families and older persons increasingly use the growing number of unregulated nursing homes where severe abuse takes place.

China: Immigrant Elderly Adapt to the Life in Shenzhen (February 13, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Shenzhen is a city that receives a large number of immigrant workers from other parts of China. In recent years, parents of these immigrant workers started to moved into Shenzhen as well so that the family can stay together. Although facing a new environment, many elderly chose to actively adapt to the life in Shenzhen by making friends, helping out with the neighbors, and picking up hobbies—they successfully found a new way of life in Shenzhen.

China : Elderly Getting Remarried in Shanghai (January 31, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In recent years, the Chinese public has given a lot of attention the issue of older persons who re-marry.  A recent survey of the elderly in Shanghai indicates that personal property management and different living habits have become the two most important hindrances for older persons getting remarried.

Japan Adapts to the Oldest Population in the World (January 11, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
In 2050, elderly persons will make up more than a third of the total Japanese population. Japan is a land with a low birthrate, long life and almost no immigration. Therefore the country needs to prepare itself for a very different society. Food companies are creating “chewing-friendly food” that are nutritious and in packages that are easier for elderly persons to open. Travel agencies see a future with this older population because they “lived to work” with almost no vacation and now have large savings and time. Contractors for new homes are adapting their designs to the needs of elderly persons. Perhaps the rest of the world should follow Japan ’s steps

Japan: Japan to Upgrade Care of Elderly Inmates (January 9, 2007)
Japan’s aging society raises concerns about the financial, welfare and living condition issues, in particular those in prisons. At present, elderly prisoners make up to 12 percent of total inmates in Japan. Many require assistance in caring for themselves. In order to relieve the burden on prison personnel, the Ministry of Justice plans to invest about $76 million in renovating 75 prisons nationwide to include facilities such as elevators, handrails and wheelchair ramps. If successful, the government will expand the program. 

Hong Kong: Elder University Proposed for Hong Kong (January 7, 2007)

In response to China’s growing number of senior citizens in Hong Kong, Chinese government cabinet member, Leong Che-hung, suggested establishing a university for them. This would give Chinese senior citizens a chance to earn degrees they did not get when they were younger. Research has shown that an active mind helps maintain an elderly person’s wellbeing. A university for older persons is a good way to keep active and healthy. It is a possible indirect approach to the pension and low birthrates issues.

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Europe and Central Asia

Background Documents

Serbia: National Strategy on Ageing (2006-2015)
Serbia has adopted a strategy on aging for the period up to 2015. The strategy encourages the development of a society for all ages where stakeholders as well as the citizenry give attention to the needs and contributions of older persons. The Serbian population is one of the oldest populations in the world, numbering 1.2 million individuals, a sixth of the population.
 


Reports | Articles

Reports

United Kingdom: Public Perceptions of the Neglect and Mistreatment of Older People: Findings of a United Kingdom Survey (November 2007)
How does the public understand the extent of elder abuse in the United Kingdom? Key findings “are that older people believed that there is less neglect and mistreatment of older people than younger people, that women perceived more than men, and that there were regional variations in these perceptions,” and the “most frequently reported locations of abuse were care homes and hospitals, and the most commonly reported form was inadequate or insufficient personal care.” But the reader wonders about the facts of the matter, i.e., how much elder abuse do older people endure and how will it be stopped. 

Czech Republic and Slovakia: Transition from Work to Retirement in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (November 2007)
What are the differences in the participation of older persons in the labor markets of two new Member States of the European Union - the Czech Republic and Slovakia? After the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the two countries took different directions on employing old people. In Slovakia the indicators of employment and productivity moved ahead as a consequence of the pension system and other changes. In the Czech Republic we see not only an increased number of older employed persons, but also workers leaving the labor market too early. 

United Kingdom: Working Beyond the State Pension Age in the United Kingdom: the Role of Working Time Flexibility and the Effects on the Home (November 2007) 
What is the relationship between formal flexible working arrangements and a flexible retirement? Authors of this study suggest that employees working in an environment that allows room for personal issues to be addressed confront retirement with greater attention to the self than those forced to think of work only. The authors note that “flexibility may well be increasingly negotiated at the individual level between managers and employees,” and not at a policy level. 

Italy: Towards a More Balanced Interchange Between Generations (23-25 October, 2007)
The report investigates what happens to older persons when their families don’t help them. Although families are the primary supporters for the old, the author states that the government has responsibility for finding a way to provide a decent living for the elderly. As one of his suggestions, he urges governments to adjust thresholds for old age over time to provide a better interchange between generations. 

Netherlands: Escape Loneliness by Going Digital: A Quantitative and Qualitative Evaluation of a Dutch Experiment in Using ECT to Overcome Loneliness among Older Adults (September 1, 2007) 

Older persons can “reduce feelings of loneliness by improving the participants’ social lives and distracting them from their loneliness” with use of the internet. As a result, the users’ self-confidence increases. Social workers and others who are interested in loneliness intervention programs among older people can learn from this report. It reveals how the internet helps people get in contact and stay in touch with others, despite poor health.

United Kingdom: Employer responses to an ageing workforce (September 2007)
This report focuses on how United Kingdom employers are managing an aging workforce particularly in response to the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 which outlawed age discrimination in the workplace and vocational training in October 2006. Based on qualitative research in 70 firms in 9 occupational sectors, this study found, contrary to previous research, that in many cases, most employers said they prefer hiring an older person than a younger one for different reasons. 

Germany: Patterns of Intergenerational Support in Grandparent-Grandchild and Parent-Child Relationships in Germany (August 29, 2007)

An increasing share of 62-85 year-old German grandparents “gave financial support solely to grandchildren, and a decreasing share gave exclusively to children.” Adult children, however, were still more likely to be “recipients of financial transfers than grandchildren, and the value of the financial gifts to children was almost three times higher than to grandchildren.” In addition, German grandparents were generally more likely to support their grandchildren and children than vice versa. 

Germany: Differential Mortality by Lifetime Earnings in Germany (August 17, 2007)

(PDF, 28 p)
Using a very large sample of male German pensioners aged 65 or older from both the former GDR and western Germany, this report documents mortality inequalities. Its findings show a difference of almost 50 percent (six years) in life expectancy between the lowest and the highest socio-economic group considered and reveal a correlation between lifetime earnings and mortality. 

MENA: Literature Review on Social Exclusion in the ESCWA Region (July 13, 2007)
The French originally coined the word “excluded” in the 1970s in reference to social assistance, describing various categories of people left out of State’s contributory benefits. Since then, development organizations began to use it to describe groups in society who are not participating in society. This exclusion harms both the excluded groups, who do not receive benefits from being fully-fledged societal members, and the larger society, which is unable to fully engage its human potential. This report takes a look at social exclusion in the Western Asia region and finds that older persons, along with women and religious and ethnic minorities, are a group persistently excluded from society in multiple ways.

UK: Everyone’s Future: The Challenge of Age (July 2007)
This report describes the goals of Help the Aged, a leading charity in the UK dedicated to protecting the rights of elderly. It hopes to become the voice of older people suffering from issues such as poverty, isolation, neglect, and ageism. The report discusses how these problems continue to affect elderly people as well as the steps the charity has taken to resolve these problems. Many of their programs have helped improve the quality of life for elderly British people and provided them a forum to express their opinions

UK: UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People (June 2007)
(PDF Format, 4 p.)
In a first, this study provides reliable estimates for the extent of abuse and neglect among UK elderly living in their own homes. Defining elder abuse by neglect, and financial and interpersonal abuses, its findings suggest that there are a “significant number of older people who have experienced, or are continuing to experience, a problem which may have serious effects on their health and well-being.” 

France: New Technologies Likely to Improve Gerontology and Daily Life of Older Persons (May 2007)
(Report in French, PDF, 74 p)
While the aging of the population brings many worries, at the same time a surprising evolution of the new technologies is being developed to be used in the health and domestic arenas. This report shows that those techniques are of the greatest significance for physicians in gerontology. Meanwhile the report evokes ethical problems that are associated with new technologies and the lack of recognition they attract from social security institutions as well as from medical doctors. Do they refuse to consider older persons as an “industrial market”? Or do they perceive technologies as a threat? 

Sweden: Ethical Challenges Related to Elder Care, High Level Decision Makers Experiences (April 10, 2007)
Ethics often collide with budgets making it difficult for conscientious care-providers to deliver the health care that they would like, particularly to older persons.  In some eighteen interviews with “high level decision makers,” the authors found these guardians of ethical care standards for older persons soaked in uncertainty, frustration and loneliness.  The study ends with the hope that more discussion of the issue will lead to common agreement about what’s “ethical.”  In the meantime, cold cash decides the issue.

France: Changes in the Aging Structure of the Population and Consequences for Development (April 9-13, 2007)
(Report in French)
On the occasion of the Commission on Population and Development, the ministries of social cohesion and foreign affairs identified their joint concern in maintaining relations of solidarity and exchange between generations in an unfavorable economic context. The French growth rate is nowadays too low to sustain the balance of the pay-as-you-go pension system. The country must consequently improve the exchange between generations: by improving the employment rate among the young and encouraging the older workers to keep an activity, promoting close relationships with family and neighbors.

Report: Poland: Transition from Work into Retirement (March 2007)
(PDF format, 211 p)
The authors offer demographic data comparing persons aged 50-69 receiving retirement pensions (including early retirement pensions) with those not receiving them due to their actual status on the labor market. The comparison is made along the socio-demographic lines (age, sex, level of education), as well as current status on the labor market, planned age of retirement and main reasons for retirement. Poland’s Central Statistical Office, which prepared the report, estimates that the highest increase in the number of persons at the post-working age—a growth by almost 2 million people—is expected in the decade 2010-2020. The findings are presented in Polish and English (p 92). 


Scotland: All Our Futures, Planning for a Scotland with an Ageing Population (March 2007)
(Access the complementary report “Summary and Action Plan”)
This document lays out a strategy for the aging population in Scotland. It calls on the government of Scotland, the UK government, all local authorities, public agencies, further and higher education bodies, the private sector and the voluntary sector to work together. As in many other developed countries, Scotland has to focus on the desire of most people to remain in their own homes as long as they are able. The government has to provide accessible transport services, to increase the disposable income of older Scots or to improve the health facilities. This document presents case studies and suggested reforms. Read the accompanying report that calls for a political commitment toward older persons, entitled “Summary and Action Plan.” 

Europe: Informal and Formal Care in Europe (February 2007)
Women aged 45-59 make up the majority of the informal care force in Europe. Increasing government expenditure on formal residential and home-help for the elderly can significantly and cost-effectively increase the labour force participation rates of women by relieving their informal care burden. 

Spain: An Experimental Investigation of Age Discrimination in the Spanish Labour Market (March 2007)
Pairs of men aged twenty-seven and forty-seven sent unsolicited inquiries about possible job openings for waiters to 340 hotels and restaurants in 23 towns in Spain. Discrimination against the older applicants corresponded to the highest rates ever recorded anywhere.

