Imagine a global platform where providers come together to share ideas, innovation, and challenges. Imagine the opportunity to learn from those whose populations are aging faster than ours in the U.S. as well as to share with providers in countries whose aging boom will follow that of the U.S.

The Global Ageing Network (formerly IAHSA) is this platform. With a presence in over 30 countries, the network includes providers, developers, architects, technology companies and other businesses focused on global ageing. Those in the network value the opportunity to learn from one another and, above all, to make important connections.  There is much to learn from a community center in Japan built by community elders after the tsunami. And, the drive towards consumer-directed care in Australia, quality care in the UK, the focus on dementia care in the Netherlands not to mention the challenges and joys of running a nursing home in rural South Africa. How is telemedicine being deployed in rural Australia? And how are retirement villages in New Zealand addressing their residents’ growing needs for services and supports?

Nearly one billion people are over the age of 60 and the numbers will continue to grow. In fact, they are expected to double within a few decades. The impact this will have on economies, health systems, families, communities and political systems is almost unfathomable. In the U.S., we are all too aware of these impending changes. As we are trying to align our thinking and our programs – public and private – to address these changes, other countries are doing the same.

The Global Ageing Network is designed to be a platform for connecting, exchange and learning. It is a place to facilitate staff exchanges and study tours. It is a place to build leadership skills to address the enormous challenges we face in the ageing services field. And, a place for fellowship.

Every other year, the Network convenes for an international conference. This fall, the conference will be in Montreaux, Switzerland and will be co-hosted by Curaviva. Curaviva is the nursing home and assisted living association in Switzerland, with over 2,600 members. The Network also hosts a Leadership Retreat for leaders in aged care around the globe to refresh their leadership skills and develop a peer network.

The global ageing phenomenon is one that the world has never experienced before. To successfully navigate these changes and ensure the highest quality of life possible for people as they age will require many hearts, minds and ideas. The depth of experience of U.S. – based organizations can make a significant contribution. Promoting healthy aging and recognizing added years of life as an opportunity will be key to overcoming the many challenges of global ageing. Consider joining the Global Ageing Network today.

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