January 22, 2009

AGEWELL RESEARCH & ADVOCACY CENTRE (for Needs & Rights of Older Persons)


AN OVERVIEW



The Centre is committed to bringing in a dynamic change for the elderly in terms of social participation & integration, economic security, macro societal change & development, healthy ageing, enhancing the physical and mental quality of life and ushering in care systems in diverse cultural, socio-economic and environmental situations.


The changing times and the emerging manifestation of nuclear families have left most of the Older Persons facing loneliness and alienation. The world is witnessing a marked change in the needs and rights of senior citizens. The advent of better health care and lifestyle has seen a surge in the average lifespan of the population and hence, a longer old age, which translates into a large number of elderly seeking specialized care & attention.



The Research & Advocacy Centre will also undertake advocacy on issues of concern for welfare of elderly with the government, national & international agencies, and elected representatives at all levels e.g. members of Panchayats, Parliaments etc. political parties, business, industry and structures of power.


OBJECTIVES



The society today is going through a process of change. With ever-increasing number of older persons all equations are changing while larger percentage of older persons on macro level and longer age cycle on micro level pose challenges to individuals and society both.


While it is important and urgent to evaluate and provide for fulfillment possible needs of every older person in a multifaceted manner it is equally critical and necessary to ensure their rights as an individual, within the family and as a key member of the society. There is a need to encourage and advance comprehensive diversified and specialized research on aging in India. Research including age and gender-sensitive data collection and analysis would provide essential evidence for effective policies. The availability of reliable information is indispensable in identifying emerging issues and adapting recommendations.


· Emerge as a nodal agent of change in achieving the minimum acceptable quality of life for senior and ageing citizens.

Bring important lessons from the international experience to Indian efforts and share Indian experience and expertise with outside agencies.


§ Nationwide in-depth study of needs and rights of older people from their own perspective

§ Provide support and technical co-operation needed to devlop a research agenda on needs and rights of older persons in parallel to research agenda as per International Plan for Action on Aging adopted in the UN World Assembly on Aging at Madrid in 2002.

§ Identify priorities for policy related research, data collection and pursue studies in related areas of aging where the findings may have practical and realistic application.

§ Create supportive climate for welfare of older persons through public education. Mass media and opinion leaders to be used in this process to educate and sensitize people at large.

§ Attempt to bridge the intergenerational gap in perceptions and practice both. Evolve and attempt to implement methodologies for better living conditions of older people.

§ Emerge as the voice of older persons and arrange timely and active response in support of welfare of older persons.

Undertake advocacy on issues of concern for welfare of elderly with International, National and Government agencies, elected representative at all levels, political parties, business, industry and other structures of influence in the process of decision making.


AGENDA FOR RESEARCH & ADVOCACY


Issues

Major Research Priorities & Critical Arenas

Advocacy Arenas

Priority Direction-I

Older Persons and Development

Welfare of older persons

o Relationship of population ageing and socio economic development

o Current practices and options for maintaining material security into older age.

o Changing family structures,

® Social Participation and Integration.

® Macro-Societal Change and Development

Priority Direction-II

Old Age & Society

Ensuring, enabling and supportive environment

o Immigration of population

o Increasing population of older persons living alone

® Changing structures and Functions of Families, Kin and Community

Priority Direction-III

Old Age & Health

Advance health and well-being into Old Age

o Determinates of healthy Ageing

o Basic Biological mechanisms and Age Associated Disease

o Quality of Life and ageing in diverse situations.

® Healthy Ageing

® Biomedical

® Physical and mental

® Quality of life

Priority Direction-IV

Old Age & Finance

Issue sustainable financial security

o Ensuring financial security of older persons

o Modifying pension schemes

o Utilizing expertise & experience of older persons

® Financial security

® Gainful engagement of older persons

Issues

Major Research Priorities & Critical Arena

AdvocacyAreas

Priority Direction-V

Old Age & Law

Provisions to protect and provide

o Specific legal provisions to provide for older persons

o Older-persons friendly legal environment

o Disposal of legal cases involving older persons on priority

® Legal protection

® Justice in time


Priority Direction-VI

Old Age & Support Mechanism

Changing values emerging patterns

o Promoting the concept of self-reliant Old Age

o Improving institutional care of older persons

® Care systems


Priority Direction-VII

Old Age and enabling environment

Empowerment of older persons as a collective entity

o Changing family structures, intergenerational transfer system and emergent patterns of family and institutional dynamics

o Response to Ageing in diverse cultural, social-environmental situations.

® Allocate determinants

® Interventional methodologies



Collection of Data, Analysis
and Validation of Research Findings


· The data collection is an on-going process at Agewell.

§ Over 20,000 interactions with older persons on daily basis.

§ Appeals for grievance redressal are received on daily basis from across the country.

§ Nation wide network of volunteers is equipped to collect data in prescribed formats

· Research Scholars, Analysts and trained professionals would validate and initiate analysis parameters in consultation with expert committee consisting of a representative each from social, legal, medical, financial, political, and corporate sector.

· A team of active and consulting participants from wide spectrum of society would give the final shape to each research findings.


Sharing of Research Findings


Sharing of Research findings through release of status reports, newsletters, web bulletins etc. is an on-going process at Agewell.

It is proposed to share all details with national and international strategic alliance partners periodically.


Study of Emerging patterns


The research findings over a period of time help in identifying patterns and trends.

A comprehensive analysis on a regular basis would help in determining issues for Advocacy.


Framing of Advocacy issues


Advocacy for Needs & Rights of older persons would be required to be done at local, national and international arenas.

Each being important in itself determination of issues for advocacy would be a collective and participatory process.


Support Groups


It is proposed to set up several forums to work as catalysts in the process of Research & Advocacy for needs & rights of older persons i.e.

· Intellectuals forum

· Civil society members forum

· Professionals Forum

· Parliamentarians forum

· Media representatives forum etc.



Advocacy at all levels


Advocacy for needs & rights of older persons would be done at all levels.

- Individual

- Family

- Society

- Government

- International Bodies & Institutions

The purpose being sensitization and awareness generation all forms of communications from persuasive & assertive would be applied.

It is proposed to develop effective communication modules with adaptation from time to time as an on-going process.

Points of reference for advocacy

- Individuals & families

- Opinion leaders and professionals

- Media and communication experts

- Parliamentarians and all other elected representatives at all levels.

- Bureaucrats

- Politicians and political parties


- Policy Planners, makers and implementers,



Organisation Structure




· An expert committee consisting of eminent people from all walks of life, i.e. retired university professors, bureaucrats, lawyers, doctors, engineers

· A Technical Guidance Team of four eminent retired professors of Psychology, Philosophy, Statistics, Law, Finance & Medicine.

· Creation of an Action Work Group of core members to Co-ordinate various ground level activities and Expert committee.

· A pulse team of a cross section of older persons representing different stratas of society to serve as a continuous referral and feedback resource for programme monitoring and fine tuning.

· Research Scholars, Analysts, Creative Writers

· Team of spokesperson consisting of people from all walks of life i.e. media communication, bureaucracy (Retd.), politics etc.


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