Europe - Germany: Report: Multigenerational House Nürnberg (2007)
The German Government underwrites Multigenerational Houses (Mehrgenarationenhäuser). The project aims to increase interaction between the younger generations and the older generations at the community level. They had established more than 200 houses by 2007, and 450 houses will be active in 2012. These houses opened community drop-in centers, providing a variety of services to all generations at a low budget, and encouraging honorary and voluntary participation, using the expertise and potentials of all generations.

Ireland: Report: A Social Portrait of Older People in Ireland (2007)
Older people make up about 11% of the Irish population, low compared to many other European countries. Population projections suggest that by 2036, older people will compose up to 20% to 23% of the population. This population profile shift will have serious implications, particularly for pensions and other services that older people use or rely on, such as health and long-term care.

UK: Report: Greening the Greys: Climate Change and the Over 50s (February 2007)
The analysis of the carbon footprint undertaken in this report provides an approximate account of the contribution of different demographic groups to the total UK carbon footprint. It shows that the current lifestyles of the over 50s result in higher than average CO2 emissions per capita per annum compared to other age groups. In particular, the baby boomers, aged 50-64 years old, have the highest carbon footprint followed by the seniors aged 65-74 years old. An analysis of the attitudes of the over 50s to climate change shows that there is general concern about the issue and a willingness to take action. However, the gap between their concern for climate change and the impact of their current lifestyle needs to be closed if the UK CO2 target is to be met.

France: The Development of Care-Giving Services (January 24, 2007)
(Report in French)
This French Economic and Social Council report warns about the development of the care-giving sector, in the areas of health, housekeeping, and child care. Due to changing social conditions, such as women’s work in the labor force, increased life expectancy, and the fact that need for care-giving continues, care-giving will figure significantly in the future economy. With respect to older persons, a July 26, 2005 law affects care-giving services to assist frail and aged persons to stay in their homes. So far the law offers tax exemptions and subsidies for care-giving. Unfortunately this sector lacks professional training or standards to assure good quality care-giving assistance. 

Report: Securing Good Care for Older People (March 2006) 
What are the needs of older people in England and what will they be in the next twenty years? What social health care system is the most appropriate to meet these needs? This very large report (344 pages) gives answers to these questions. As the report is very long, GAA will publish one part at a time. This week, we publish the Summary, Part 1: Evidence and Trends and Part 2: Resources Requirements. 

Articles

France: Brives: They Make Elderly People Dance (December 23, 2007)
(Article in French)

‘Le temps des cerises’, ‘les amants de Saint Jean’, ‘les Champs Elysées’-- all French elderly people know the words of these folk songs. That’s why a new organization, ‘Styl’ Danse 43,’ in Brives, South of France, enables retirees in nursing homes to sing and dance with these famous tunes. A good initiative that merits encouragement. 

 

Spain: A 77 Year Old Retired Man Runs the San Silvestre Vallecana (December 21, 2007)

(Article in Spanish)
Angel Iglesias, a Madrid resident who is seventy-seven years old, will run one last time in the Race of San Silvestre Vallecana in Madrid. He is the oldest veteran among the 25,000 runners. He has competed in over ten marathons and has won awards, certificates, and medals. Angel Iglesias is full of life!

France: France is late (December 19, 2007)
(Article in French)
Pascal Champvert, president of the association for older persons, estimates in an interview with Le Monde newspaper that France lags behind in taking care of its elders. According to Champvert, the percentage of French social security budget now allotted vulnerable elders (3% of the total budget) is too low. Inadequate finance is the main problem facing French elders; many of them cannot afford nursing home care. 

United Kingdom: 'Elderly Routinely Tied Down and Locked up', Reveals Damning Report on Care Homes (December 18, 2007)
The enquiry reveals the shocking details of the way elderly citizens are treated in care homes. The violent acts of strapping the elderly into their beds, keeping them from using the bathrooms, dragging the seniors around by the hair or refusing them food are often used to punish disruptive behavior. The report is a powerful warning that old people are abused by care home staff and that the situation requires immediate action.

Over-50s 'Fear Fraud' on Internet (December 17, 2007)
A fear of scams seems to stop older people from going online. That’s what a new UK Post Office survey reveals: 41% of older persons said fear of fraud kept them from using the internet. Some 31% others claim that technical online vocabulary blocked their easy access. This survey invites the younger generation to help seniors, as the gap between young internet-enabled and the others widens.

United Kingdom: Mother-In-Law Nightmare as Ageing Population Drives More Pensioners to Live With Their Children (December 16, 2007)
Does an elderly relative in the house disrupt the relationship of a married couple? The article reveals that only 17 per cent of couples want their parents to stay in their homes with only one per cent being ready to support their elderly parents financially in their own homes. However, the alarming statistics show that as the population ages, more older persons will be forced to live with their children. 

France: The French Government is Unable to Deal With the Issue of Older Drivers (December 14, 2007)
(Article in French)
How can you tell a senior relative to stop driving? This question poses a very big issue for friends and families. It is never easy to stop driving. However, most European countries have tried to set up limits and to control access to elder drivers. But France seems to wait: in 2002, the French government adopted the idea of a medical check-up for all drivers. In 2005, this law was cancelled for administrative reasons. The European Union may impose a new rule for all Members to remedy this situation. 

France: Local Authorities Should Meet the Needs of its Aging Population (December 13, 2007)
(Article in French)
“Départements”, one of the main administrative divisions of France (similar to a US county), are the main architects of local social and health policies. Among other issues, they have responsibility for the well being of elderly people. These “départements” develop policies for the local aging population whose needs may be very specific. New policy ideas emerge, such as in Besançon, where a ‘wise council’ gathers older persons who want to be involved in decision making for their town.

United Kingdom: The Shocking Truth about the Care Home Workers who Couldn't Care Less (December, 11, 2007)
Helen Seymour, an advocate for elders in London, witnessed the shocking treatment of senior residents in care homes which “left her shaken”. In this interview she talks about the seniors who suffer with dementia. She reports that the nursing home staff strip them of their dignity treating them with violence and disrespect.

United Kingdom: Half a Million Older People Eat Christmas Dinner Alone (December 7, 2007)
Christmas time is not a festive season for everyone. Half a million of the senior citizens in the UK spent Christmas alone last year. The research survey also found that 700,000 older persons did not have a Christmas meal at all. Almost one and a half million older people reported they felt particularly neglected and forgotten at this time of year.

France: Integrating Older People Into Society (December 5, 2007)
French scholars from the Medicine and Science Academy gathered in  early December to discuss the theme ‘integration of elderly people in the society’. For researchers, to be old today means to be on average between 76 and 78 years.   In 2040, it will be 80 years old. Otherwise, this group recommended many activities to stay healthy longer. The most important indicator of successful aging appears to be ‘subjective age,’the age we feel we are and not the age we are.

France: What Are We Going To Do With Our Parents? (December 2, 2007)
(Article in French)
In France, aging isn’t a happy gift of long life. According to sociologist Emmanuel Ennuyer, French society has developed a phobia toward the fourth age, as if aging were a disease. The economic cost of maintaining and caring for older persons reinforces the negative feelings against elders in French society. Ennuyer says that French forget too often that seniors also bring benefits to society. The recent Laetitia Moreau documentary, ‘what are we going to do with our parents?’ depicts this troubling phenomenon.

Ireland: Nursing Home Charges Plan Sparks Backlash (November 28, 2007)

The Fair Deal scheme calling for nursing home charges faces tough opposition from Age Action Ireland, under which nine organizations are united to mount pressure on politicians to reject the proposed legislation until it is opened to widespread discussion. The groups worry that there will be inadequate time for consultation and consideration of the scheme, and that it will put patients and families in an unfair financial position. Health Minister Mary Harney said the legislation would operate from the start of January 2008. The groups are appealing to the government to halt these changes. 

 

France: French Senate Adopts an Amendment Requiring at Least 8% of Seniors in Companies (November 19, 2007)

(Article in French)
On November 17, 2007, the French Senate adopted an amendment to the bill concerning ‘social security financing for 2008.’ This amendment would require that all French employers would have to hire at least 8% of people who are older than 55 years for their staff. The lawmakers propose a financial penalty if employers don’t respect this law. The same kind of measure already covers persons with disabilities. However, the current executive government did not support this proposal and it may not get incorporated into the law. 

France: Seniors Share Apartments (November 13, 2007)

(Article in French)
A new trend in France began after the scorching heat in 2003. Many seniors decided to share apartments. Because of the financial, emotional and psychological advantages of living together, this phenomenon is also occurring frequently in Switzerland , Germany and Belgium.

 

France: Cyclopousse: Extension of this Service to Three Elderly Homes in Villeurbanne (November 7, 2007)
(Article in French)
The Cyclopousse Service has spread to three nursing homes in Villeurbanne, France. This means of transportation was launched on May 29 this year in two residences for elderly people and is very popular. This small vehicle with three or four wheels, and non- polluting thanks to muscle power, can be driven to locations like the hairdresser, doctor, post office, supermarket and metro for only 1.50 euros for members and 3 euros for the full rate. This “door to door” service is already very popular in municipalities using this mode of transportation. 

 

France: It's Finally Time for Qi Gong (November 5, 2007)

(Article in French)

Practicing Qi Gong is very fashionable in Europe, especially in France. Elderly people are trying it more and more. It is neither a sport nor a martial art but an activity that permits people to control their body, their breathing and their emotions. It’s a traditional Chinese medical gymnastic exercise. In Germany , people receive reimbursements from the Social Security system for costs incurred in Qi Gong.

 

United Kingdom: Independence, Respect and Dignity: The Future of Care for the Elderly (November 2, 2007)
In another example of how the older persons are redefining old age and aging, we are beginning to see a change in how care for this community is structured. Traditionally, the elderly lost their independence and privacy in exchange for around-the-clock care found in homes for the aging. For example, bathrooms, living rooms and kitchens that were once private in an older person’s home are now shared with strangers. This article describes how local UK governments are providing around-the-clock services to the person’s home as well as building old age homes that provide private kitchens and bathrooms for their residents. 

 

France: SFR Tests out Communication Solutions for Elderly People (October 20, 2007)

(Article in French)
SFR, a French telecommunication industry, is currently testing a new communication and monitoring tool to protect elderly people. Two methods are used. The first one, called ‘e-care,’ is a pendant with a GPS system that permits family or doctors to detect falls as well as excessive periods of inactivity. The second, the ‘e-remind,’ is also a pendant with a mechanism that reminds the older person to take medicine or to go to the doctor.

Ireland: Finance Institutions Criticized for Treatment of Elderly (October 19, 2007)
Numerous complaints to the Financial Offices Ombudsman’s Bureau of Ireland demonstrate financial institutions are taking advantage of older persons. The article highlights stories of older people receiving poor advice for investing in long-term bonds and other inappropriate investments that earn them no returns. A Bureau representative advises financial institutions to review the bank accounts of elderly clients to ensure that they receive the best interest rates possible. Older people deserve greater care and financial institutions are strongly discouraged from exploiting them. 

