AARP
AARP’s international work is focused on highlighting best global policies, models and innovations, and this edition of The Journal features leading global voices that offer perspective and experience on trends and opportunities.

Those of us working in the field of global aging are familiar with the numbers. Current demographic trends and projections are unprecedented. The United Nations reports that the number of persons over the age of 60 will more than double by 2050, exceeding 2 billion people and surpassing the number of children (15 and under) for the first time in history. But this change is upon us now and population aging is happening in all regions of the world. Aging demands a response and compels us to reimagine our institutions and imagine the possibilities for living our best lives.

As a social change organization, AARP is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. To meet this objective, we work with all sectors of society and engage globally to generate collective action. AARP’s international work is focused on highlighting best global policies, models and innovations, and this edition of The Journal features leading global voices that offer perspective and experience on trends and opportunities. From noted authors, to top-level government officials and representatives from business and academia, The Journal highlights local efforts and broader initiatives that are embracing demographic change. For example, our Spotlight section provides an opportunity to get to know Toby Porter, the new CEO of HelpAge International, an organization focused on helping the world’s most vulnerable older citizens.

 

To best approach the megatrend of aging requires a reexamination of process and tactics, and AARP is no exception to reinvention.   In his column, AARP CEO A. Barry Rand describes how AARP has adapted over recent years to better help people age with dignity and purpose and live their best life.  Recognizing the ever-changing world in which we live, AARP has launched Life Reimagined to help people thrive in the “Age of Possibilities.”  Supporting the interests and tapping the potential of people 50 and older enhances the individual experience and lets us imagine a new Age.

 

In our Big Picture section, Debra Whitman, AARP’s Executive Vice President for Policy, Strategy and International Affairs, identifies ten mysteries in aging policy that need to be addressed.  This year, we should all focus on finding solutions to the challenges of global aging so that we all can better prepare for later life.  More than ever, 2014 presents a unique opportunity to embed aging in the planning and development of our institutions.  All of us need to be cognizant of the real possibilities offered by longevity.

 

Driving the longevity revolution in the United States, with an impact on all aspects of society, are the baby boomers. This cohort, 76 million strong, is defining longevity and redefining norms, standards and expectations. We are pleased to feature humorist P.J. O’Rourke to describe how the boomers, who invented contemporary adolescence, are now redefining adulthood and retirement. O’Rourke notes that the boomers’ unique vision of the future has had a “profound and permanent effect on American life.”

 

Of course aging is a global phenomenon. As Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission reports, “Aging knows no borders.” The European Union has been focused on its aging population, advancing initiatives that promote healthier and more active lives. The EU is working to meet changing needs by driving innovations that work locally and can be scaled up internationally.

 

But how are we doing? How well are countries facilitating active aging and orienting policies to embrace and enable health and security for older people? In this edition, Asghar Zaidi, Professor of International Social Policy at the University of Southampton, lets us know through the Active Aging Index (AAI). The AAI is an analytical tool that tracks progress and helps governments enact policies that empower older people to realize their potential and age with security and independence. Developed by the European Union for the EU 27 Member States, the AAI provides quantitative data for 22 measures across four domains to identify opportunities for improvement and chart progress over time. AARP worked with Professor Zaidi to include the United States in the AAI,  and he reports on these findings and how countries compare and can improve.

 

While countries need to focus on how best to enable active aging, there is an opportunity in 2014 to bring global attention to the rapid aging of the world’s population. As Paul Ladd of the United Nations’ Development Programme reports, work is underway to establish global goals that will frame sustainable development policies over future years. A global dialogue is occurring now and voices are needed to embed the protection and promotion of older people in these new priorities. Ladd describes this effort and the opportunities to add your input. AARP is engaged in this process and working to ensure that appropriate attention is given to issues that impact the quality of life of older people and account for rapidly aging societies.

 

One issue that is getting global attention and that demonstrates the need for coordinated planning is dementia. In this edition, we feature a series of articles that identify the challenge of this global epidemic, demonstrate the potential for better care at a lower cost, and highlight the need for broad engagement. AARP was pleased to participate in the December 2013 G8 Summit in London that prioritized dementia with promise for improved research, treatment and care. While international collaboration is needed, local initiatives offer learnings, such as the effort to establish Dementia-Friendly Communities in the United Kingdom and a holistic approach to improving services and care at a center in Scotland. Additionally, the health section also includes lessons from Japan for increasing life expectancy and from the UK on how people can maintain personal connections in later life.

 

The concept of dementia-friendly communities can build on and enhance broader efforts. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities is affiliated with the World Health Organization’s program to prepare for the megatrends of population aging and urbanization. As of January, 2014, there are 20 members in the AARP Network, and we feature best practices from these communities and from around the world. Louise Plouffe, one of the originators of WHO Network, and Ina Voelcker, trace the history of this movement from concept to achievement and describe how it offers a national, regional and global means of exchange.

 

Perhaps no issue resonates across borders and across sectors more than extending working lives. In 2014, AARP International will, once again, manage the AARP Best Employers International (BEI) program. AARP will recognize innovative practices in age management in September and hold regional events to highlight our award winners and their policies into 2015. We are pleased to feature award winners NEA (international winner from Singapore) and Michelin North America (US winner) to see how they are including and managing diverse talent in the workplace. Eun-Kyung Park, the CEO of Senior Partners in Korea, one of our partners for the BEI program, reports on how population aging creates opportunities for government and business to create policies and markets to the benefit of all. She also notes that older Koreans are reimagining their later years and are increasingly focused on “how to spend old age more actively.”

 

The Personal Time section covers examples of how people are imagining new possibilities for life after 50 that explore new opportunities and utilize skills for self-discovery and purpose-driven exchange. For many 50+ adults, travel is a top priority, and we feature a report from Hilton Worldwide on how multigenerational vacations afford time with family visits close to home and also in new locations. We also report on an opportunity to combine travel with life experience. AARP has signed an agreement with the Chinese government that facilitates talent exchange for Americans in China that enhances individual experiences while offering skills and knowledge for mutual benefit. Also in this edition, AARP is pleased to spotlight a new magazine in Finland, where nearly half the country is 50+, that reports on new possibilities for this demographic.

 

AARP represents over 37 million people that are aged 50 and over. We want to ensure secured lives for all and enable our members to live their best lives. AARP advocates for social change at the personal, community, national and international level and works with governments, the private sector and civil society in ways that benefit individuals and their communities. We produce this Journal to elevate the issue of aging and place it on the international agenda. The world’s population is aging and we, individually and globally, have an opportunity to imagine new possibilities that enhance the individual experience and benefit society as a whole.

 

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3/15/2014 Distiguish Josh Collet To my humble view , this edition of the AARP International Journal edition is a First of a kind Collaborative roadmap addressing the Longevity Economy Challanges in the Longevity & Global Aging emerging sustainable industry. This is what " Homage for Life " an Israeli Sociatel Bussiness Entreprenuership is all about.( 2005-2014). Shoshan Shacham spshoshan.shacham@gmail.com www.shacham3i.com

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