Country Support

Our Country Support Initiative provides an avenue through which Global Ageing Network members can build supporting relationships with others in need of resources for use in carrying out their mission of care for the elderly.

The Country Support Initiative was conceived during IAHSA’s 8th International Conference in London in July 2009 when providers from Australia met Marigold Mncube, Matron of the Emseni Old Age Home in South Africa and spontaneously formed a ‘fund raising’ event to support Emseni. Since that time, a number of initiatives have evolved.

The Global Ageing Network’s role is to facilitate connections between interested parties, on a country-to-country level.

Ageing in Cameroon: An Interview with Francis Njuakom (Video)

During his visit with LeadingAge and IAHSA staff last month, Francis Njuakom, Chief Executive of Community Development Volunteers for Technical Assistance (CDVTA Cameroon) sat down with Gene Mitchell, Editor of LeadingAge Magazine to provide us with a first-hand account of the ageing experience in his country and the work his organization has done to promote elder rights and to improve the quality of care and resources for the Cameroon’s elder population.

The interview is part of IAHSA’s Member Spotlight series which allows our members to share their personal journeys into aged care, the unique experiences and challenges faced in their countries and the contributions they have made towards making a positive difference in the lives of older people.

Francis Njuakom Interview Pt. 1: “Why did you begin working with older people?

Francis Njuakom Interview Pt. 2: “What is the general attitude toward older people and aging in Cameroon?


Francis Njuakom Interview Pt. 3: “How are care and services delivered to older people in Cameroon?

Francis Njuakom Interview Pt. 4: “Where does CDVTA’s funding go?

Francis Njuakom Interview Pt. 5: “Can you tell me about the older people’s clubs?

Francis Njuakom Interview Pt. 6: “Can you describe the goat-rearing project?

To learn more about Francis Njuakom, check out our Member Spotlight post from his visit last month!

To learn more about the work and achievements of CDVTA Cameroon, click here.

To learn more about Francis’s journey in the U.S. (and to see photos), click Here.

Rethinking Age Care, Services and Supports

Countries in the developed world are–of necessity–engaged in rethinking their approach to aged care, services and supports. Assumptions of the past about utilization and philosophy of care are being replaced by a more distrubuted, consumer-centric mindset.

In Switzerland, CURAVIVA has put forth a vision in which the role of providers is to enable people in need of long-term services and supports to live in their preferred home environment. The 2030 Residential and Care Model of CURAVIVA Switzerland stresses the importance of community and maximizing the ability of people to live a “full life” in their preferred social setting and living space. Specialized care will address dementia, palliative care and other more acute needs. As CURAVIVA writes, “a generational change in which ‘nothing will ever be the same again” will take place for the first time in history. This fact alone should obviate any simple continuation of the exiting long-term care scheme.

Similarly, the recently released the Australian Aged Care Roadmap aims for aged care that is sustainable and consumer-led in which consumers have increased choice and control of the care and support they receive as well as where, how and when they receive it. This vision assumes consumers are proactive in planning for their future care needs, that a single and independent assessment process drives care decisions and that there is a well-led and well-trained workforce.

Among the driving principles is the understanding that consumers will be active partners throughout the care journey and be part of decision-making processes. And, to support that,”a light touch approach to regulation will give providers freedom to be innovative on how they deliver services.”

What underscores these two visions is an unmistakable understanding that consumers, rather than providers, will drive how, when and where care, services and supports are delivered.

Providers will need to be flexible and able to adjust to being supports and partners in the ageing journey rather than the drivers of a model of care.

Japan Addresses Its Ageing Population

Japan’s population is the oldest on earth, with 25% of its population over 65. Over the next decade, the population of over 75 years old in greater Tokyo will grow by 1.75 million.

What does nation do when 25% of its population is age 65 and over? Japan has two approaches.

First, it becomes a test bed of innovation.

IBM, Apple and Japan Post Group joined together to equip Japan’s older adults with iPads enabling to help them communication with family and friends, monitor their health and buy goods and services. A vast Japanese geek squad will set up the iPads and train older people on their use.

While only a pilot at this stage, the potential to improve lives through connections and engagement—if successful—is vast.

Japan is also considering a proposal aimed at repopulating rural areas by encouraging older people in Tokyo to move to the countryside. The idea is to improve rural economies while addressing the over-crowding of elderly services in Tokyo.  Japan has identified 41 regional areas that could take the pressure off of Tokyo. This prospect is still at the proposal stage with much debate to come.