Italy and Spain: Italy and Spain, at the Head of the EU in Healthy Ageing (October 15, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
Some 40% of the Spanish population will live past 65 years of age. By 2038, more than 40% of the Spanish population will be over 65 years of age. Old age is as healthy in Spain as it is in Italy. Citizens of these countries live a longer and better quality life than elsewhere in Europe.

Norwegian Elderly People Under the Spanish Sun (October 9, 2007) 
(Article in French)
Several Norwegian vacation centers for seniors recently opened on the coast of Spain. There are many advantages for seniors. In Scandinavia, winters are hard and nightfall begins in early afternoon. Norwegians also benefit from this new experience because treatments in Spain are less expensive. Some communities are now thinking about opening nursing homes in Spain.

The World Bank Offends the International Trade Union Confederation (September, 26, 2007)

(Article in French)

On Wednesday, September 26, the World Bank published its annual report,  Doing  Business. This report provoked many reactions from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Indeed, the World Bank report is based on research in 178 countries and  evaluated according to 10 criteria. The indicators show whether the country is able or not to “reform its work environment.” It takes into account, for example, the time to open a company in a particular country. ITUC denounces some aberrations in the report. Afghanistan and Haiti get, for example, a better score than Finland or Sweden. However, the latter have the best human development index in the world. According to ITUC, the role of the World Bank is, or should be to fight for social justice. It’s also the opinion of Global Action on Aging, who calls on the World Bank to take into account social criteria, including the situation of older persons.

UK: Elderly 'Addicted' to Nintendo Wii at Care Home (September 14, 2007)
It all started when one nursing home chef brought in a computer-gaming console he had borrowed from his son to entertain his staff during breaks. Soon enough, though, it was the home’s residents, aged between 80 and 103, who enjoyed playing the games and demanded their own console. Set up with a whole library of games, the residents now plan an inter-nursing home tournament. Says 90 year-old Edgar: “It's fiercely competitive. We're all addicts and it's really bridged the generation gap. I'm so glad they got us one of our own.” 

Spain: 95-Year-Old Spanish Blogger Gaining Fame (September 10, 2007) 
Using a birthday present from her grandson, 95 year old María Amelia López writes her own highly popular internet blog. Her wish to bridge the cultural gap between her grandson and herself soon proved stronger than her initial skepticism. She learned the basics of internet navigation. She says: “Elderly people like me - and there are a lot of old people who are younger than I am - should all have someone who shows them how to use the Internet. You have to stay informed.”

UK: £5.4m Lifeline for Pensioners in Need of Care (September 6, 2007)
After inspectors highlighted “serious concerns” over standards at several elderly care homes, “due to neglect, low staffing levels, medication errors and administration problems,” authorities shut down many homes. Now, with financial assistance from the government, Norfolk county is building a multi-billion center for older persons with disabilities. The center will “offer all round quality respite and day services, and facilitate the ongoing development of new and innovative services to support older people to remain living in their own homes.”

UK: Majority 'Back Extra Tax for Elderly Care' (September 3, 2007)
According to a nation-wide opinion poll, three quarters of Britons would be willing to pay 1 penny extra on their income tax if it went toward elderly care programs. Although the amount seems modest, the company conducting the poll claims that the increase could cover about 80% of “care home fees and other domiciliary care costs.” Other results of the research show that 42% of Britons believe “care services were worse compared to five years ago.” 

Switzerland: Report Calls for More Respect for the Aged (August 29, 2007)
A new Swiss government policy document reviews the current situation of older persons in Switzerland and defines guidelines for the future. The document, which examines five areas - health and care, housing and mobility, work and the transition to retirement, the economic situation, and participation in society - calls for more recognition of the positive contributions older persons make in their societies. 

UK: 'Handyman' Call for Older People (August 21, 2007)
Help the Aged demands that the government subsidize a program intended to improve accessibility in older persons’ houses. Help the Aged predicts that older people will stay at home longer, reducing the need for costly social or even residential care. Thus, the organization suggests a network of "handypersons" who reachable through a call to a central number, would be able to perform simple tasks such as fitting a bath-rail or a “half-step” to provide easier access to other areas of the home.

World: Senior Employment: Recommendations to Recruit and Keep Workers Over 50 Years Old (August 30, 2007)
(Article in French)
Manpower, leading company in the field of temporary work, polled 28,000 employees in 25 countries for their research entitled “Senior Workers: Inescapable in the Work Market.” Manpower proposes solutions to keep active workers over 50 years old, and to train their successors quickly. This study denounces the assumption that people over 50--even 40 years old sometimes--are considered too old or no longer have the skills to make a positive contribution to their company. Employers should offer more flexibility: part-time jobs or flexible time. Meanwhile, a longer active life requires motivation and engagement. The company must develop a strong image and provide vocational training. Countries also have a role to play; some States subsidize companies that hire people over 50.


Ireland: Dying Alone (August 28, 2007) 
John Adams, an elderly man, died alone and unnoticed in his living quarters in a busy apartment building. His death was discovered three months later as people in the apartment below him complained about maggots coming through the ceiling--maggots that had been feasting on Mr. Adams’ decomposing body. Although Adams’ story is particularly horrifying, it is not uncommon. Many pensioners live in similar situations. Isolated and alone, with no family members or friends to take care of them, they become increasingly invisible and vulnerable. Social Services could give a helping hand, but the pensioners, or someone close to them, would have to ask for help. Sadly, “It's rarely the people most in need of help that shout loudest for it.”

Germany: Elderly Rapidly Increasing in Numbers in Germany (August 26, 2007)
Out of a population of over 82 million in Germany today, 4 million are 80 years of age or older. The population of those passing the 100-year mark rises steadily. Gerontologists say that the German health care system is unprepared for the growing numbers of older persons in Germany. The demographic change requires a “societal infrastructure” to accommodate the requirements of older persons. Older persons need improved public access and want to have more support and choice when it comes to senior housing. 

UK: Hopes of an Indian Summer for Relatives in Need of Care (August 26, 2007)
Steve Herzfeld moved with his elderly parents to India to find cheaper health care. This idea may sound extreme: Steve Herzfeld organized a staff of six persons to nurse, massage and care for his parents. In the US, he would have faced nursing home fees three times what he pays now in India. Surprisingly, this concept is being regarded with interest by care charities in the UK; even nursing home companies and authorities are interested in expanding their services for older persons abroad.

France: In Nice and Grasse, the Elderly Can Stay Home Thanks to Internet (August 6 , 2007)
(Article in French)
On the Cote d’Azur, people over 65 represent 21.5% of the population. To help keep them at home when they become infirm, authorities are experimenting with project “M@D”. Through a webcam installed on the television, older persons will be able to communicate with a set of caregiving services in the social and health domains. They will get assistance for their grocery shopping, housekeeping, administrative tasks as well as daily health care. Thanks to this technology, older persons do not need to get computing knowledge, and it is accessible 24/7. 

Sweden: A Swedish 75-Year-Old Has the Fastest Internet Connection in the World (July 25, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A 75-year-old Swedish woman enjoys the fastest Internet connection in the world. Her son, an information systems expert, installed the 40GB/sec connection for his elderly mother hoping to teach her to use the Internet and demonstrate the new technology. However, he said his mother hardly appreciates the speed – she mainly uses the Internet to read newspapers online.

UK: Assembly Seeks Champion for Older People (July 23, 2007)
The Welsh Assembly Government is seeking to hire its first Commissioner for Older People to advocate for the growing number of older persons in Wales. The government expects the commissioner to address older persons’ demands as well as educate them on issues such as healthier lifestyles. Professor Judith Phillips of Swansea University points out that, “the fact we’re living longer is a huge achievement, yet very often it’s seen as the ‘demographic time bomb’ – it’s not, it’s a great opportunity; it’s something to be celebrated.”

Russia: Kostroma Regional Branch of the Red Cross Signs an Agreement with Local Government (July 17, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The regional branch of the Red Cross signed an agreement of cooperation with the local government and the Russian Red Cross. The regional organization’s new chief announced her support for the initiative to create a “University for Older People.” The institution will help pensioners deal with difficulties that arise as a result of their retirement.

Russia: Ulyanovsk Oblast Government to Assist Pensioners with Gas (July 17, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The government of Russia’s Ulyanovsk Oblast announced a plan to help provide gas to homes of local pensioners. The program targets single or widowed non-working pensioners or elderly families whose income is below the Monthly Maintenance Rate for the area. The Pension Fund of the Russian Federation and other donors disbursed 6.3 million Russian rubles (almost $247,000) for the cause.

Russia: St. Petersburg Adopts Demographic Development Plan (July 10, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The City Council of St. Petersburg adopted a demographic development plan for 2007-2008. The activities will encourage the creation of favorable conditions for older workers, promote a healthy lifestyle and seek to improve quality of life, and hence life expectancy. The plan is part of the overarching medium-term strategy intended to improve the demographic situation in St. Petersburg.

Finland: Finland Seduces its Older Employees to Work Longer (July 2, 2007)
Finland is trying to encourage its workers to work longer, thereby postponing retirement. The Finnish government hopes that such a move will alleviate some of the pressure on the state’s pension fund. Some of the incentives offered to senior citizens are the right to exercise at company gyms and extended paid vacation time. Although not all Finnish companies offer these incentives, polls show that that the Finnish public is in favor of postponing retirement.

UK: Sessions Designed to Reduce Elderly Falls (July 1, 2007)
The biggest cause of older people’s accidental death is falling. To help reduce falls among elderly South Cheshire residents, a health trust partnered with other organizations to host sessions designed to reduce falls. These low-cost sessions teach the elderly that regular physical activity is the best preventive measure. The sessions are taking place in various communities to mark National Falls Awareness Week.

Norway: Norway Looks After its Elderly - in Spain (June 26, 2007)
In order to provide better care for its elderly, Norway has been exporting them to southern Spain, in hopes that the warm weather will allow them to live longer. The plan is expected to lower the costs of long-term care in Norway. In order to apply for this program, Norwegians have to seek the approval of their doctors and fill out various forms; their stay in Spain could range from six weeks to a lifetime. "It's warm, it's delicious, it's everything Norway isn't," said Tor Slitvold, who came to Spain from a village north of Trondheim. He said that Norway was too cold and that he enjoyed going to the beach. 

Ukraine: Survey Identifies Biggest Concerns of Today’s Ukrainians (June 26, 2007)

(Article in Russian)
Thirty-four percent of Ukrainians believe the lack of effective social protection for retirees to be the most pressing socio-economic problem the country is facing. Other concerns include rising prices, low salaries, unemployment and high utility costs. The Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies conducted the survey. 

Latvia: Latvian Companies to Build a Village for Wealthy Elderly (June 26, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Two Latvian companies are planning to build a “perfect village” for Latvia’s elderly. Anyone older than age 55 will be eligible to buy a house or an apartment in the village and receive full medical coverage and comprehensive care. The project, however, is more likely to target wealthy Latvians. The majority of the pensioners will continue living alone or in nursing homes. 

Russia: Pensioners Turn to Court to Receive Medication (June 26, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Law-enforcers in Murmansk in northern Russia are investigating pharmacies regarding violations in providing local pensioners with free medication. Many retirees have been waiting for necessary drugs since winter. So far, the prosecution found more than 40 such violations. 

