International Conference on “Care for Older Adults amidst COVID – 19”
Published on July 15, 2022
December 19, 2022 10:00 am (IST)
The COVID-19 pandemic posed an unprecedented public health crisis globally irrespective of age. There is no doubt that the older population was the most vulnerable among them due to multiple comorbidities, particularly at risk were older people living in Care Homes. In spite of the existence of robust public health systems and policies, nations failed to curtail elderly mortality and maintain their health amidst the pandemic. The support networks of the elderly are also often impacted by the increasing incidence of global emigration for education and work, which has created a demand for transnational care for older adults. Against this backdrop, this year’s Annual Conference, reflecting on ageing issues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, will focus on SDG Goal 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and SDG Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere” by exploring its interlinkages in the context of the pandemic.
The three-day conference, co-hosted by The International Institute for Migration and Development (IIMAD) and Edith Cowan University will feature opening and closing plenary sessions, interactive thematic sessions, workshops, poster exhibits and a youth hub. Speakers and attendees will include leaders and other representatives from academia, NGOs, and public and private sectors from around the world.
Selected papers from the conference will be published as peer-reviewed IIMAD working papers that will serve as a resource for current and future research on ageing. Exceptional papers may be considered for a special issue with an international journal or an edited book by the Conference organizers and IIMAD.
Long-Term CareThe COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected older persons, particularly those in long-term care institutions and those with little or no mobility at home, having a severe influence on their mortality and morbidity. Many nations have inadequate infrastructure and training in place for long-term care facilities and personnel, and staff lack access to information on restricting transmission in the context of COVID-19.
Familial Roles and Social Networks in CareFamily and network ties have a dynamic interplay between caregiving and receiving. Older adults often rely significantly on such networks for resources, immediate assistance, and care. Certain familial roles frequently bear a much greater burden of caregiving than others but during the pandemic, such roles and responsibilities have undergone a structural change
Migration and Care among Older AdultsThe community of “Elderly-Left-Behind” has grown as a result of increased emigration of youth and adults in pursuit of work and educational opportunities. The resulting transnational families require supranational policy frameworks to support distant and virtual support networks, including attention to mobility rights as well as to the digital citizenship of older adults. This continuous emigration witnessed in developing countries may increase the expense and burden of healthcare among the older adults in the future.
Financial Independence, Employment and Retirement among elderlyThe pandemic pushed businesses to lay off workers, particularly elderly people nearing the end of their superannuation. Such a loss of experienced workforce led to decline in productivity. State and labour-force policies should examine retirement age limitations and guarantee appropriate job opportunities for older persons in order to reduce their reliance and improve their quality of life and care.
Elderly Morbidity, Health Behaviors, Care Utilization and FinancingThe lives of older adults are frequently accompanied with multimorbidity and unstable health behaviours that need substantial care. The majority of such morbidities are NCD’s, requiring extensive and costly treatment. With the rising catastrophic costs of treatment, older persons frequently disregard the necessity for treatment for such morbidities, which progressively deteriorate their health.
Ageism, Elder Abuse, Neglect and ViolenceElder abuse and neglect in the home and in care institutions has become a major societal concern across the globe. At workplace, increasing age is frequently associated with ageism and derision. According to older persons with restricted mobility who live with direct family or in nursing facilities, such incidences increased during the pandemic, with the majority of them being unreported.
Social Security, Policies and Welfare Programs of Older Persons.Despite the fact that major state and national governments have policies, welfare programmes, and social security schemes in place for older persons, their benefits are unlikely to reach the intended population. Providing such benefits during the pandemic might have reduced the social burden on older persons including significant decrease in COVID mortality among older individuals.
Inclusive Communities and Sustainable Environments for Healthy AgeingWith a rising share of older persons in the population, governments should collaborate to create safe and enriching surroundings for the geriatric population. Policies, schemes, and training programmes should embrace and emphasise intergenerational bonding to reduce neglect and aggression.
Dr Loretta Baldassar
Professor Anthropology and Sociology, Edith Cowan University
Dr S Irudaya Rajan