Towards a Decade of Healthy Ageing. IFA Toronto 2018

As mentioned in my first blog post this year, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is holding its 14th Global Conference in Toronto from August 8 -10, 2018. While that seems a long way off, it feels comforting to bring it up again on a snowy March day like today here in Toronto. Last week the IFA sent out its first call for abstracts, for symposium, workshop, and poster presentations under the main theme – Towards a Decade of Healthy Ageing. The good news is the call is open until Dec.31st 2017.


Under this central theme of healthy ageing, which is also one of the four specifically focused themes, there are three other themes:

  • Addressing Inequalities
  • Enabling Functional Ability
  • Combating Ageism

Details on these themes are outlined on the web site, with more than enough further sub-themes to engage any number of speakers who have some insights to offer of a specialized nature. Naturally, I am intending to go to this conference, as it is my backyard after all, but will have to take a longer look at a topic area I might want to pitch in this call for abstracts. Sub-themes that attract my attention at first glance, for discussion and learning purposes include:

  • Innovation in Long-Term Care
  • Technology and Ageing
  • Cognitive Health
  • Access to Work
  • Social Inclusion

One thing I noticed that was curiously missing in the Addressing Inequalities theme, where specific “priority groups” were highlighted for innovations in enhanced social policies and programs, was the category “older men”. Older LGBTQI2S, older refugees, older women and others; but no older men. Oversight or…? Apart from that, what I truly look forward to is hearing the international perspectives on all the topic areas.

Attending the IFA conference in 2018 is an opportunity for us to hear more from people in other parts of the world. In our headline news and our academic or market research, we tend to look at the subject of aging and longevity too often through the lens of a North American experience.

Understanding from other regions, the cultural differences in attitudes and approaches towards an aging society and all its challenges, could better inform us here as we make our progressive choices to re-code a longevity society – social norms, public policies, community structures and inter-generational collaborations.

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