Russia: Repair Works Start in Elderly Home after Fire (June 26, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Repair work started this Tuesday in a nursing home in Russia’s Omsk region after a fire that broke out on the building’s top floor on June 21 killed 10 residents. The governor disbursed more than $425,000 to cover the damages. According to the investigators, the fire might have been caused by carelessness or arson.

Russia: Respect of the Elderly, not Nuclear Warheads Determine a Country’s Greatness (June 26, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Russia lacks neither the willingness nor the desire to improve the fire protection systems in nursing homes for the elderly and disabled. Four incidents, some of them deadly, took place already this year. The author of this article argues that if Russia wishes to consider itself a prominent nation-state, it should take better care of its elderly. 

UK: Ageing Workforce Will Challenge Employers (June 25, 2007)
Research by an HR consulting firm suggests that the number of Britons working past the official retirement age is expected to treble by 2017, posing some serious challenges as well as opportunities for employers. "There is a vast pool of mentally agile people, with great work and life experience over the age of 60 and industries will be missing a trick if they do not capitalize on their productive potential,” points HR consultant Jon Beaumont.

Malta: Elderly in Govt Homes without Air Conditioning (June 25, 2007)
Residents of Malta’s largest elderly home are suffering in the excessive heat wave due to the absence of air conditioning in their rooms. Temperatures in Malta have reached over 35 degrees Celsius (95 F) in the past few days. Spokespersons for social solidarity and elderly persons of the Maltese Labor Party said the government retains 80% of older people’s pensions as payment for residing in such homes.

UK: Rights Blow to Elderly in Private Care (June 21, 2007)
The Law Lords in the United Kingdom ruled that private nursing homes are outside the scope of the Human Rights Act. Liberty, a human rights group, said that the ruling “seems to have been largely that private care providers are motivated by profit and governed by contract rather than public service values. The Alzheimer’s Society added: “All care home residents should be protected by the Act. This is a basic entitlement, which should not be compromised by the type of home they live in or the source of funding. We urgently need legislation to close this glaring loophole.”

Russia: Fire in Russian Elderly Home Kills 10 (June 21, 2007)
(Article in Russian; also available in English)
A fire broke out in an elderly home in a Siberian village, killing 10 people and injuring four. Although the rescue teams arrived shortly after the fire alarm went off, the elderly staying on the top floor of the three-story building were unable to escape. The prosecutor’s office is considering several possible causes of the fire, from careless smoking to arson. In March of this year, a similar tragedy took the lives of 62 nursing home residents in a small village near the Azov Sea.

Russia: Dagestan Takes Care of its Elderly (June 19, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
According to a news agency, several programs and benefits are available for the elderly in Dagestan (North Caucasus). In the republic’s capital, World War II veterans can apply for special services to have their apartments repaired free of charge. The Ministry of Culture provides the veterans with free admission to theaters. The article fails to specify how many people are using these services. 

Czech Republic: Number of Elderly People in Czech Rep May Double by 2050 (June 10, 2007)
The number of elderly people may double in the Czech Republic by 2050 to almost 3 million, the Czech Statistical Office said. Demographers point out that population aging is the most fundamental social change to take place in the Czech Republic. Adapting not only social and pension systems, but also production, services and entertainment to meet elderly people’s needs will become necessary in the near future.

Germany: German Pensioner Rides around the World to Live His Dream (June 9, 2007)
When Dankmar Hugo Scheuchl turned 66, he decided it was time to hit the road for the adventure of a lifetime. For two years he’s been riding around the globe on his BMW motorcycle, touring the war-torn mountain ranges of Afghanistan, the crowded streets of Calcutta, the Australian outback and wide African savannahs. As he is preparing to ride through North Africa and the Middle East on his way back home, Scheuchl invites other people his age contemplating a seemingly outlandish experience to “just do it.”

Russia: Internet Café for Pensioners Opens in Moscow (June 9, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
An Internet café for pensioners and World War II veterans opened in Moscow. The elderly can access public information from there, as well as learn basic computer skills and check e-mail.

UK: Elderly Rockers the Zimmers Storm British Top 40 Chart (June 5, 2007)
A group of 40 pensioners, the Zimmers, whose average age is 78, entered the British Top 40 chart Monday at No. 26 with a remake of “Who's My Generation.” The band—which takes its name from the Zimmer frame, the British term for a walker—is intended to combat the victim status of the elderly.

Russia: 66-Year-Old Cyclist Seeks to Set Record (June 5, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A former schoolteacher from Tver, Russia, seeks to set a record as the oldest traveler in Russia. Riding her bicycle, she has already covered 5,500 kilometers (more than 3,400 miles) out of her intended 21,000-kilometer Tver-Sakhalin-Tver journey. 

Russia: Profile: Russian Hopes to Find Samantha Smith’s Relatives (May 31, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
For some in Voronezh city, western Russia, 70-year-old Valery Vaulin is known as an inspiring character—a truth-seeker who fights for better utility services for Voronezh residents. Others find him simply importunate. Vaulin’s dream is to find relatives of Samantha Smith (1972-1985) - who in 1982 became America’s youngest Goodwill Ambassador to the Soviet Union - and invite them to visit Russia.

Russia: “Honey” Swindler Cheated Nine Pensioners (May 28, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A court in the Siberian city of Yalutorovsk sentenced a woman who cheated nine pensioners of 25,000 rubles (almost $1,000) to two years in prison. The 35-year-old sought to earn older people’s trust by finding out beforehand their names and whether they had any relatives, and then sold them sugar syrup as honey. She also borrowed seniors’ money, leaving the “honey” as collateral. 

Lithuania: First Nursing Home for Elderly Priests Opens in Lithuania (May 28, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Lithuania opened its first nursing home for elderly Catholic priests. The building with single- and double-rooms, a chapel and a library is designed to host 45 people. According to the nursing home’s director, Viduta Backieriene, the first eight residents, aged 70 to 90, have already moved in. “More and more priests are aging,” Backieriene said. “As elderly persons, they have specific needs, but no children or relatives to take care of them.” 

UK: Hi-Tech Help for the Elderly (May 24, 2007)
Wigan borough in Greater Manchester, UK, will launch a new council service for vulnerable older people. The Assistive Technology Service (ATS) will provide elderly people with an early warning of when they might be at risk to make sure they receive help quickly. Detectors linked to a telephone alarm unit will allow a 24-hour control center to check on, for instance, whether the client got up in the morning or if they've left the gas on. 
 

Azerbaijan: Baku Mosques to Stop Using Sound Amplifiers (May 23, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Muslims of Caucasus Management decided to ban using sound amplifiers to announce the call to prayer in Baku mosques. Elderly people living close to the mosques complained that the sound disturbed them.

Russia: Pensioners Get in Trouble with Police for Selling Flowers (May 23, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Tula City police forbids the sale of flowers outside specifically designated areas. The majority of those considered troublemakers are elderly gardeners seeking additional income for meager pensions. The police said the pensioners’ actions are illegal and promised to patrol the area every day.

Russia: Omsk Elderly Pleased with Social Services Quality (May 22, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A study by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development of the Omsk region in Russia revealed that almost 29,000 elderly and disabled receive social services at home. The majority of them (94%) said they are satisfied with the professional and human qualities of their respective social workers. For more than half of the polled elderly, being able to receive social services at home is vital.

Uzbekistan: State Revokes Labor Veterans’ Right to Free Medicine (May 21, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Uzbekistan’s health ministry excluded labor veterans—people who during World War II worked to provide soldiers with clothing, food and weapons—from receiving free medications. The country is in the process of abolishing most of its social benefits programs.

Germany: Germany’s Silver Workers Are Back on the Job (May 21, 2007)
Given a lack of skilled employees, some German companies are rehiring some of the graying former workers they sent into early retirement a few years ago. Professor Jürgen Deller called these post-pension employees the “silver seniors,” making a point that “older people are needed in all areas and on all levels. Every level of complexity is in demand.” One concern is to make sure that working longer is a free choice, not an economically pressured non-choice.

Ukraine: Time for New Trends in Labor Market (May 19, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
As society grows older, sociologists predict significant changes in the labor market. The typical job description “from 20 to 35” is becoming increasingly irrelevant. The article looks at stereotypes held by Ukrainian employers with regard to hiring older workers, and argues that only those businesses that include older employees will succeed.

Ukraine: Elder Women Hired as Baby-sitters and Nurses (May 18, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
According to employment agencies in Kiev, Ukraine, richer families prefer to hire women pensioners as baby-sitters and nurses. Potential employers say elder women are more responsible and have lower demands than younger job seekers.

Russia: Pensioner Wins Law Suit against Federal Health Agency (May 17, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A pensioner won a law suit against Russia’s Federal Health Agency. The court obliged the officials to award Alexander Zhdanov, a World War II veteran, a car designed for people with physical disabilities. According to the Russian law, as a reward for Zhdanov’s service to the country and due to his disability, the agency was required to provide him with a car in 2004, but blamed the delay on alleged lack of funds.

Uzbekistan: Taking away War Veterans’ Day (May 15, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Uzbeks paid less attention to World War II veterans on May 9 (Victory Day) in Uzbekistan than last year. Veterans complained about increasing neglect. Although President Islam Karimov proclaimed 2007 as the Year of Social Security, the veterans only received a one-time allowance of $10 to compensate for their meager pensions. This year’s celebrations also focused on prominent teachers, artists and public figures of the past, with little attention for Uzbek soldiers who contributed to defeating fascism in 1945.

France: French People Dissatisfied with Older Persons’ Care and Nursing Homes (May 14, 2007)
(Article in French)
According to a French Hospital Federation survey, more than two-thirds of French people appear to be dissatisfied with the care older persons receive and almost one out of two has a negative view of nursing homes. Mostly, they raise concerns such as high costs and lack of facilities. The new President will not be able to ignore this tricky question.

Spain: More than 100 Geriatricians Say that Health Services for the Elderly Need Improvement (May 11, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
In Spain 16.8% of its population is older than 65 years (1.9% are older than 85 years). Although Spain has a high proportion of older people, it doesn’t have extensive resources for older persons, such as specialized nursing homes. To improve this situation, the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology published a study about how to increase elders’ access to health care and how to improve the assistance and quality of Spanish nursing homes.

Russia: Novosibirsk City Presents a New Program to Support the Elderly (May 11, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The Department of Labor and Social Development and several NGOs in Novosibirsk city, Russia, presented a new program offering the elderly qualified legal aid in selling their property. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many pensioners fell prey to fraud due to ignorance of the new laws and high lawyer fees. The Department’s Social Associations Council commissioned the development of the program in September 2006.

UK: Older People Missing Out in IT Skills Training for the Workplace (May 4, 2007)
Despite government figures from the UK that show two out of three existing jobs and nine out of ten new jobs ask for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), some employers deny senior citizens opportunities to learn how to use the technology. Recognizing that Internet usage can increase independence and empower people, the UK-wide Digital Inclusion Network helps older people broaden their ICT skills by encouraging peer learning environment and one-to-one training.

