I have just returned home after participating in the International Federation on Ageing's (IFA) Global Conference in Toronto, Ontario. I was pleased to be invited by the federal government (Canada) to present, as part of a panel, a talk about ageism and barriers to labour force participation. Part of my presentation focused on the need to disrupt and reframe the conversation about aging and also on the social and economic contributions of older entrepreneurs.
While at the conference, I attended many presentations related to ageism and older workers, stimulating plenary sessions and engaged in interesting conversations with thought leaders. How uplifting to be surrounded by others who are passionate about enhancing the quality of life of older adults and their families around the world! There were approximately 1200 delegates from 75 countries and one of the things that struck me was the universal nature of many of the challenges facing older adults - different cultures, different contexts, manifested in different ways across the globe but, nonetheless, universal themes related to health, social inclusion and belonging, leveraging technology to support health and well-being, income security, affordable housing (and innovative housing options), older workers and age discrimination.
Despite the challenges that are before us, there were messages of optimism, hope and examples of exemplary programs being initiated in countries from Brazil, to New Zealand to Europe and other countries too.
Thank you to the IFA for continuing to provide a platform for important conversations to take place. I always leave your conferences inspired and with a million ideas floating in my brain!
I went, I learned, I dreamed about possibilities and now I am focused on the doing!