Building the Future of Health

June 3 10:00-11:00

Caring communities: subjective dimensions Pt. 2

Asian and African perspectives

In promoting the role of design in healthy ageing it is essential to understand how places are experienced. How do we assess the subjective dimensions of places and the ways in which people use their locality? In three sessions an overview is provided of geographical (health) research in which the focus is on how people experience places and how these experiences influence their wellbeing. Topics addressed in these sessions include participation, access to health care and age-friendly communities. Examples are drawn from a variety of countries, including India, China, the Netherlands, Tanzania, England, Germany and Slowakia.

In this session:

Terry Lum: Building an Age-Friendly Hong Kong: Lessons learned and implications for further work in Asia
Facing rapid population ageing but being under-prepared in coping with the imminent challenges, Asia is catching up in efforts to enhance the age-friendliness of cities and communities, in order to ensure that the growing number of older people will live in environments that enable them to live in safety, maintain good health, and participate fully in society. Promoting these efforts requires a city to look outward and inward, that is, benchmarking performance in reference to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Age-Friendly Cities (AFC) framework, and tailoring local projects based on findings from an assessment of the city’s age-friendliness. Focusing on the latter, in this presentation I will report process and outcome findings from a baseline assessment undertaken in early 2016 for an AFC initiative in Hong Kong, a special administrative region in China. The assessment, consisting of a survey study, focus group interviews and asset-mapping exercises, was conducted to evaluate 2 districts in the region on their strengths and weaknesses as age-friendly communities. I will discuss the lessons learned and implications of the findings for promoting age-friendliness in Asia.

Sylivia Karen Rutagumirwa: The Role of Social Networks in Health Care Utilization among older adults in Tanzania
Understanding the factors affecting health care utilization is very important for the policy makers to improve the quality of health care services. No extant studies, however, have examined the role of social networks and geographical accessibility in health care utilization choices among older adults in Tanzania. This qualitative study through thirty in-depth interviews and twenty focus group discussions with older women and men was conducted to investigate the roles that possible social networks and geographical accessibility play in older adults’ choice of health care utilization. The findings of this study revealed that older adult’s health care utilization choices mirror the types of resources available to them. Those with less access to money rely more heavily upon social networks, while older adults with relatively easier financial access have less instant need for social networks. Thus, health Care Utilization is more severely constrained for older adults who are less successful in both dimensions. Furthermore, the findings of this study show that health care utilization choices are connected with the geographical accessibility of health care services. Older adult's choices are in a circular shape and are in part driven by significant others, placed within their social network. Each circle represents a general geographical area, where by, the innermost circle represents the household and each successive circle moves further away from the household in geographic distance. In concluding, we argue that the results of the study can serve as a useful guide on the use of social networking for healthcare promotion in developing countries. Tanzania’s public health system does not adequately provide for the health needs of the older population. Policy recommendations include further investments in the public health care infrastructure, full implementation of the National Plan for older adults Health which involved, and developing new programs for effective aged consultations at the primary health care level.

Speakers for this programme item

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