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Diversity is often overlooked in policies and programs that aim to improve the health and well-being of older people and the ageing population.  This is problematic because at some level of development there is an assumption that the experience of all older people is the same regardless of factors such as gender, race, sexual orientation, citizenship status, and so forth.

Furthermore, it dismisses the fact that life experiences significantly impact and at times jeopardise the health and ability of older people to meet their basic needs.  For instance:

  • Older women are 33% more likely to be poor compared to men of the same age in OECD countries (WHO, 2015);
  • Cognitive pathologies and physical diseases common to older adults are seriously exacerbated for those living in refugee camps or seeking asylum as medical attention and psychological support is limited, supplies are minimal, malnutrition is rampant, and adequate shelter is often lacking (The Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2008); and
  • LGBT older adults are at greater risk for physical and mental illness because there are less likely than heterosexual and/or non-transgender older people to access support at non-LGBT health service providers, meal programs, and other type of social support programs due to the fear of experiencing severe discrimination and sexual harassment (The National Resource Centre on LGBT Aging, 2013).

Improved awareness through new learnings, discussing the inequalities experienced by specific groups of older adults and building our expertise to created solutions is imperative.  Thus, submissions are called for that will identify social inequalities and illustrate interventions that enhance social policies and programs for the following priority groups:

  • Older LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex)
  • Older Migrants
  • Older Refugees
  • Older Prisoners
  • Older Women
  • Older Homeless Persons
  • Older Indigenous Persons

References

  • Inter-Agency Standing Committee. (2008). Humanitarian action and older persons: An essential brief for humanitarian actors. Retrieved from http://www.globalprotectioncluster.org/_assets/files/tools_and_guidance/IASC_HumanitarianAction_OlderPersons_EN.pdf
  • National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. (2013). Inclusive questions for older adults: A practical guide to collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity. Retrieved from http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org/resources/pdfs/InclusiveQuestionsOlder%20Adults_Guidebook.pdf
  • World Health Organization. (2015). World report on ageing and health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ageing/events/world-report-2015-launch/en/