"Surviving and Thriving in Times of Change"
Perspectives on the aging lifecourse and the role of the elderly within society have undergone massive change in the past decades. Once the later stages of aging were seen as period of withdrawal from social interactions as the elder reflected on a life lived and prepared for and inevitable death. This viewpoint has changed dramatically in recent years as new opportunities for enhancing their quality of life, better medical care, support services and life extension technologies Similarly, changing demographic composition of many low fertility nations have made the elderly more essential to maintain the workforce and offer opportunities for older adults to remain economically active long after traditional retirement ages. The growth of the elderly population has also encouraged growth in the institutional and home care industries, often creating a growing demand for immigrants to provide services to the growing number of elders who require assistance to maintain an independent lifestyle.
The dynamic tension of surviving versus thriving as reflected conference theme encapsulates the new perspective now emerging in gerontological research, that of “resilience”. Traditionally, quality of life among the aged was measured by the concept of frailty, which used measures such as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) to measure loss of functioning, and declines in ability to accomplish task seen as essential to independent living. Under a “resilience” model, however, we seek to measure the aging process from a more positive perspective that focuses on the ability of the elder to maintain an independent life in spite of potential barriers. Once we saw disabled elders as merely surviving with the reduced function associated with senescence, now we seek new ways to help elders thrive and overcome limitations.
The AGen2018 conference seeks to encourage research across a number of broad themes associated with transitions that are changing our views of aging from “surviving” to “thriving”.
One theme is that of “Successful Aging”; what behaviours, activities and choices made across the lifecourse result in a healthier and more active elderly population. This approach takes a life course approach that invites research on studies that look at health and choices at all ages and life stages, and how these choices impact quality of life among the aged.
A second theme is in the growing body of research that looks at “life extension”. This line of research tries to understand the biology of aging and how gene therapy or medicines could be used to increase longevity, creating a growing cohort of centenarians. Research on telomere length, gut bacteria, and other “aging clocks” are still in their infancy but many scientists feel they can slow, if not reverse the aging process. A third theme is that of assistive devices that help an aging population maintain independence and get the help they need to be autonomous. This line of research includes companion robots, exoskeletons, and the field of gerotechnology which has developed an entire series of tools and resources to make living at home more practical and enhances the autonomy of the aged.
Finally, there is the theme of support services; how can family and support programs better assist the aged in remaining independent and productive and what point do we as an individual, family, community, or clinician make a reasoned decision about institutionalization and 24-hour care.
These are only a few of the broad themes we seek research papers and posters for AGen2018. The aged are living longer and thriving in ways that were impossible only a few decades ago. The theme of Surviving and Thriving in Times of Change is particularly reflective of the changing world which the current cohort of elders are entering. AGen2018 welcomes any paper or analysis which address the ways in which change is impacting the lives of the elderly, and the live of the current generations who will join the ranks of the aged in years to come.
The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology 2018 (AGen2018) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2018 (ACSS2018) and The Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment (ACSEE2018). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for any one of these conferences permits attendance in all three within the event.
In conjunction with our Global Partners, including Osaka University, the University of Tokyo and the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), we look forward to extending you a warm welcome in 2018.
Dr James W. McNally, University of Michigan & NACDA Program on Aging, USA
Professor Hiroshi Ishida, University of Tokyo, Japan
Dr Sela V. Panapasa, University of Michigan, USA
Professor Haruko Satoh, Osaka University, Japan
Dr Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan
The AGen2018 Final Abstract Submission Deadline has now passed.
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