Forces of Change

By Katie Smith Sloan, Executive Director, IAHSA

Not only are global demographics changing as societies age, but so is the ageing services field.

David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times, suggested that there are 4 big forces of change coursing through modern societies.

  1. Global migration, leading to demographic diversity.

  2. Economic globalization, creating wider opportunities (but also inequality).

  3. Internet access, giving people more choices over what to buy and pay attention to.

  4. Culture of autonomy, valuing individual choice and self-determination.

If that’s not enough, the pace of change is getting faster and faster, giving us a shorter time to adapt.

These changes are transformative and, therefore, bring with them opportunity and a great deal of uncertainty. Each one touches our ageing services work in significant ways: increased diversity of our workforce and those we serve; the challenges of distinguishing our services in the marketplace for an increasingly discerning consumer; the growing population of poor elderly; and changing consumer expectations.

Since we are far from immune from these forces, our task is to embrace them, fold them into our organizations, and do so rapidly.

We need to be bold, proactive and innovative. It demands that we seize opportunities, form strategic partnerships, and provide unparalleled quality in the services we deliver.

It is in times like these that associations are more essential than ever.

The fellowship within the IAHSA community will be key to our future success, as we share our knowledge, support each each other and pool our passions for what we do. In so doing, we will turn changes into opportunities from which older people around the world will benefit.