Germany: German Supermarkets Cater to Elderly (April 29, 2007)
In Germany, supermarkets have been transformed into senior markets. The special focus on older people covers a wide range of little adaptations such as putting products at easy reach, larger price labels and relaxation zones! Already showing a profit, these grey supermarkets have quickly demonstrated that the store chain made a very good business calculation.

France: A Rich and Old Country is Looking for Immigrants (April 28, 2007)
(Article in French)
According to a report recently published by the U

N, by the year 2050 France and most European countries will need two times more immigrants than in the 90’s in order to cope with a low population growth and a decreasing number of workers. But historically, the author points out, today's level of immigrants remains relatively low, at only 3.1 % of the global population.

France: The Two Candidates to the Second Round of the Presidential Elections Present Their Program Concerning the Older Persons (April 26, 2007)
(Articles in French)
French Presidential candidates Segolene Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy both clarified their positions about how to confront an aging population. 
Segolene Royal talks about “lengthening of life expectancy” instead of “aging population,” which shows society progresses. She favors increasing the level of small pensions as well as adapting the health care system to the needs of dependent older persons. As a result, she proposes a plan that would rely on intergenerational solidarity: a recruitment plan to encourage young people to work in the health sector. Nicolas Sarkozy is more interested in the third age situation: seniors are, nowadays, able to stay longer in the labor force. He proposes to change the pension system and to implement, among others, progressive pensions. His program also offers pension perks to volunteers or families taking care of older persons.

Germany: In Germany, Retirement Age Increases to 67 Years Old 
(April 2, 2007)

(Article in Spanish)
Last Friday, the German Parliament passed a law to increase the retirement age from 65 to 67 years old in response to changing demographics. This change will be effective in 2012. According to the Minister of Labor, this measure will allow more job availability for people over 55 years old.

France: Francois Bayrou Presents his Program for the Retirees (March 20, 2007)

(Article in French)
Facing an increasing risk of a generational rupture, Francois Bayrou, the UDF candidate in the French Presidential elections, gives us his thinking. He would give priority to changing retirement plans as well as caring for the elderly. But firstly, he insists on the fact that this question “is not a question for experts, but rather a primary question for citizens.”

Russia: Fire at Russian Nursing Home Kills 62 (March 20, 2007)
Several elderly and disabled individuals died in a fire that swept through a nursing home in Kamyshevatskaya, Russia. This tragedy highlights the lax safety standards and enforcement as well as the strains on emergency rescue services. According to senior emergency official Mr. Sergei S. Salov, “The alarm system was incomplete. The personnel did not have equipment to protect against smoke. The bedrooms’ wooden panels were not made flame resistant.” The closest fire station was located more than 30 miles away and it took nearly an hour for firefighters to arrive. 

UK: Councils 'Fail' Vulnerable Adults (March 20, 2007) 
The BBC has discovered that one in six councils is failing to protect vulnerable adults in their care. The Commission for Social Care Inspection found that a sixth of all 150 councils in England were failing; even some councils which received the highest government rating for their social services have fallen short in their protection of vulnerable adults. Campaigners for the elderly are also concerned at the lack of protection for elderly people. The government and the charity Comic Relief are spending £650,000 to research the level of abuse on older people, due to be published in the summer.

France: By 2050, the Number of Older Persons Aged 60 and Older Should Go Through an 80% Increase (March 20, 2007)
(Article in French)
In France, by 2050, the number of older persons aged 60 and older should rise from 12.6 million persons to 22.3 million--an 80% increase! The French government created a Solidarity Plan in 2006 to tackle rising needs of older persons and the families charged with their care. But the cost of caring for dependent persons is great and adequate political answers are expected. Thus far, in the presidential election campaign, this question seems to be neglected.

France: Presidential Candidates Neglecting Aging issues (March 20, 2007)
(Article in French)
Are candidates to the presidential elections neglecting the aging population in France and the consequent challenges? This question may be relevant regarding the presidential campaign and the perceptible hesitation candidates have toward tackling issues such as old age and dependence.

France: Social Inequalities Happen Again in the Third Age (February 15, 2007) 
(Article in French)
In this study from the French Institute on Statistics, we get solid proof of seemingly obvious facts: “health state and social class go hand in hand.” The study portrays an “over-mortality” for those who did manual work in their lives. However at the age of 86, more educated workers can hope to live 20% longer than the less qualified. Interestingly, from 92 years old, social differences disappear: the poor and the rich become equal with respect to age of death. Mortality gaps are also related to the persons’ surroundings: people living in nursing homes are more likely to die earlier, showing that a nursing home is more endured than chosen as a residence. 

France: Old Immigrants: A Device of Reintegration Aims at Facilitating the Long-Lasting Stays in the Country of Origin (February 14, 2007)
(Article in French)
The French government has created a law calling for the “reinsertion” of older persons from abroad back to their country of origin. Today, 70,195 people, age 65 and above, live in France and are trying to find housing. Away from their families, these old people are still in France, and “the preservation of their right to the general regime of the health insurance is conditioned on a residence of more than six months in France.” Now, the French government intends to allow them to return to their home countries with sufficient funds to support health care in their country of origin. (The amount will be based on the length of their residency in France.). Is this policy discriminatory against seniors in France? 

Russia: Every Sane Person Worries About Reaching Retirement Age (January 31, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Russians don’t worry so much about their health in retirement but rather for the dignity of housing in old age. Just a few years ago, housing “sharks” targeted old persons in Russia, victimizing them in housing frauds. Various agencies offered “life long care” for a pensioner in exchange for his or her apartment. Then the agencies forgot about their obligations as soon as the agreement was signed. Today the State itself offers a similar deal and older persons can only hope that they will not suffer the same abandonment after giving up their housing.

Russia: Three New Clubs for Older Persons (January 30, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Senior clubs opened their doors in three villages in the Tver Region, thanks to the hard work of volunteers from the organization, “Good Action.” The volunteers are planning to hold a series of special evenings for pensioners showing their movies, dancing and meeting each other. 

France: Older Persons Dependant: a Forgotten Issue for the Coming Presidential Elections (January 25, 2007)
(Article in French)
By 2040 in France, persons aged over 60 years old will compose one third of the population and 7 million people will be over 80 years old. Despite these figures, candidates running in the presidential elections appear to ignore the aging issue. This article lists some of the ideas and programs for touching the needs of older French that have emerged thus far in the campaign.

Russia: Legal Aid on Wheels (January 23, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Nina Ivanovna decided to go to the nearby village, got on the bus and almost paid the transportation fee. But the other passengers surprised her. They were lawyers who came to the local villages to provide pensioners with free legal aid. The local organization of pensioners organized this “Legal Aid on Wheels” project. Lawyers provide legal advice on the bus to those pensioners who cannot go to the nearest city to get legal help.

UK: Minister Admits: Our Elderly are Being Starved (January 22, 2007)
The London Daily Mail article entitled, “Our Elderly are Being Starved,” depicts a frightful situation that older persons experience in some nursing homes and hospitals in the United Kingdom. Older persons go hungry on a daily basis. Some are given a single scoop of mash as a meal. As the health minister Ivan Lewis said, “We wouldn't put up with this happening to our children, so why should we find it acceptable for our older people?”

Poland: Progress Made in Mainstreaming Gender Equality into Poland’s National Legislation, Women’s Anti-Discrimination Committee Told (January 16, 2007)
The Under-Secretary of State of the Polish Ministry of Labor and Social Policy told the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women that Poland had made noticeable progress in mainstreaming gender equality into national legislation. Also, it focused specifically on the eradication of discriminatory labor practices, which face older Polish women in particular.

France: With More than 830,000 births, France Experiences the Highest Birth Rate of European Countries (January 16, 2007)
(Article in French)
This year French demographics, with a rate of two children per woman, makes the nation an “exception,” in comparison with the low-fecundity rate of its European neighbors. Nevertheless, this relatively high birthrate during 2006 does not materially change the general situation of population aging as baby-boomers reach retirement age.

Russia: No Compensation for Moral Damages (January 15, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation rendered a decision denying compensation for the moral damages to a pensioner who had not received a pension for 13 months due to the Federal Pension Fund’s mistake. The court explained that because there is no specific law allowing compensation of the moral damages in a case when the Pension fund fails to pay the pension, all such claims should be denied. Must we believe that the highest judicial body considers it to be justice when a person tries to survive for a year without any money for living and cannot recover moral damages after the Court has substantiated the gross violation of his rights?

Russia: Popularity of the Social Cafes Is Growing (January 15, 2007)

(Article in Russian)
About 2000 older persons in Volgograd have so far visited the social cafes. The city administration opened the cafes last year for lonely older people whose income does not exceed the minimum budget. Every month the cafes become more popular and the city authorities are thinking about expanding this initiative. 

UK: Pensioner Parents Still Funding their “Coat-Tail” Children (January 12, 2007)
Recent research reveals to what extent adult children are still a financial responsibility for their parents. In now seems widespread that older parents, over 55 years old or in their early sixties, are still supporting their children’s educational or housing costs. Adding to the crises that affect their personal retirement funding—falling pension expectations or rising taxes—their adult children pull their savings away. “I sometimes joke that I will never retire but it may turn out not to be a joke,” said Mr Millican, a pensioner parent.

 

Germany: Munich Hunts Bank Robbing Pensioners (January 11, 2007)
Since 2004 a senior German citizen has conducted armed robbery against banks and supermarkets and the police are still tracking him. “As the population gradually ages, so do the villains, it seems. Or maybe recent pension cuts in Germany have simply gone too far,” the article explains.

UK: Families Told Elderly Care Crisis Looming (January 10, 2007)
In the UK a major shift concerning the Welfare State is occurring. The Commission for Social Care Inspection plans to give attention to fewer people with greater needs and will not help people until their needs are judged “critical”. The shrinkage of the State’s responsibility implies automatically a growing burden of care on families of older persons. Or, simply less care and earlier deaths of frail and vulnerable older persons.


Ukraine: Pension Increase Will Deprive Pensioners from Government Subsidies (January 9, 2007)

(Article in Russian)

Many pensioners in Krym will not be able to cover their utility bills any more. The government decided to slightly increase their pensions. At the same time, the increased pension makes many pensioners ineligible for a governmental subsidy to cover utilities.

Ukraine: Charity or Joke (January 4, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Older men and women, 70-80 years old, stayed on line for hours in order to become the happy owners of a pack of sugar and rice, a bottle of oil, a bar of chocolate and two cans of potted meat. There were no places to sit down or warm up. One of the political groups held this “organized charity invent” to raise its rating with older people, who face very difficult lives. 

Turkmen Republic: Big Changes Promised to People (January 4, 2007)
(Article in Russian) 
Less than a month after the death of the Turkmen dictator, the Republic’s new leader has vaguely promised some changes in the country. The new government will examine the key decisions of the past and will likely restore free Internet access, as well as pensions and an educational system.

