Plenary Panels

Plenary Panel Day 1: Innovations in Aged Care and Program Delivery

Confirmed speakers include:
– Ms Lynda O’Grady, Aged Care Financing Authority (Australia)
– Professor Sarah Harper, The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing (UK)
– Dr John Beard,
World Health Organization


Providing efficient and effective aged care services is one of the greatest public policy concerns currently facing governments today. 

A radical shift in thought, innovation, and action is required in the development of models and modes of care to meet the expectations of future generations of older people.  Against the backdrop of globalisation and urbanisation, country and regional trends in population ageing provide unique opportunities to examine the effectiveness of aged care policy and the applicability of various models of care to countries with younger demographic profiles.

Migration is now an essential, inevitable and beneficial component of the economic and social life of every country and region.  With high rates of immigration and of internal migration to urban areas over several decades many countries are now experiencing rapidly ageing ethno-cultural populations.  This growth and complexity provides a range of challenges for practitioners and policy makers.  The absence of an interface between mainstream and ethno-cultural services has impacted negatively on knowledge sharing and capacity building to prepare the general community, health professionals, care providers and families with cultural competencies to support the cultural diversity of older adults and their families.

Increasing longevity is celebrated but is not without its complexities and compromises – increasing frailty leading to falls and fractures, cognitive deficits often resulting in serious functional changes and a loss of identity, and loneliness leading to depression are but a few of the many realities for older people.  The demand for intensive rehabilitation and therapy based services to improve functioning of older people, rather than just maintaining the status quo means increased costs.  Older people and their families want greater choice in care options at the same time that governments worldwide are seeking to reduce spending.  Accordingly options such as long term care insurance are being considered to enable the expectations of current and future generations of older people to be addressed.

Quality of care represents one of the most fundamental rights for users of health care system with standards and systems differing in general practice from country to country.  Gathering further evidence and innovations in care for older people is not just an option, but a responsibility for practitioners and researchers.

In the context of disasters it has been well documented that older people are amongst the most vulnerable and care providers have a significant responsibility to ensure their clients’ safety in environmental and man-made disasters.  Risks can be minimised with demonstrated planning and sharing of good practice models is a priority.

Experts and leaders in the field of care innovation and evidence based aged care policy will inform and debate some of the most pressing issues of the current and new eras in care to ensure older people are able to age in a society where their care needs are realised, prioritised and met. This panel provides the opportunity to share best practices, learn from those tasked with meeting the challenges of an ageing population and create meaningful global knowledge mobilisation networks. 

Plenary Panel Day 2: Age-friendly Cities and Communities – ‘Creating Enabling Environments’

Confirmed speakers include:
– Professor Suzanne Garon, Université de Sherbrooke
– Mr Gertjan Baars, PricewaterhouseCoopers
– Dr Debra Whitman, AARP


Developing environments responsive to the aspirations and needs of older people has become a major concern for social and public policy.  On the political and policy front, cities and communities being more age-friendly is an increasing that builds on the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities toward an age-friendly world.

Population ageing poses a number of challenges not only for policy makers but increasingly for urban planners.  The number, location, health, functional ability of the older population will impact on everything from seating design, the width of our footpaths, to the way we plan transport, roads, amenities, public spaces and housing.  More and more people are ageing in place which means our communities, cities, regions and towns need to accommodate the mobility of older people.

Urban and town planners have an enormous opportunity to help shape the future of a built enabling environment that responds to the needs of people of all ages and the inclusion of older people across the broad spectrum abilities during the life course.  The Age-friendly Cities and Communities framework can also be an important part in the re-development of cities and communities after disasters.  Creating an enabling community for all from the beginning can become a tool in preventing future losses in disasters as roads and houses can be built with the environment and population in mind which would ensure a safer community.

This Plenary panel aims to provide a critical perspective on what has been termed ‘age-friendly cities and communities’ by shifting the focus from questions such as ‘What is an ideal city/community for older people?’ to the question of ‘How age-friendly are cities and communities?’  

This approach, it is argued, might be more suited to deal with the complexities of cities and communities as sites of interlocking and conflicting commercial, social, and political interests.  This Plenary is developed to explore: first, the main factors driving the age-friendly debate; second, constraints and opportunities for older people living in urban environments; third, options for a critical social policy; fourth, the challenges and opportunities of a disaster prone world; and fifth, examples of involving older people in the development of age-friendly and disaster prepared environments.

Plenary Panel Day 3: Post Sendai: Engaging and enlisting older people in sustainable development and disaster risk reduction at the local level

Confirmed speakers include:
– Mr Toby Porter, HelpAge International
– Mr Alex Ross, WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre) 



Disasters including epidemics impact communities across all age cohorts with devastating consequences. Older people are a vulnerable group and their vulnerabilities are generally associated with advanced age, physical and sensory frailty, pre-existing health conditions, and social and economic constraints. On the other hand active and healthy older people are an invaluable asset in reducing risk in disasters and make significant social and economic contributions to community and society with their years of knowledge, skills and wisdom.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 arising from the 2015 UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction discussed the importance of adopting a broader, person-centered preventative approach to disaster risk. This included engaging relevant stakeholders in the design and implementation of policies, plans and standards.

Older people should be considered a critical stakeholder groups in the discussion of risk reduction; however, they were not a priority at the UN Conference and were only mentioned twice in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Epidemics and pandemics can be disasters in their own right, with increased risks in disaster and post disaster situations. The importance of immunisation to minimise major preventable health issues must be a priority across all sectors of society and recognised as a significant preventative strategy. Current advocacy efforts to promote the importance of immunisation have largely focused on children (and appropriately so), yet research suggests that older people have an increased risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases. Adult immunisation rates will not be increased until the fundamental lack of awareness about the benefits of vaccinations and failure of individuals and health practitioners to adhere to research based recommendations about vaccines are addressed. It is unacceptable that these diseases continue to adversely affect the quality of life of older people when solutions are known, easily accessible and cost-effective.

Older people are almost absent in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction but also in the promotion of a life course approach to immunisation. Therefore, the IFA 13th Global Conference on Ageing is a platform to highlight the importance of including older people in the discussion and implementation of policies surrounding disaster management and vaccinations.

This Plenary Panel will explore frameworks in disaster risk reduction and ageing communities and explore new conversations that will benefit both. Speakers will help delegates rethink the role and approaches in engaging older people in disaster risk reduction and response. Working to achieve disaster readiness is an excellent opportunity to identify the needs of older people and highlight their ability to contribute to resilient communities in line with age-friendly cities and communities principles.

The Plenary Panel will also demonstrate that promoting a life course approach to vaccinations while being a ‘thoughtful approach’ is without substance if there is no consensus of the actions required to firmly position the evidence in a policy framework. Awareness can be generated in a well-positioned policy framework about the importance of immunisation and having that awareness translate into increased immunisation coverage globally.

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Key Dates

Call for Late Abstracts
Now Open
Now Open
Author registration deadline (First Call for Abstracts)
Saturday 30 January 2016
Author registration deadline (Late Call for Abstracts)
Tuesday 22 March 2016
Early bird registration deadline
Tuesday 22 March 2016
Conference dates
Tuesday 21 - Thursday 23 June 2016

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