The International Association of Homes & Services for the Ageing (IAHSA) has formally become the Global Ageing Network.
The re-brand of this important organisation signals a renewed and enhanced commitment to positively influencing the improvement of best practices in our industry on a global level so that older people everywhere can live healthier, stronger, more independent lives.
Whilst headquartered in Washington DC, USA, the Global Ageing Network has a presence in 60 different countries and a membership of 26,000 organisations, creating a unique opportunity for members to engage with leaders, experts, researchers and companies from all corners of the world.
The Global Ageing Network recognises that networks flourish when new people are engaged to bring in fresh ideas and energy.
An open invitation stands for organisations of all types, sizes and structures to be involved and benefit from an infrastructure that provides widespread engagement, knowledge and resources.
It has been my pleasure to be involved with the Network for many years as a member organisation, serving as a Board Member and more recently as Global Chairman.
The opportunities gained of knowledge, goodwill, breadth of the network, access to innovation, and trends has been simply brilliant.
Interestingly upon learning of the systems, environments and methods of service delivery to older people in different regions it is remarkable how both the contrasts and commonalities to the Australian situation are equally prominent.
The cultural dilemma in countries like India and indeed many parts of Asia is creating vigorous debate as to a family’s ongoing obligations to care for their elders versus the emergence of other options for care and support of aged people by service providers.
National Governments are challenged as to how best to address these significant societal issues.
In other regions, such as in Europe the challenge is to raise the standards of services and accommodation and increase access for more people for the support needed.
Of course, there are many wonderful and innovative methods being adopted in different places, with creativity often arising in circumstances where resources and options are limited.
The Global Ageing Network plays a role in an increasing number of countries to foster such innovation and support the work of organisations to increase access, quality and choice for their communities.
Another key thrust for the Network is– as the name suggests – to connect people and organisations who share aligned values and priorities.
This creates excellent opportunities for all types of organisations whether it’s for shared learning and exchange of information, business expansion or partnerships or simply informal linkages that connect people.
The latter has often resulted in wonderful connections for residents, clients and staff from opposite ends of the globe.
A truly international organisation such as the Global Ageing Network is perfectly placed to compliment the significant role played by national industry bodies and partner for selected initiatives.
Previously this has resulted in fantastic education and development activities, important research initiatives as well as other work that facilitates meaningful associations.
At a time when our world is ageing together and sharing common challenges it is great to have a global platform creating the ability for genuine collaboration and partnership for our industry.
The advantages of coming together as a global industry are significant; for individuals, organisations, communities, industries and indeed societies.
As leaders and stewards of our respective organisations and of our industry we are obliged to at least consider the opportunity in participating in such a way.
The mutual benefits are there to be attained.
Marcus Riley is CEO of BallyCara in Brisbane and has been Chair of The Global Ageing Network since January 2016 and served on its board since 2014.