A two day National workshop on “Ageing and Health” supported by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) and Department of Science of Technology (DST) PURSE grant was organized by the School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH). Dr. M. Varalakshmi and Prof. P. Prakash Babu along with Dr. Shanthi Johnson from School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Canada organised this workshop. Retired Justice B. Subhashan Reddy was the Chief Guest and Prof. Appa Rao Podile presided over the inaugural session.

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Retired Justice B Subhashan Reddy

The workshop is an introductory event to the “India Ageing Study (IAS)” pilot program, which aims to examine the outcome of functional assessment and exercise program among Indian older adults. The workshop is a first of its kind and is interdisciplinary, integrative to prepare students and future generations for transforming knowledge into action. The registered participants for the workshop are diverse belonging to different disciplines like PhD and MPhil research scholars from Sociology, Anthropology, Nursing, Public Health, Humanities, Economics, Ophthalmology, and Masters in Public Health, Masters in Nursing, MD Community Medicine, MA Economics, MA Sociology, BSc Nursing, B Tech Biotechnology and also included faculty, scientific officers, senior citizens retired in various capacities and persons currently working with various organizations like Helpage India etc.

The participants were from Orissa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu etc. The workshop aims to share useful experiences, good practices and challenges of ageing. The themes are exceptionally diverse, comprehensive involving the challenges of ageing. The School has been running academic courses on Ageing and Health, also working on initiating one year PG Diploma program in Ageing and Health, actively involved in the community based research on social dynamics and wellbeing of older adults. The school is very much determined to grow further in ageing research and to establish an active ageing research lab facility.

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Appa Rao Podile

The guest speakers included Dr.S.Sivaraju, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad. Dr. Ritu Rana, Mission Head – Health Care at Help-Age India, New Delhi. Dr. Subhash Kaul, MD, DM; Rtd.Professor and Head, Dept of Neurology and Dean Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Currently Senior Consultant Neurologist, KIMS Hyderabad. Dr. Jayashree Ramadas, Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Hyderabad. Dr. K. N. Viswanatham, Professor – OD&HR, Centre for Organization Development, Hyderabad. Justice T.N.C. Rangarajan, Rtd Judge, Andhra Pradesh High Court, Hyderabad. Dr.G. Srikrishna, Faculty, Rehabilitation Psychology at National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Secunderabad.

Overview of the theme:

Population ageing is a global phenomenon, with one in nine persons in the world aged 60 years or over, projected to increase to one in five, i.e., the proportion of the world’s population nearly double from 12% to 22% (2 billion) by 2050 (UN report, 2011). Two thirds of the world’s older persons live in the developing regions and their numbers are growing faster than in the developed regions. In India too, the size and percentage of older population have been increasing in recent years from 77 million (2001) to 104 million (2011). By 2050, it is likely to increase by three times to reach (300 million) to 20% of the total population. The relatively young India of today will turn into a rapidly greying society in the coming decades. The trend clearly reveals that ageing is an emerging social challenge, requiring vast resources towards the support, service, security, care and social integration of older population.

Objectives of the Workshop were to;

1. Discuss the contemporary issues, challenges in the area of ageing-health with social transitions.
2. Provides a platform for the multi-disciplinary professional networking with academic and field experts working in the area of ageing.
3. Comprehend the innovative efforts and best practices from Canadian perspectives shared by international faculty on nutrition and physical activity dimensions for healthy ageing.
4. Explore the multi-faceted approach on neurology of ageing, life span reviews and significant developments with research focus on ageing.
5. Throws light on human rights approach of senior citizens and ageing security in family & societies. 6. Invites innovative ideas and experiences on effective leadership and governance for geriatric mental health and sources of self-esteem in older population.
7. Deliberate on social determinants and sustainable development goals for healthy ageing. 8. Lays pathway for further research through India Ageing Study Pilot Program.

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Overview of the India Ageing Study Pilot Program:

The India Aging Study will be initiated followed by an introductory workshop on Ageing and Health. The pilot program in collaboration with Prof. Shanthi Johnson, University of Alberta, will facilitate functional assessment and exercise training to train the research internees with the assistance of program coordinator Dr. M. Varalakshmi. The Proposed Pilot study aims to examine the outcome of home based exercise program on the compliance, functional performance and perceived well-being among Indian older adults.

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