The National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not-for-profit social care, one of the membership organisations hosting the Global Ageing Conference being held in Glasgow this week are pleased to see the global social care community coming together at a time when the unprecedented rate of ageing around the world is bringing huge global challenges.
According to the World Health Organisation, by 2030 1 in 6 people around the world will be aged 60 or more and by 2050 the world’s population of people aged 60 will double to 2.1 billion. It’s against this backdrop that experts from various social care settings, researchers and academics are gathering in Glasgow to discuss and debate the challenges the ageing population bring to the social care and support sector and work together to find solutions. Kicking off by tackling possibly the biggest issue of workforce, the International Social Care Workforce Summit saw experts come together to discuss the current recruitment challenges and what the sector needs to do to address them for the future.
Katie Smith Sloan, Executive Director of the Global Ageing Network who is speaking on each day of the conference said:
“As our societies experience a rapidly growing older population, it is imperative that leaders from around the world work together to address the challenges and opportunities associated with global ageing – issues of access, quality, basic rights, the role of technology, ageism and the absolute necessity of an adequate, well trained workforce to provide care. Older adults deserve nothing less.”
High on the agenda for the two day Global Ageing Conference are the role technology and AI, human rights, research and new models of care will play in the future of ageing. Today’s keynote speaker, academic and writer Sir Geoff Mulgan, discussed subjects such as preventing loneliness in later life, enabling people to retain meaning and purpose as they age as well how we encourage younger people to contemplate what ageing will mean for them. Commenting about the competing timescales the sector faces and reform required he said:
“We face a series of short term interlocking crises which aren’t about to go away, and which will probably get worse but that makes it even more important to be planning, in parallel, for what might be the conditions of 10, 20, 30 years into the future, and mobilising imagination around that. I don’t see these as alternatives, you have to do both and we need much more intensive work done on the medium to long term options, which will be very different in different countries.
“What I would like to see from political leaders is a 25 year story which admits the short term constraints we need to deal with but also shows where, over time, we can get to. This will definitely involve money and will probably involve new norms in terms of what we as the public do with our own families and neighbours. It will also definitely involve getting the tech world to refocus a little bit from shopping to actually being a help in this and also new commissioning methods being adopted. I haven’t heard that story in recent years from any national politician and much as it can’t deny the crisis as it were, it has to get the sense of the timescales that are needed.”
Closing the conference on Friday 8th September is Dawn Skelton, Professor of Ageing & Health at Glasgow Caledonian University whose keynote address will introduce the World Falls Guidelines and talk through the future of falls prevention in a variety of aged care settings.
CEO of National Care Forum, Professor Vic Rayner reflected on the events so far: “Everyone taking part in our events this week gather as a global community at a pivotal point in our history, with the same motivations and ambitions. We are all here to connect and collaborate on new solutions to the challenges of global ageing that face us all and to set about implementing change on how we care for older people.
“The energy and appetite for knowledge sharing has been so impressive to witness and we still have day two to come. Highlights on the closing day of the conference I’m sure will be UN independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older people, Claudia Mahler’s keynote address and workshops on the potential of AI and mobilizing innovation to transform the ageing experience. The real work starts once the conference is over of course and we all head back to our respective countries and organisations to put into action everything we have learned from one another.”