Pass It On’s co-founder, Jan Hively, spoke about the topic “Advocacy Leadership for Active, Positive Aging” at two December workshops about “Age-Friendly Work” that were convened by academic leaders in Shanghai and Hangzhou, China, sponsored by Ford Foundation China.
Jan wrote from China: “In this rapidly aging world, all of us around the globe share concerns about how we are going to assure the economic security and health care that are essential for positive aging. China’s assets, including a vibrant economy and sense of caring for elders, are visible and outstanding, but the prospect of adding hundreds of millions of elderly residents demands careful planning and ongoing follow through to assure social security, long-term care, and quality of life throughout life. Their planning takes into account the role of families and communities as well as the role of the government. Our China hosts share our interest in fostering active, positive aging that benefits both older adults and the larger society.”
Jan is one of five community leaders from Yarmouth, Massachusetts who were invited to speak in China about Yarmouth’s ongoing process of becoming an “Age Friendly Community” in the World Health Organization’s network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities. The delegation was led by Kathleen Bailey, Yarmouth’s Director of Aging Services, who initiated the town’s “cradle to grave” approach to assuring an age-friendly community for all ages. In 2014, the Town of Yarmouth hosted a delegation from China that was led by Professor Mi Hong, director of the Institute for Population and Development Studies at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, and included Dr. Zhao DianGuo, China’s leader in Social Security planning. Further exchanges are planned.
Jan’s report continues, “What a joy to experience ancient sites along with futuristic skyscrapers! We enjoyed the sights, sounds, and great food of three major cities near the mouth of the Yangtze River – Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Souzhou – all loaded with thousands of years of history, great shopping, and welcoming people. I am filled with gratitude for this first trip to China that I’ve dreamed of for much of my life.”