France: Precariousness as the Side Effect of Elderly Care-Taking Jobs (January 3, 2007)
(Article in French)
This article reveals how elder care-giving jobs will affect the French employment market in the long term. In fact, by 2015, experts expect creation of over 400,000 new jobs in this field. But, beyond the number of jobs created, the author questions their quality. A rise in instability in terms of hours or wages and benefits may harm the care-givers. And, GAA would ask, will the precarious nature of these care-giving jobs get reflected in higher neglect and abuse of those in their care, as has happened in other countries?

Russia, Buryatia: The Republic of Buryatiya Will Accept Nationals from Abroad (January 3, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The government of Buryatia has asked the Federal government for more time to develop the rules governing the migration of Russian nationals, mainly pensioners, from abroad. The government is going to take on the migration project within the framework of the President’s proposed Federal migration program. Now the regions face a difficult task: to accept pensioners who would like to move to Russia from other countries and provide them with all necessary means, yet not deprive the local population of their “fair share” of the country’s resources.

London: Aging population? (November 15, 2005)
Access to older services is narrowing as baby boomers age in London, where over 100,000 people are 85 years or older. The cuts are devastating, leaving many of the elderly isolated and helpless. London councils have significantly decreased home help services for the elderly. In response to this reduction, charities now seek to facilitate projects for the isolated elderly. RISE (Reaching the Isolated Elderly), for example, reaches out to this population. While providing more funding for physical activities and programs is commendable, general mental and home help services cannot be compromised. 

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Middle East and North Africa

Articles

Israel: A Fifth of Elderly People in Israel are Abused (December 10, 2007)
Some 18.4% of Israeli older persons say they have already been abused. This shocking finding comes from the first national survey on old persons in Israel. This rate is one of the highest in the world. Elders suffer different kinds of violence, such as verbal, physical, limitation of freedom or economic exploitation. For now, the government has installed a free phone line to report abuse but has promised reforms to protect the older persons. 

Israel: Hundreds of Elderly Protest Cabinet's Cut for Nursing Care (December 5, 2007)

The Israeli government wants to change the public elder nursing care system. Representatives from the finance minister said last month that the State is no longer going to pay for all hospitalization costs. Sick elderly will have to augment state funds with private funds. But the citizens say that the middle and lower classes don’t have sufficient money to to make up the difference.

Israel: One Billion and a Half Shekels for Elderly People (October 15, 2007)
(Article in French)
In Israel, older persons’ situation is extremely precarious. That’s why, for months, elders, including Shoah survivors have been fighting for additional rights, especially the right for monetary compensation. The government seems to have heard their voices. On October 15, the prime minister announced that one billion and a half shekels will be designated to the poorest elders. It is a first step.

Israel: Screening Might Catch More Cases of Elder Abuse (September 5, 2007)
Israeli researchers found that while only “6 percent of older adults in their study admitted to being abused by a family caregiver when asked directly, many more had evident signs of abuse or were at high risk of abuse.” The study, which involved 730 men and women age 70 and older who were hospitalized in two major Israeli medical centers, points to the need for routine screening of elderly adults to "rule out the possibility of abuse." The study didn’t mention giving training to family members who act as caretakers to address the roots of abuse.

Israel: The Age of 'Ageism' (August 27, 2007)
While many older persons experience neglect of their needs, others may get too much attention and are over-protected. This story of an 83-year old woman, for whom the courts forcibly appointed a legal guardian, exemplifies the "mixture of paternalism, exclusion and silencing" of older persons that some see in the Israeli legal system. A new book, entitled "Law, Justice and Old Age," by Dr. Israel Doron, an attorney who devoted his career to rights of older persons in legal affairs, explores this difficult subject.

Palestine: Arab Idol Star Holds a Benefit Concert for the Elderly (June 20, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
Arab Idol Star Ammar Hassan will hold a benefit concert in which all proceeds will go to an Elderly home in his hometown of Salfit. Hassan, a Palestinian, said he was looking forward to giving back to his community. 

Qatar: Violence Against Elder Persons is a Silent Phenomenon; Children are Often the Culprit (July 18, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
Researchers have been tracking Elder Abuse worldwide for some time now. In response, Qatar has undertaken many initiatives for Elderly persons: the Institute for For Elderly Care was established in 2002, and aimed at educating the public about elder rights. It also sought to provide various services for elder persons and educate them about their rights and how to better care for themselves. Finally, the also seek to encourage the incorporation of senior citizens into all aspects of social life. 

Jordan: National Strategy for Elder Persons…a Cooperative Effort to Improve the Quality of Life (July 17, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
In Jordan, the National Committee for Family Affairs has been working with the Ministry of Social Development as well as the Ministries of health and representatives from various sectors in an effort to develop a national strategy for elder persons. In a more specific sense, this partnership hopes to ensure a better life for senior citizens. Elder persons in Jordan (those over 65) constitute roughly 3.3 percent of the current population; this number is expected to rise to 4% by the year 2020.

Kuwait: The Al-Balghy Organization for Elderly Care Launches Competition (June 22, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A competition is underway in Kuwait for who can take better care of their aging parents. The goal of the competition is to spread awareness about the elderly and how to treat them. Prizes range from 250 to 1,500 Kuwaiti Dinars, in addition to other non-cash prizes. 

Algeria: Caring for One’s Parents…Under the Rule of Law (June 18, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
This article debates the best method for taking care of the elderly, given the fact that Algeria recently passed a law deeming it illegal for anyone to place their parents in a nursing home. One Algerian parliamentarian, though agreeing with the principle of the law, thinks that real change will come from society itself, via social institutions, awareness, community organization and overall family values. Other experts from around the Arab world have entered the debate, stating that drafting such laws wastes time because such measures do not tackle the aging challenge adequately.

Jordan: Fakhoury: the Establishment of a Day Club for Seniors (June 13, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A non-profit organization in Amman, Jordan, called Friends of the Elderly recently opened a day club for seniors. The club is expected to provide health and social services. The president of the organization, Samira Al-Fakhoury, said that a lot more had to be done in order to help senior citizens in the Hashemite Kingdom. The organization, which is based largely on the help of volunteers, opened its doors in 2003; since then it has accomplished a lot for elder rights. Al-Fakhoury also called on the Jordanian government to do more for elder rights. 

Bahrain: Gulf Air Launches Discount for Seniors in Bahrain (June 13, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
Gulf Air announced new discounts for senior citizens. Those over the age of 65 and flying economy class will be eligible for the discount.  A spokesperson said that it was “only natural” that the airline would offer a deal like this.

Palestine : A Demonstration on World Elder Abuse Day in Kefr Qana (June 8, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A group of Palestinians took to the streets last week in anticipation of World Elder Abuse Day. Protestors  denounced violence directed at elder citizens and called for more respect towards elder persons. (Click on the link to see photos).

Qatar: Qatar’s Programming Committee Discusses Action for the Elderly (June 7, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
The Organization for Elderly Care met with Qatar’s programming committee to discuss strategies for protecting elder rights vis-à-vis the law and the economy. The meeting resulted in setting various benchmarks that would allow the organization to protect the rights of the elderly fully. They also agreed on greater participation from all sectors of the government.

Syria: A Social Welfare Fund Launches in Syria (June 4, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A social welfare fund was established in Syria with the help of various UN agencies and ministries of government. The fund is aimed primarily at the most vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly, disabled, orphans, widows and divorcees.

Yemen: Official Report Calls for Bill of Rights for Elderly Yemenis (June 3, 2007)
(Article in Arabic - full report also available in Arabic)
“The Elderly in Yemen ” is the name of a new report released last week by the Yemeni government that highlights various elderly rights issues such as access to social welfare and healthcare. The report, the first of its kind and conducted over a time span of five years, surveyed access to social pensions in cities and rural areas. The law in Yemen currently states that pensions are the responsibility of companies who hire five or more workers. The government, on its part, has successfully granted social pensions to former employees. In this light, the report makes several extensive recommendations on how to improve access to social welfare. The report also found that older women were most vulnerable.

Qatar: Call to Involve Elderly in Various Community Activities (May 25, 2007)
"If we can have a club for the youth, why not for the elderly as well?" asks Khalifa Al Muslemani, a businessman. Al Muslemani is among a growing number of Qataris calling on various institutions to further incorporate the elderly into society and protect their rights. They argue that the subject of elderly rights is often overshadowed by more common campaigns such as children and women’s rights. Qatar has recently taken numerous initiatives to protect senior citizens. Last month a three-day conference resulted in numerous resolutions aimed at further protecting the rights of elder persons.

Saudi Arabia: Police Solve the Murder of an Elderly Man by Arresting his Son (May 21, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
Police arrested a young man and charged him with the murder of his elderly father. The father had been shot twice by his son as he was making his way to early morning prayers. The son, who is said to be mentally unstable, confessed and cited family problems as his main motive. 

Saudi Arabia: Senior Citizens’ Council to Address the Needs of the Elderly and Retired (May 16, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A council for senior citizens recently opened in the city of Hael, Saudia Arabia. It is expected that the council will provide the opportunity for the elderly and retired to meet and voice their concerns regarding elder rights. 

Israel: Police: Doctors Used the Elderly in Illegal Experiments (May 15, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Hadera City Police issued a statement voicing suspicion that doctors at a local geriatric center were using the elderly in medical experiments without the patients’ knowledge or consent. An 84-year-old died in 2004 allegedly as a result of these experiments. Police have passed on all documents to the Prosecutor General’s office. 

Qatar: National Discussion on Elder Rights Strategy a Success (May 12, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A Qatari National conference brought together experts from various fields to discuss strategies for Elder rights. The conference focused on raising the official retirement age to 65 and making retirement voluntary. Recognizing that Qatari society is need of further education on elder rights, participants agreed to take concrete steps to include senior citizens into society in an effort to bridge the generation gap. Future plans include a 300-bed hospital for older persons, an increase in social pensions, as well as drafting laws aimed at enhancing the rights of elder citizens in Qatar. 

Tunisia: Deputies Chamber: Study of Demographic Policies (May 10, 2007)
(Article in French)
In Tunisia, several factors such as the decline in both births and deaths, or the rise in life expectancy because of progressive health policies, have led to population aging. As University professor Mohamed Saklani said, “nowadays we are experiencing a golden time because more than 60% of inhabitants are working, which is conducive to the economic dynamism; nevertheless we will have to find some answers to our aging population.”

Jordan : Towards Drafting a National Comprehensive Plan for the Elderly (May 9 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
Amman: The National Council on Family Affairs announced plans yesterday to launch a new strategy for elderly care in the Hashemite Kingdom. This is new strategy is the first of its kind in Jordan and is expected to take effect on the International Day for the Elderly. The endeavor will bring together the Ministries of Health, Development, and Social Affairs as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations in an effort to further incorporate senior citizens into society. The plan will also work on preventing all types of violence and discrimination against senior citizens. 

Saudi Arabia: 3% of all Elderly Persons are Subject to Violence (May 8, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A Saudi study recently by the Ministry of Social Affairs revealed that violence against the elderly is on the rise in Saudi Arabia. The study, which surveyed the entire kingdom,, found that aged persons experienced various types of violence. The study also stated that many of the problems senior citizens face in Saudi Arabia are associated with the loss of financial and social stability. 

