Essay on ageing and get some good old money

Venkat Raman

A London based charitable institution has invited essays on an issue that is a matter of growing concern in many parts of the world, especially New Zealand.

The Centre for Applied Research and Evaluation International Foundation (Careif) has sought original essays from any individual, group or organisation on ‘Ageing: the health, social and economic challenges of the 21st Century.’

Essays should be sent by email to essay15@careif.org on or before December 21, 2015.

Winners will be notified by February 21, 2016, with the first prize of £500, second prize of £300 and third prize of £100.

Careif is an international mental health charity with a special focus on protecting and promoting the health and well-being of young people living in culturally diverse societies around the world.

Exploring Ageing

Its Founder and Director Dr Albert Persaud said that submitted essays should explore various aspects of the subject, including demographic reality, cultural meaning, socio-economic context, and its association with the illnesses of old age.

“The essay should include an incisive and synoptic literature review, focusing on improving knowledge about the ethno-aetiology of ageing together with clues to prepare health providers and societies to meet the specific needs of older populations. This could also incorporate training for health professionals on old-age care; preventing and managing age-associated chronic diseases; designing sustainable policies on long-term and palliative care; and developing age-friendly services and settings,” he said.

Dr Persaud said that the judging panel would welcome exploration of contrasts between low income and high-income countries.

Tribute to elders

In choosing the subject for the Global Essay Competition, Careif pays tribute to elders in the society for their contributions as family members, volunteers and active participants in the workforce.

The wisdom they have gained through life experience makes them a vital social resource, Dr Persaud said.

Differing attitudes

Dr Imran Ali, Careif Trustee and Consultant Psychiatrist said that we generally value and respect the older people we love or know well.

“But our attitudes to other older people within the broader community can be different. In many traditional societies, older people are respected as “elders” people with knowledge, and wisdom. In other societies, older women and men may be less respected,” he said.

According to Dr Ali, increased longevity is a triumph for public health, reflecting human success in dealing with childhood disease, maternal mortality, helping women achieve control over their own fertility and the result of social and economic development

“The ageing of the world’s population in developing and developed countries is an indicator of improving global health. Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years of age is predicted to double from about 11% to 22%,” he said.

Increasing population

Professor Dinesh Bhugra, also a Trustee and author of several articles published in Indian Newslink, said that absolute number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period; more people will live to see their 80s or 90s than ever before.

“Low and middle-income countries will experience the most rapid and dramatic demographic change,” he said.

A warning

Dr Bhugra however warned that health challenges would become more pronounced in the coming years and that many people will face the risk of having at least one chronic disease, such as hypertension, diabetes and osteo-muscular conditions.

As people live longer, there will be a dramatic increase in the number of people with forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of dementia rises sharply with age with an estimated 25-30% of people aged 85 or older having some degree of cognitive decline,” he said.

According to Dr Persaud, population aging is a powerful and transforming demographic force.

“We are only just beginning to comprehend its impacts at the national and global levels, as we prepare for a new demographic reality,” he said.

Global Essay Competition in Brief

Subject: ‘Ageing: the health, social and economic challenges of the 21st Century.’

Essays should be original submissions, not exceeding 4000 words excluding references. The essays must use Harvard reference style. They must be sent by email on or before December 21, 2015; Email: essay15@careif.org  

Applicants will be notified by February 21, 2016 but the panel of judges reserves the right not to award a prize if none of the entries meets the required standards.

Authors must include their full name, address, country, email, and occupation on the title page but this must not be counted as part of the 4000 word limit.

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