ICAA founder and CEO outlines association's model to address challenges and opportunities of population aging
[Vancouver, BC] According to a United Nations study released yesterday, the world is not prepared for population aging. What can be done to improve the situation? "This demographic shift is changing societies on a global level," says aging expert Colin Milner, founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), an association that has led, connected and defined the active-aging industry for the past 12 years. "Our current models have fallen short in addressing both challenges and opportunities presented by population aging," Milner states. "Governments and organizations need new implementable models to address the accompanying wave of change. Globally, active aging is recognized as part of the solution."
Research shows that an active lifestyle can lessen the challenges and increase the opportunities associated with population aging. Active aging provides environments, programs and places that support individuals in living well and taking charge of their health and wellness. It promotes the vision of all individuals--regardless of age, socioeconomic status or health--fully engaging in life within all seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional/vocational, social and spiritual.
ICAA has created "Nine Principles of Active Aging," a model to guide governments, product and service providers, employers, and the healthcare industry in how they respond to population aging. By implementing and operating by these guiding principles, organizations and agencies will be able to build a foundation for their efforts and encourage active, engaged living for people of all ages.
These principles, together with brief explanations, appear below.
Nine Principles of Active Aging
1. Populations: The older population is extremely diverse, from ability and age, to income and culture, to sexual orientation. How will we meet the expectations, wants, needs, dreams and desires of such different individuals?
2. Perceptions: Ageism and negative stereotypes of aging impede an inclusive society. To maximize the dividends of population aging, we need to embrace the realities of aging today and leave old ways of thinking behind.
3. People: Who will address the older population? With fewer people entering the labor force, and the field of aging in particular, where will the people come from to meet the market?s demand and the needs of a wide array of industries? Will technology fill the gaps?
4. Potential: With population aging, age 50-plus consumers will dominate purchasing decisions for decades to come, creating untold business opportunities for those who attract them. What will these opportunities be, and how will businesses tap them?
5. Products: Many providers today continue to focus their products and services towards youth. Research shows this lack of interest in the older consumer stems from ageism and a limited understanding of this market. By designing more inclusive products and services, organizations will benefit from the vast spending power of the age 50-plus market.
6. Promotions: A great majority of marketers have neglected older consumers, despite the fact that within five years, the 50-plus market will account for 70% of all disposable income. Effective promotions and marketing must be rooted in the realities of life for older adults. Shifting today?s marketing model will not only meet consumer demand, but also inspire societal change.
7. Places: Environments can encourage or discourage people of all ages in leading active, engaged lives. From indoors to outdoors, what environments will be needed to support active aging?
8. Policies: Consider how policies can support inclusiveness. Specific global, national and corporate policies will be needed to guarantee the human rights of older adults. Examples include access to social security, age discrimination laws, age of retirement, and affordable care and housing.
9. Programs: As promoted by ICAA, the seven dimensions of wellness?physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, vocational and environmental wellness?are the backbone of active aging. They are also key to providing the breadth of programs and environments that fulfill the needs, interests and expectations of the diverse 50-plus population.
More information about ICAA?s Nine Principles of Active Aging is available online at http://icaa.cc/activeagingandwellness/activeaging.htm
About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
ICAA, an association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry, supports professionals who develop wellness facilities, programs and services for adults over 50. The association is focused on active aging, an approach to aging that helps older adults live as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies. These include the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada's Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport, among others.
Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
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Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595
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