The 12th APRU Population Aging Conference 2022 recently brought together over 120 international experts and scholars to engage on global aging issues. Co-organized by Zhejiang University and the National University of Singapore (NUS) under the theme Ageing at a time of crisis: understanding needs, navigating new challenges, a central theme of the virtual 2-day conference was to present the importance of collaboration across research, policy, and practice domains to achieve optimal outcomes for older persons.
Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region are confronted with the massive challenges associated with aging populations. Nearly 60% of the world’s elderly population live in Asia, creating persistent pressures for governments in the region and emerging as a central issue for research, policy, and practice.
“In a recent UN Forum, experts urged us to develop safe, secure and aging-friendly environments as the Asia- Pacific population is ageing faster than any other region,” said Dr Christopher Tremewan, Secretary General of APRU, in his opening remarks.
“Given that aging issues such as inequality, income security, and the digital divide are being exacerbated by climate change, digital transformation and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is timely to address together what is clearly a global issue affecting us all,” he added.
Angelique Chan, Associate Professor in the Signature Program in Health Services and Systems Research at National University of Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, served as a co-chair of the conference. Chan, who also is the Director of APRU Population Ageing Program, presented an overview of ageing issues and challenges.
“We must look more deeply into topics such as the effects of social support on health, caregiver burden, and use of long-term care services,” Chan said.
“It is also important to increase social engagement and psychological wellbeing in not only older persons but also their caregivers,” she added.
Zhejiang University was represented by Ka Lin, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work. As the conference co-lead, he shared how Zhejiang University leveraged on their network in China to find top presenters, collaborated internally with their international office and senior management, and partnered with NUS to successfully co-host the conference.
“Given that previous research has shown that having purpose and meaning at older ages leads to living longer and a higher quality of life, we need to advocate for policies that encourage productive aging, leverage on the ability of older persons to continue to contribute to society,” Lin said.
He also highlighted the need to ensure that older adults live with dignity, honour, and respect.
Keynotes were held by Prof. John Piggott, Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) at UNSW Sydney and Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy & Social Gerontology Institution, at the University of Sheffield.
The 12th APRU Population Ageing Virtual Conference 2022 served as a highly valuable platform also for abstracts presenters from across the APRU universities. The event furthermore featured the five winners of the student poster submission. Topics spanned from caregivers’ experiences preparing for End-of-Life (EoL) decisions in Singapore to sandwich generation’s caregiving and cognitive health in China.
Secretary General of APRU Tremewan took the opportunity to thank National University of Singapore and Zhejiang University for being active and committed APRU members engaged in many of APRU’s programs.
To find out more information about the Population Aging Conference 2022, visit here.