Such negative views are preventing a wider debate about policies towards funding and end of life care, as many simply do not want to discuss this subject. Nevertheless, there are some examples of progress. Australia held a ‘national conversation’ with older citizens, their carers and families in 2011 to help inform its response to a nationwide report entitled Caring for Older Australians, which is helping to shape the country’s broader agenda for aging.
Dr. Dennis Kodner, International Visiting Fellow The King’s Fund, Canada
The National Academy of Public Administration in UK designed an application, called Dialogue App, specifically to promote stakeholder dialogue and engagement, including policy discussion, participatory budgeting, idea generation and public debate. This has been adopted by the UK Central Government. Such tools can stimulate national conversations about solving the elderly crisis.
In Singapore, a national initiative called “Our Singapore Conversation” was launched in 2012 to give Singaporeans an opportunity to discuss the type of country they want to live in and establish priorities and direction. Dialogue themes included future policies related to healthcare, attitudes towards aging and the needs of the elderly and caregivers.
These attempts, although laudable, are just a start and politicians, policymakers, opinion leaders, professionals, representatives of patients and charitable foundations around the world should all enter into a far more open and honest debate about aging and confront the difficult questions head-on.
Dr. Mary Anne Tsao, President and Founding Director, Tsao Foundation Singapore