Representatives from the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) attended the Conference, including AFPPD Chair, Hon. Dr Keizo Takemi MP, who gave the keynote address “Older people as a resource: The precondition of healthy ageing”.

AFPPD’s e-newsletter on 11 September featured the article “Older People are a Resource in Ageing Societies”, which summarises Hon. Dr Takemi’s address.


Older People are a Resource in Ageing Societies

Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD)
11 September 2014

Older people are a resource in ageing societies, concluded experts who attended the Regional Conference on Ageing in Chiang Mai last week. As a result, appropriate policies that respond to the needs of older people and change in social and individual attitudes will be required if we are tounlock their potential and achieve healthy and productive ageing societies.

The conference was organized by HelpAge International with support from theEuropean Union (EU) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). It brought together over 200 participants representing civil society, government agencies, academia, international bodies, donors and business from 29 countries.

Under the theme “Older People in Ageing Societies: Burden or Resource”, the three-day conference stimulated discussions around the opposing perceptionsabout older people. According to Eduardo Klein, HelpAge Asia Regional Director, older people are “a resource in every sphere of life”.

Hon. Keizo Takemi, Chair of the Asian Forum ofParliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) and the keynote speaker to this week-long conference, emphasized how smart investment can improve people’s health and increase their productivity in old age. He emphasized that investment in health is one of the main preconditions for healthy ageing societies. According to Hon. Takemi, Japan’s introduction of universal health coverage in 1961 has led to a decrease in mortality rates caused by strokes as more people are able to access medical treatment forhigh blood pressure, and thus have extended life expectancy.

Hon. Takemi also advised that other Asian countries should take ‘ageing’into serious consideration when developing their national policies. He pointed out that countries should also consider how to extend healthy life expectancy (defined by WHO as the average number of years that a person can
expect to live in “full health” by taking into account years lived in less than full health due to disease and/or injury) in order to achieve healthy and productive societies.

The conference also explored the issues of flexible retirement, older people in community development, inclusion of older people in the post-2015 agenda, older farmers, older people in an informal sector, active ageing, older volunteers, active older people in emergencies and disaster preparedness, contribution of older people at household level as well as community care.