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Dear reader

Welcome to our first newsletter!

Ageing poses challenges to all members of the Commonwealth, and while international organisations such as the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) and the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) already exist to promote service development and best practice in care and support, generally they are based in countries with more developed economies and social conditions. Until now there has been no Commonwealth organisation that shares experience, access to industry experts, learning or skills for the development of aged care services, products, technology, building design and construction or innovative responses.

CommonAge provides such access and is helping deliver those benefits to individuals, service providers, peak aged care industry bodies and Commonwealth governments. Since we launched at the Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) Conference in Melbourne Australia 2013, we have engendered significant support across a number of Commonwealth countries with industry leaders in aged care in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, United Kingdom and South Africa, all committed to its success.

In this, our first e-newsletter, you can read how we’ve connected age services across the Commonwealth through our scholarship program, and what we have planned for the future. In addition we’ve included a couple of promotional opportunities from our partner Aged Care Channel (ACC).

We hope you enjoy the read! 

CommonAge Scholarship Program

Thanks to generous contributions from Australian aged care providers and supporting businesses CommonAge was able to award scholarships for 16 delegates to the ACSA/IAHSA conference from developing countries - Cameroon, Ghana, Guyana, India, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Delegates have expressed their gratitude at having the opportunity to attend this conference; some of the delegates who had never been overseas before said it was a life-changing experience.

The contributions made through presentations and engagement by the CommonAge delegates brought a rich diversity of views to the conference. Many of the countries represented by the CommonAge delegates are in the process of developing their first national policy frameworks for older people. Some countries face massive challenges in confronting the marginalisation of older people in their societies, while others could teach western providers much about dignity and respect for older people and what unsophisticated natural person centred care looks like.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation by Francis Njuakom from Cameroon. His organisation, Community Development Volunteers for Technical Assistance (CDVTA), is the leading agency in his country supporting older people living in remote rural areas with international assistance from the Department for International Development of the UK Government.

Francis has also been elected and appointed to serve as Director, on the Board of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and you can read more about Francis’s experiences of the conference here.

A major contribution to developing international understanding of conditions for older people living in rural areas of South Africa was made by Sister Lucia Rasiepone from the St Antonine’s Home for the Aged in Kwa Zulu Natal. Over several years Sister Lucia has been actively developing mutually beneficial partnerships with Australian aged care providers.

CommonAge delegate shares her thoughts on the ACSA/IAHSA conference

Senior gerontologist Emily Ajiambo explains how residential care is a relatively new concept in Uganda.

Read more.

Femada Shaman presents to colleagues following her attendance at the ACSA/IAHSA conference on the CommonAge scholarship program.

South Africa benefits from CommonAge scholarship program

CommonAge delegate Femada Shamam shares her knowledge, ideas and experiences of the conference with colleagues in South Africa.

Read more.

Geriatric Respite Care Foundation-Uganda (GRCF- U) logo

Uganda benefits from CommonAge scholarship program

CommonAge scholarship delegate Richard Semanda, executive director Geriatric Respite Care Foundation-Uganda (GRCF- U) shares his experiences of the ACSA/IHASA conference.

Read more.

What’s next for CommonAge?

As a result of the conference, we are delighted delegates agreed to be CommonAge ambassadors, acting as contact points and promoting CommonAge in their countries. This will help considerably as we continue to pursue partnerships with national organisations in Commonwealth countries in our aim to make an increasingly significant contribution to building the Global Ageing Network.

CommonAge will also be represented by board members at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in November 2015. In 2016, formal accreditation of CommonAge as a fully recognised member within the Commonwealth family of associations will be achieved.

Partnerships, staff exchanges, consultancy and commercial opportunities for the international aged care business community are continuing to be explored and we hope the scholarship scheme will grow to support the professional development of ageing services providers in Commonwealth countries.

Promotional opportunities

Our partner ACC, who created the videos of our delegates at the conference is offering ‘guest blogger’ and profile opportunities and it is keen to have contributions from our community. Click here to see an example of a guest blog.

If you would like to provide a blog or be profiled on ACC, please contact Amanda Terranova via email on aterranova@acctv.co

Keeping connected

Our discussion group on LinkedIn  is the ideal channel to ask questions and share your ideas, views and news, and we encourage you to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CommonAgeAssoc.

We hope you enjoyed this newsletter and we would very much welcome your feedback, as well as hear your news and stories which we can share on the news section of our website, www.commonage.org and across our social media networks.

Please get in touch either through our social media, via the ‘contact us’ on our website or send an email to coord@commage.org.

We’d love to hear from you!

PS enjoy these snippets from around The Commonwealth.

Did you know, according to the Association of Senior Living India only 0.0001% of India's population is engaged in some form of Senior Living? It's 12% in the USA and 4% in Australia.

The Commonwealth is home to 2.2 billion citizens. It includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries, spanning five regions. Thirty-one of its members are small states, many of them island nations.

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CommonAge needs your support to achieve its objectives. While we had some seeding money to get us started, at present we have no ongoing revenue stream. All directors and supporters are working pro bono, giving freely of their time and resources. If you would like to make a donation, please contact our Chief Executive, Klaus Zimmermann at klaus.zimmermann@commage.org and we thank you in advance for your generous support.

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