National Conference on Ageing
    It is for the first time that a National Conference on Ageing was arranged by Government of India. The Conference was held on 6th and 7th Nov 2012 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi and was inaugurated by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja.

    In the Conference 10 Ministers from different States gave an account of the efforts being put by their respective States for the welfare of Older Persons.Appreciative efforts are being put by Goa, Maharashtra & New Delhi.Many other States were represented by their senior officials. There were delegates representing various Senior Citizens bodies and NGOs from all over India.

    Efforts taken by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for organizing the Conference were commendable.Opportunity was provided for every one to make his/her point for inclusion in the New Draft Policy for Senior Citizens..

    Shehjaar Homes for Senior Citizens made the point very clearly during the conference that the sensitisation/education of the State Departments dealing with NGOs is important and priority as, otherwise , the intent of Central Govt does not get implemented.Case of a file for seeking funding from under Govt approved schemes has not moved from the district social welfare office in Pune for last 21 months because the dealing staff are not aware of the schemes. Media need be used to educate the public and the dealing Govt Departments about the approved schemes of GOI.

    The conference focused on 4 important topics :-

    1. Financial and social security.
    2. Healthcare.
    3. Family and Community care.
    4. Special Elderly groups.

    The Conference did achieve the objective of listening to all stakeholders on ageing issues.This will help to review various interventions of central govt, state govt / UT Admins, NGOs and the civil society with the focus on best practices and to prepare a plan of action for effective implementation of various programs for the welfare of senior citizens.

Impressions of Global Conference on Ageing held in Prague (28 May-01 June 2012)
    Courtesy AISCCON NEWS Feb.2012 issue, we came to know about the subject conference. Two of us attended on behalf of SHEHJAAR HOMES FOR SENIOR CITIZENS. This conference indeed was an exceptional experience for us. The conference was hosted by ZIVOT 90,NGO in Czech Republic that promotes the rights and interests of older persons and IFA, International non –government organization working on the issues associated with ageing .The conference was significant as it took place ten years after the last UN World Conference on Ageing in Madrid-2002 where governments agreed upon and adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA).The global conference in Prague offered the platform with its multipartite membership–government departments, NGOs and academic institutions to advance the world-wide deliberations.

    Major focus in the conference was how technology will change the lives of older people and also on the subject of active and healthy ageing, the theme proclaimed by European Commission for 2012.

    We attended one of the many pre-conference events scheduled for 28 May and that was Master Class “Frailty and Vulnerability”. This was held in Charles University Campus. Subjects like ageing of population and emergence of the long lived society, disabilities and rehabilitation was discussed.

    The formal opening ceremony was on 29th May wherein the ministers and government officers of Czech Republic and Canada addressed the gathering of about seven hundred delegates from 62 countries.

    We were very happy to see and hear Dr.Gangadharan (Heritage Foundation, Hyderabad) as the new President of IFA. It was also announced then that the next Global Conference on Ageing will be held in Hyderabad on 10-13 June 2014.It was also great pleasure to see Dr. Vinod Shah (Janaseva Foundation, Pune) also amongst the Directors of IFA on the dias. Dr. Vinod Shah presented a paper and also Mrs. and Dr.Shah participated in poster presentation. The other Indian who presented a paper on elder abuse was Ms. Mala Kapur Shankardass from Delhi.

    It was very interesting to listen to the address of Ms.Helin R Hamlin, the former IFA President who was honoured for her 95 years of age. Lectures and papers were presented in the main forum hall and also in side meeting halls sometimes in sequence and at times in parallel..

    On 29th May, a gala evening (Ballet Performance) at the famous National Theater was arranged for the participants.

    The conference was concluded on the 1st June in the morning by a very assertive moderator Mr. A.Kalache from Brazil who advocated for active ageing.

    A visit was also arranged for some of us on same day to Gerontology Centre in Prague. The centre offered short term accommodation and a day care facility for individuals suffering from Dementia. The center’s surgery ward provides health care to residents living in the nearby old age homes.

    There were many Indian origin participants from countries like UK, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. Lot of printed materials related to the subject of Ageing was on display and was picked up by the interested participants. The conference was very well organized under the leadership of Mr.Jan Lorman , President ZIVOT 90 and Dr. Jane Barratt , Secretary General , IFA.

    For us the conference was very informative and educative.

    Thanks IFA and thanks Prague.

Jaya and MK Raina Shehjaar Homes for Senior Citizens, Pune

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