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ICAA's Colin Milner says society must reclaim wellbeing for older people with new, vibrant models

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It's time to refocus on the changing needs of older adults, according to a new initiative from The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA).

Colin Milner, ICAA chief executive, has made a call for policymakers and businesses – as well as society in general – to integrate wellness throughout all organisational strategies and operations in order to "reclaim health and wellbeing for older people".

Populations of the world are emerging from the pandemic year and life is unlikely to return to the way it was before COVID-19, says Milner, making this a "transformative time" when we must move beyond crisis management and develop a "new, vibrant model" to meet the needs and lifestyles of today’s older adults.

“Now is the time that we can come together to reclaim our lives and businesses,” Milner said.

The call to action identifies four key "reclaims" for ageing populations – emotional and mental health, functional ability, the potential of ageing and business health.

ICAA outlines the four areas as follows:

Reclaim emotional and mental health

Wellness is an antidote to the feelings of anxiety, loneliness and grief that harried many people during the social isolation and personal losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wellness offers support groups, counselling and physically safe gatherings for spiritual, intellectual, cultural and social interactions, all of which lessen loneliness and build resilience.

Reclaim functional ability

Healthy ageing means having the functional ability that enables well-being at older ages (World Health Organization).

The wellness dimensions frame the cognitive, physical, social and psychological abilities for functioning in everyday life, whether daily life entails a walk to the bank, managing personal finances, conversing with a coworker, completing self-care activities or setting up a video call with family members.

Reclaim the potential of ageing

Negative, ageist stereotypes can afflict older adults, resulting in social isolation, poor mental health and reduced physical health.

Wellness opportunities and programmes have a purpose well beyond entertainment. Wellness brings together younger and older generations, promotes volunteering and lifelong learning, showcases highly skilled artists, educators and businesspeople – all of these reclaim older adults as valuable contributors to society.

Reclaim business health

Counteract misunderstandings about the value proposition of senior living and senior services by showcasing how wellness guides a lifestyle of personal growth, effective health behaviours and safe, personalised care.

Wellness culture and opportunities align with many organisational performance metrics by attracting and retaining customers/residents, generating referrals, reducing risks, delaying care needs and delivering the brand promise. Well-designed workforce wellness programmes are a recruitment and retention benefit.

For more information on the call to action, click here for the dedicated ICAA website.

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The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has made a call for policymakers and businesses – as well as society in general – to integrate wellness throughout all organisational strategies and operations in order to 'reclaim health and wellbeing for older people'.

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