"Independence & Interdependence"
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 a period of withdrawal from social interactions as the elder reflected on a life lived and prepared for an inevitable death. This viewpoint has changed dramatically in recent years with new opportunities for enhancing their quality of life, better medical care, support services and life extension technologies available. Similarly, changing demographic compositions of many low-fertility nations have made the elderly more essential to maintaining 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.
This year’s AGen conference theme will take the reflective concepts of “Independence and interdependence” as its lens, exploring any number of questions and issues surrounding the independence and interdependence of individuals within society, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, from sociological studies to those in politics and policy.
An example area of study would be a focus on assistive devices that help an aging population maintain independence and get the help they need to be autonomous, including 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. 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 tasks 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. There is also the theme of support services; how can family and support programmes 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 institutionalisation and 24-hour care.
These are only a few of the broad themes on which we seek research papers and posters for AGen2019, and we welcome any paper or analysis which addresses the conference theme of “Independence and interdependence”.
Japan – The Local Context
While many advanced economies are experiencing population slowdown, both declining birth rates and an aging population, Japan is the first to experience population decline in the modern period and is now the country with the world’s oldest population. It has an excellent and comprehensive late life care plan, and care provision is very much a public, social concern and not an exclusively private concern with policy ramifications. Its economy has shown resilience in the face of this existential threat as it has been forced to adapt and this has lead to an enormous amount of investment, research and development.
In conjunction with our Global Partners, we look forward to extending you a warm welcome in 2019.
Haruko Satoh, Osaka University, Japan
James W. McNally, University of Michigan & NACDA Program on Aging, USA
Hiroshi Ishida, University of Tokyo, Japan
Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan
Sela V. Panapasa, University of Michigan, USA
IAFOR Research Centre (IRC) – “Innovation and Value Initiative”
The IAFOR Research Centre (IRC) is housed within Osaka University’s School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), and in June 2018 the IRC began an ambitious new “Innovation and Value Initiative”. Officially launched at the United Nations in a special UN-IAFOR Collaborative Session, the initiative seeks to bring together the best in interdisciplinary research around the concept of value, on how value can be recognised, and measured, and how this can help us address issues and solve problems, from the local to the global.
Why Join an IAFOR Conference?
The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) welcomes academics from all over the world to our interdisciplinary conferences held in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Our events provide a unique international, intercultural and interdisciplinary environment in which to hear the latest world-class research and network with leading academics, professionals and practitioners.
Our conferences are meticulously planned under the direction of prominent academics to ensure that they offer programmes of the highest level, and are supported by some of the world’s leading academic institutions, including the University of London (UK), Virginia Tech (USA), University of Barcelona (Spain), Waseda University (Japan), University of Sussex (UK), Medill School of Journalism (USA), Moscow State University (Russia) and The University of Tokyo (Japan).
By facilitating dialogue between the world’s academics and thought leaders, IAFOR has become a pioneer in providing the research avenues and visionary development solutions that are necessary in our rapidly emerging globalised world. We welcome you to engage in this expanding global academic community of individuals and network of institutions, and look forward to seeing you at one of our future events.