AHWIN Forum Report: Achieving Healthy Aging in Asia

Prepared by Kim Gould Ashizawa
July 2020

This conference report revisits key issues discussed at the AHWIN Forum on “Achieving Healthy Aging in Asia: Envisioning Better Care for Older Adults,” which was held on the sidelines of the October 2019 G20 Health Minister’s meeting. The meeting was attended by nearly 140 leading experts from around Asia and below are some of the many key takeaways:

• health and welfare systems must prepare now for rapid population aging as many countries in Asia will face a steep rise in the number of older persons in the coming decades, ‘becoming old before they become rich’

• while we all want to live longer, the stress should be on increasing healthy life expectancy rather than just life expectancy

• the early promotion of a healthy diet and behaviors is key to increasing healthy life expectancy and delay or prevent the onset of dementia

• holistic approaches are needed that address the psychological, social, and spiritual elements of aging, rather than just the physical elements

• the supply of long-term care workers and systems is a major concern in Japan and other countries around the region although for different reasons—Japan is working to accept and train more foreign care givers, and some of the other countries in Asia have yet to evolve the profession of care giving and are working to develop a more comprehensive strategy; meanwhile, all countries face the shared task of improving compensation and the working environment for care givers

• governments, societies, and even individuals continue to view aging in a negative light and consider older persons as a burden, so there is a need for concerted, multisectoral efforts to address ageism and promote positive views of aging

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