Israel: Relatives Jeer at Israeli Elders (May 2, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
According to Haifa University research along with the centers of medicine, one out of four Israeli elders who are taken care of by their relatives experience humiliation, either verbally or physically. Scientists also found out that only 6.5% of aged people inform others about such abuse.

Algeria: Aging Population by 2040 (April 28, 2007)
(Article in French)
As part of the Algerian national day for older persons, the issue of older persons’ care emerged. The Algerian organization “Ihsan” called the Popular National Assembly to adopt a bill protecting elder rights. Response to this question is even more crucial in light of Algerian demographics calculations predicting an aging population by 2040. 

Yemen: Sana’a Hosting the “Third Arab Statistical Forum" (April 2007)
A convention hosted in Sana’a met to consider initiatives for implementing recommendations made by the National Strategies for the Development of Statistics. This is the third convention of its kind in the Arab world, in cooperation with Paris 21, the World Bank and other organizations. Arab countries participated in the Accelerated Data Program and International Household Survey Network to examine ways to organize future joint activities and workshops

Lebanon: New Center to Care for Elderly Palestinians (March 29, 2007)
Caritas Lebanon inaugurated the Love and Charity Center for the Support of Elderly Palestinian Refugees on Wednesday in the town of Taalabeya, Bekaa. The center is the first in a series of nine centers that will offer moral and healthcare support to elderly Palestinian refugees across Lebanon. The president of Caritas Lebanon, Father Louis Samaha, said that the center was meant to assist "each and every" elderly Palestinian here, especially in the absence of minimum social and healthcare insurance. 

Palestine: Palestinian Invents Queuing Socks (March 20, 2007)
A West Bank woman has developed special socks to help Palestinians suffering from swollen feet as they wait at Israeli military checkpoints. Ms. Latif, who cares for people at a home for the elderly, says she got the idea after facing long waits at Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. The socks are ideal for pregnant women and the elderly.

Upon Boutflika’s Request: Fine or Jail time for Those Who Throw Their Parents in Nursing Homes (March 6 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A new Algerian law now prohibits sons and daughters of senior citizens from placing them in nursing homes. The law passed after a ‘personal request’ from president Boutaflika who declared that those who choose to do away with the responsibility of caring for one’s parents should be thrown in jail. To compensate for this new law, there will be an expansion of home care programs for the elderly. However, the financial burden of carrying through such programs will most likely fall on household family members rather than the government. Though enrollment numbers in nursing homes are expected to decrease significantly, the government does not to expect to shut them down completely, citing a few cases in which senior citizens have no one to care for them. 

Middle East: Population Ageing in Arab Countries (February 2007)
This report by the Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia (ESCWA) updates materials on the condition of elderly in Arab countries, the progress of the Arab Plan of Action on Ageing, the changing demographics, and the vulnerable elderly populations in the region. The report also follows up on new legislation passed in the region protecting older persons. 

Arab Plan of Action on Aging (2002)
(Report also available in Arabic)
The situation and condition of older persons and the opportunities available to them vary from one Arab country to another. This 2002 Plan that was adopted in preparation for the Second World Assembly on Ageing. It focuses on the basic, common components of ageing-related issues in the region, taking into consideration special circumstances and particularities. 

Israel: We Should Employ the Wisdom of the Elderly (February 16, 2007)
According to this article, a manufacturer in Israel employs workers who are in their 80’s and 90’s! The idea is to take advantage of the experience and the wisdom of the elderly. As Meil Ellat, an 83-year-old supervisor of younger employees said “I’m thankful that I can still work! All work is sacred, isn’t it?” In other countries, demographers are comparing the shock that aging societies will have on the world economy to an earthquake, when they say the world economy will be shaken to its core by an “age-quake.” One concern is to make sure that older workers themselves choose to continue working.

UAE: Scheme to Rehire Retired Nationals (February 22, 2007)
(Article also available in Arabic)
Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, announced plans to launch a national plan to rehire retired national employees. The initiative is in line with the national agenda to attract national talent and prepare them for participation in the ambitious development drive.

Algeria: Spotlight interview with Souad Belaidi (Algeria - UGTA) (January 27, 2007)
This article is an interview with Souad Belaidi, the first woman to enter the regional leadership structure of the occupational training trade union. Belaidi now also heads the women’s committee for her region and has succeeded in placing women’s issues on the agenda, giving women a taste for asserting their rights. She discusses the role of women and the younger generation relative to their leadership positions in unions. She also talks about her parents’ role as caregivers to her children, allowing her to dedicate time to her work and cause. 

Israel: Poverty Report Expected to Show Decline in Elderly Poor (January 25, 2007)
The National Insurance Institute reports that the number of elderly Israelis - who are defined as poor - decreased. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expected such results, which are the obvious consequence of the increase to old-age stipends. In mid-2005, the National Insurance Institute adjusted all its subsidies, especially those concerning the elderly and the widows. Since then, the poverty rate among the elderly dropped from 25.1 to 24.4 percent.

Egypt: 5 million Elderly Egyptians Dream of a Decent Life (January 6 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
Elderly Egyptians have formally requested a national council which will support elder rights in the country. Still others have asked for concrete laws to protect senior citizens from elderly abuse. One example of such abuse, the growing trend of family members to expel the elderly from their homes and onto the streets, demonstrates the need for legal protection. The government on its part has said that it is investigating the issue of a national council to serve elder Egyptians. However, activists say that over a period of seven years, nothing much has been done to protect the rights of senior citizens. Currently 5 million senior citizens live in Egypt; this number is expected to increase to 13 million by the year 2030.

Palestine: Report: 117,000 Senior Citizens - Many Live in Poverty (October 15th 2006)
(Article in Arabic)
A recent report has showed that of the 117,000 elderly persons currently living in the occupied Palestinian territories, 36.7% of them live in poverty. The report reveals that older persons are somewhat satisfied with the quantity and quality of food they can access, but unsatisfied with the amount of pension income support they receive. Though researchers expect the number of aged persons in Palestine to increase to 172,000 by the year 2020, they do not expect that their percentages will increase relative to the entire Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank. 

Egypt: Children, Along with Poverty, Loneliness, and Government Bureaucracy Drive Older Persons into the Streets (2005)
(Article in Arabic)
Egyptian people see more and more elderly beggars in the street. In many situations, the adult children have forced their parents out of their homes. They do not wish to take care of them any longer. “The wife of my only son kicked me out of the house and I found myself on the street unprotected and with no money,” said one elderly woman. “I never imagined that I’d be begging on the street after wasting my life on my only son who supported his wife as she kicked me out. I would rather die here than go back to my son.” An elderly man said he ran away because it pained him to see his son struggling to support the entire family. “I would die every day when I’d see my son unable to meet the demands of his wife and five children and my own demands. I wanted to run away and depend on myself.” Government support services for old people, such as home care, are lacking due to bureaucratic problems. In the case where services are available, they are limited and difficult to access, especially for small villagers

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Reports

World: Report on an Inter-Agency Review Conducted by HelpAge International (November 2007)
HelpAge International prepared this report for the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a unique forum involving key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners, in order to “facilitate an inter-agency review of proposed IASC actions in relation to meeting the needs of older people in humanitarian response.” The overall conclusion is that there are several aspects of current practice, which do not adequately meet the needs of this particular vulnerable group, and a wide-ranging recognition on the part of government, IASC and NGO partners that change is required. 

World: Intergenerational Solidarity and Conflict (October 2007)
According to this report, two criteria influence intergenerational relations. First, ‘macrogens’ that refers to the macro level of a society and how different generations perceive each other. On the other hand, ‘microgens’ is the micro level of a society, the level of individuals in their own family. Contrary to many researchers, the authors argue that intergenerational solidarity will remain present and that a ‘war between generations’ is a fiction. A relief!

World: Baby Boomers and Adult Ageing: Issues for Social and Public Policy (September 2007)

Will baby boomers put more pressure on social policy to influence positive and healthy ageing than did earlier generations of older people? Yes. Given the increasing number of older persons in the world due to advances in technology and medicine, baby boomers are redefining what old age and ageing mean. Inevitably, this population will have more control over policy issues that concern their quality of life. Authors of this short study advise current policy makers to respond to the interests of this group and to create new directions for future research on health and care services for older people.

World: Global Age-friendly Cities: A Guide (September 2007)
The purpose of this World Health Organization Guide is to encourage cities to become more age-friendly. Based on consultations with older people in 33 cities in 22 countries, the Guide identifies the key physical, social and services attributes of age-friendly urban settings. The checklist of age-friendly features includes such specific items as sufficient public benches that are well-situated, well-maintained and safe. It also shows the need for sufficient public toilets that are clean, secure, and accessible by people with disabilities, and such general items as a civic culture that respects and includes older persons. 

World: Report: Wages and Ageing: Is There Evidence for the “Inverse-U” Profile? (August 2007)
(PDF Format, 30 p.)
The report assessed how the wages of employees change as individuals grow older. For a long time it was assumed that individual wages have an “inverse-U” shape without specific documented proof. The paper analyzes the movement of wages according to age variables, presenting the analysis in a comparative context for Britain and Germany for the period 1995-2004. The report finds that there is a little evidence that wages fall with age.

Briefing Paper: The UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People 2007 (June 2007)
(PDF Format, 39 p.)
Following the Second Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15, 2007), GAA features a survey conducted by London-based Action on Elder Abuse to identify elder abuse in the UK. According to the study, elder abuse often happens within older people’s own homes. Partners neglect the sick partners (62%), and family members, neighbors or domiciliary care workers are most likely to steal from the older person. To learn more about the elder abuse in UK, see Report Highlights 'Elder Abuse' (Scotland) and Wales Elderly are the Most Abused (Wales). For the situation in India, see Message of Hope for 77 Million Elderly People in India; for the situation in the Czech Republic, see One in Eight Czech Elderly People Maltreated

Report: Olympics Displace 2 Million (June 5, 2007)

In preparing for the Olympic games every four years, host countries have displaced many minorities--mainly the homeless, the poor, and the elderly. The report highlights the effects of the Olympics in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens. More than 2 million people have been displaced in the past 20 years. The report also stated that 1.25 million people have already been displaced in preparation for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, although the Chinese government denies the figures as groundless. (For the full report, click here.)

World: Report of the Independent Expert on the Question of Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, Arjun Sengupta (May 2007)
(PDF Format, 24 p.)
This report “analyses the different characteristics of the conditions of extreme poverty, namely income poverty, human development poverty and social exclusion, so that they can be linked to the conditions of deprivation of human rights.” The report notes several positive approaches to fight poverty, including social safety nets targeting vulnerable populations, such as older persons in countries like Bangladesh and Nepal - two countries which have implemented social pensions. In addition, the report looks at poverty reduction in the European Union through social protection and social inclusion. While it applauds the efforts of modernizing and strengthening social protection measures, the report warns that the EU’s health system remains ill equipped for their ageing populations, particularly in terms of long-term care. 

World: The New Agenda for an Older Workforce (April 2007)
Between 2025 and 2030, 12 million people a year will exit the global workforce. While employers have done much in recent years to provide better work-life balance for working parents, they have not yet gained a full understanding of what work-life balance means to the older worker. National governments need to become an instrument of change and require employers to take action to address the recruitment and retention of older workers through new incentives and stronger requirements.

World: Demographic Influences on Saving-Investment Balances in Developing and Developed Economies (April 2007)
This report studies the demographic trends to understand the evolution of saving-investment imbalances, exchange rates, and capital flows between “North” and “South.” Northern economies face difficulties due to their aging population while lower-income Southern nations are living through their demographic transition. On one hand, the proportion of older persons rises sharply and on the other hand, children become more numerous, which changes the ratio of people of working age. Demographics also have an impact on Northern economies that are affected by a drop in savings; this threatens the growth of Southern economies since they depend a lot on importing Northern savings. 

Report: Why Population Aging Matters: A Global Perspective (March 2007)
Growing numbers of older persons are transforming the global population. Global aging affects on economic growth, sustainability of families and the ability of states to provide resources and international relations. Moreover, researchers predict a large increase in disability caused by age-related diseases around the world. The global community needs to take on the challenge of planning for this transformation sooner rather than later. 

Report: Voluntary and Involuntary Early Retirement: An International Analysis (March 2007)
Over the past fifty years, people have begun to choose earlier retirement, making it one of the major developments in labor markets. Researchers conducted an international analysis about early retirement, looking at whether it was voluntary or an involuntary decision. In the main, they found that most workers did not want to retire early. According to this analysis, strong discrimination against older workers, particularly in Europe, pushed older workers out of the workforce.

Report: Trends in Severe Disability among Elderly People: Assessing the Evidence in 12 OECD Countries and the Future Implications (March 30, 2007)
This study investigates the rate of dependency of elder persons in 12 OECD countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study found that Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States are experiencing a decline in disability of elder people, while Belgium, Japan, and Sweden are witnessing an increase in elderly disability. However, policymakers should be wary not to count on a potential decrease in dependency rates because as the population continues to age, healthcare expenditures - specifically long term care costs - will continue to increase.

World: Saving and Demographic Change: The Global Dimension (February 2007)
This report studies the correlation between the age composition of the population and nations’ rates of saving and investment. In 2005, Bernanke (who is now the head of the US Federal Reserve Board) declared that demographic change would exert a positive effect on saving in industrial countries. The authors disprove this analysis with a large international study that finds that population aging is and will have a negative influence on saving. 

World: UN Report Predicts Older People to Triple by 2050 (March 13, 2007)
The 2006 revision of "World Population Prospects" by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division predicts that the number of people aged 60 and older may nearly triple to 2 billion by 2050. According to this calculation, only the populations of the less developed regions will still grow. While some populations in countries as Germany, Japan, or South Korea will be lower than they are now, the populations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, or the US are expected to triple by 2050. Find below complementary information.

UN Report: World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision – Population Ageing (March 2007)
This UN report on prospects for the world population highlights worldwide ageing. The authors lay out some of the challenges that will face societies as their citizens get older.

World: Why Population Aging Matters, a Global Perspective (March 2007)
The current aging population shows the progress of our societies. People are now living longer and generally healthier lives. For the first time, people age 65 and over will outnumber children under age 5. This report studies this phenomenon through nine emerging trends in global aging. These include the rising number of oldest old, the emergence of new chronic diseases, the changing family structures, the evolution of social insurance systems to make them sustainable. As is often said, aging may cause changes in the economy, but as the report points out, aging brings “exciting opportunities for economic expansion and cross-national collaboration.”

World: HelpAge International: Equal Treatments, Equal Rights, Realising Older People’s Rights (February 9, 2007)
This HelpAge International presentation demonstrates how advocating for older people’s rights is essential to tackling poverty.  In fact, the rights of millions of older people across the world are still denied. They experience isolation, poverty, violence and abuse and have limited access to health services, education and legal protection. Facing this situation, governments, development partners, civil society and older people themselves can contribute to the realisation of older people’s rights.

World: Commission on Population and Development: Report of the Secretary General: World Population Monitoring, Focusing on the Changing Age Structures and their Implications for Development (January 18, 2007)
In April 2007, the Commission on Population and Development gathered to discuss changes in the demographics of aging and their impact on development. GAA posts here the report of the Secretary General. After depicting the changing population age structures, his report highlights some of the economic impacts and policy responses. The report also notes the importance of inter-generational transfers. Please click here to read the Arabic, the French and the Spanish versions.

Articles

World: Migrant Money Flow: A $300 Billion Current (November 18, 2007)
Migrants from poor countries send home about $300 billion a year, according to a new study from the World Bank. It is difficult to say exactly how much money is flowing and where. Migrants try to help their families, including their aged parents, with financial support. Donald F. Terry, an official at the Inter American Development Bank, has tried to publicize the importance of remittances. He wants policies that would reduce the costs of sending money, help migrants open bank accounts in their home countries, and more. 

World: Elderly Get to Grips with Gadgets (September 6, 2007)
With populations aging everywhere in the world, technologies that work well with older persons become increasingly important. Instead of inventing “smart houses” for older persons, simple changes or additions to household items can benefit the elderly significantly. Older persons have fairly basic technological needs, concentrated on items they use daily, such as a can opener. Unfortunately, older persons don’t have much input into the design of such objects. 

World: Designing for the Elderly: Targeting the Wallet of the Voice of Experience (September 1, 2007)
This article urges designers not to limit themselves to “products specifically marketed to the aged or elderly,” but instead, design products universally to avoid stereotyping. Designers have to re-think what they used to consider traditional design for the elderly as “the taste of recent retirees is much more similar to that of 30-year olds.”

World: Inadequate Data Affecting Flow of Aid to Elderly HIV/AIDS Care Givers (July 31, 2007)
HelpAge International, a London-based NGO, recently organized a forum to discuss the issue of elderly caregivers in areas ravaged by HIV. Jo Mayer, HIV and AIDS Coordinator at HelpAge, says that older persons often “feel depressed because they have little or no information about HIV (and) so cannot communicate effectively to their grandchildren to help protect them.” Participants recommended including older persons and the particular needs of older caregivers in existing policies.

World : Nissan Must Adapt to the Aging Market, According to its CEO Carlos Ghosn (July 23, 2007)
(Article in French)
Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, announced to the engineers that, henceforth, cars should meet older persons’ needs. He’s focusing on older persons because the aging population is growing fast, and they have strong purchasing power. Vehicles will have to be progressively equipped with “driving assistance,” such as oval steering wheels that will be easier to handle, electronic braking systems and assistance for getting into or out of the car.

World: Granny Power for Development (June 18, 2007)
FAO Nutrition Expert William Clay says that grandmothers represent “an abundant resource for development in all countries that is vastly under-utilized.” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations acknowledged the role grandmothers play in communal development. The organization calls for greater inclusion of older women in growth strategies. 

World: Elder Persons Seen as an Economic Blessing (May 25, 2007)
(Article in Arabic)
A report published by the Oxford Institute of Aging found that elder persons are an economic and social blessing, contrary to the notion that they are a burden. The study surveyed 21,000 senior citizens in 21 countries. Results showed that elder persons contributed millions of dollars to the economy, unrecognized by many members of society. In the United States, for example, people over 60 volunteer for a total of 3.67 million hours, a value of around $19,000,000.

World: Shaping the Social Dimension of Globalisation (May 8, 2007)

Prior to the G8 meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, the G8 Labour and Employment Ministers, along with ILO and the OECD representatives, discussed the social effects of globalization. The Ministers urged governments to give special attention to older age groups “to promote longer labour market attachment and ensure that they have the knowledge and tools they need to contribute to the workforce.” In addition, the Ministers called for strengthened and broadened social protection to safeguard workers and their families in the midst of a globalized economy. The Ministers want to find ways to help poor countries “to broaden, strengthen and implement effective social protection systems,” as a means to reduce poverty. Also see the G8 summit Declaration on “Growth and Responsibility in the World Economy.”

World: Aging but not Obsolete (April 11, 2007)
The global number of persons aged 60 and over is expected to triple by 2050 to reach about 2 billion. Last week, the UN Commission on Population and Development gathered in order to highlight the stakes raised as populations age. This article reports several statements of many speakers, dealing with older workers, later retirement and challenges related to pensions and health care in both developing and developed countries.

World: People Living Longer in Poor Countries (April 11, 2007)
During the Commission on Population and Development conference occurring at the UN this week, an increasing trend was noted: people are living longer in developing countries. This means that these countries must cope with health challenges common to an aging population. Dr. Somnath Chatterji, team leader of WHO’s Multi-Country Studies Unit, concluded that some countries “will grow older before they grow richer.”

World: States Should Promote Jobs and Education for Older People- UN Commission (April 3, 2007)
The United Nations Commission on Population and Development calls on governments to tackle the consequences of global population aging. States should encourage older persons to stay in the workforce as well as obtaining more education. In short, older persons will gain greater self-reliance if they have a chance to learn and to get a decent job.

World: The Fine Art of Dying Well (March 1, 2007)
Dying well may be a question of timing. It may also be a question of luck. The death of Princess Diana overshadowed the death of a great saint of our time, Mother Theresa. Death may also be stolen. In 1964, Kitty Genovese was murdered in her street. Many neighbors heard her scream, no one helped. At 28 years of age, her death led to a notoriety of her name, symbolizing pitiless American cities and the great loss of moral responsibility that results from living in anonymous cities. Death may also be a great tool of fanaticism. The suicide bomber gives his death the worst motives: self-creation through the alienation of others. He has this great power of owning his own death and the even greater power of dispossessing his victims of theirs.

World: Job Creation and Job Destruction over the Life Cycle: The Older Workers in the Spotlight (February 2007) 
This paper extends the job creation - job destruction approach to the labor market to take into account of the life-cycle of workers. Forward looking decisions about hiring and firing depend on the time over which the workers can recoup adjustment costs. By putting the emphasis on a life cycle view of the labor market, both for understanding supply and demand characteristics, and for implementing welfare-improving policies, this paper finds that “firing taxes” and unemployment benefits introduce a bias in favor of older workers.

World: Davos - Union Delegation Attacks "Buy it, Strip it, Flip it" Private Equity Behaviour (January 2007)
A delegation of twelve union leaders at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos launched an attack on private equity firms and hedge funds claiming that they undermine decent employment, sustainable business and proper pensions. The delegation represents the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which has also criticized the lack of initiative by businesses to curb global warming.

World: World Economic Forum - Trade Unions Challenge Business Leaders on Company Tax, Private Equity and Corporate Responsibility (January 23, 2007)
A delegation of twelve union leaders will address the World Economic Forum this week in their annual meeting in Davos discussing corporate taxation, the role of private equity investment and the social and environmental responsibilities of business. The delegation will also launch the “Decent Work, Decent Life” campaign that calls on companies to take the initiative on environmental issues as well as offering decent jobs to help alleviate poverty. Part of the campaign is to assure proper compensation and pensions for their workers.

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