Malaysia hosts 1st World Congress on Healthy Ageing
Four-day Congress takes the lead on world healthy ageing issues with 187 speakers and more than 120 hours of lectures, workshops, forums and seminars.
Kuala Lumpur, 19th March, 2012 - The very first World Congress on Healthy Ageing is now in session at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia. Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak - Malaysia's Prime Minister, officiated the event and delivered the keynote address. A total of 977 participants from 39 nations are attending as delegates and speakers at the four-day event, organised by the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The 1st World Congress on Healthy Ageing 2012 offers an exciting programme of plenary lectures, latest research, developments and innovation presented by a panel of internationally renowned experts in line with the theme "Evolution: Holistic Ageing in an Age of Change".
"It took the committee 3 years to put the congress together from our first meeting and 6 months to form an international advisory panel that is well represented by not only the medical profession, but the legal fraternity, experts in the financial field, housing and environment," says Prof. Nathan Vytialingam - President of MHAS and Organising Chairman of the World Congress on Healthy Ageing 2012.
"We are extremely pleased with the response received in support of the congress. This effort puts Malaysia on the map for taking the lead in addressing issues on healthy ageing. We believe this initiative will encourage further involvement from other nations. Already, there are requests from other countries to host the 2nd world congress to be held in 3 years' time".
"The event has attracted delegates and speakers from all over the world. Not only has it attracted professionals from the medical arena, but professionals from other disciplines as well. The interest generated in this congress was the blend of experts in the field of mainstream medicine, complementary and alternative medicine," says Prof. Nathan.
According to Dr. Wong Teck Wee - Scientific Chairman of the World Congress on Healthy Ageing 2012, there is a growing trend in patients seeking complementary treatment and holistic care. He says that mainstream medical doctors should begin to view treatment in a holistic approach through consideration of, for example, lifestyle changes, mainstream medical therapy, complementary and psycho social influence when attending to patients.
The 1st World Congress on Healthy Ageing 2012, held from 19th - 22nd March, will see a broad spectrum of the latest interdisciplinary research work focusing on healthy ageing in the new millennium. In line with its holistic approach, the global forum will see healthy ageing approached at policy level as well from the physical, mind, social community and spiritual perspectives.
Dr. John Beard (Director of Ageing & Life Course and Director (a.i.), Department of Gender, Women and Health - World Health Organisation, Switzerland), Prof. E. Makoto Suzuki (Director of Okinawa Research Centre for Longevity Science, Professor of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Department of Community Medicine, University of the Ryukus Hospital, Japan), Professor Suresh Rattan (Professor of Biogerontology at the department of Molecular Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark) are among the Plenary speakers at the Congress.
Healthy ageing is one of the major challenges for the world. The consequences of the demographic transition will have a tremendous impact on economy, health, social development and welfare of societies.
According to Dr. John Beard of the World Health Organisation, populations around the world are rapidly ageing. "Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 will double from less than 11% to 22%, and the total number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to almost 2 billion".
Added to this fact, the situation is intensified by the rising cost of elderly care. Poor health of an individual or a major health event such as stroke or critical illnesses could signal a loss of employment, a depletion of savings or worse, loss of retirement funds to healthcare expenses.
MHAS predicts an imminent crisis of elderly care.
Although medical and technological advances promise almost miraculous cures for many of the ailments that have plagued us for the millennia, burgeoning medical care costs threaten to drown public health expenditures in red ink and contribute to civil unrest across the globe.
The Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society predicts an imminent crisis of elderly care if the situation continues unaddressed. "We believe that promotion of healthy living and primary prevention of disease will address the urgent need for a solution to this imminent global threat and that we need to be proactive in dealing with the coming crisis hence the need for this Congress" says Prof. Nathan.
"There is a need to enhance our knowledge about the promotion of good health among the young and older people for a better quality of life in its later stages" the Professor adds.
The World Congress on Healthy Ageing's conference programme will also consist of many concurrent symposia, workshops and invited sessions of the latest significant findings and developments in all the major fields of Healthy Ageing.
Social participation in promoting healthy ageing, stress management, fitness and ageing, legal implications in elderly care, financial management in elderly care, the psychology of ageing, mental health, legal implications at the end of life, issues in relation to nursing homes and retirement villages will be some of the major issues discussed at this congress with a strong emphasis on prevention and curative measures in relation to healthy ageing.
"There are areas in our lives which are often overlooked but require our urgent attention such as the rising costs in healthcare, inflation, the environment which could tremendously impact a person's lifestyle and status" says Dr. Wong.
"We are excited and encouraged by the overwhelming response received for the Congress. Researchers from many countries have submitted 379 research papers for presentation."
The conference also encourages an interactive structure that brings participants closer, provides them with an opportunity to exchange their experiences and skills for collaborative research.
One of the hot topics at the Congress is a forum by 3 accomplished octogenarians (more than 80 years of age) on the 'Role Models of Ageing' - discussing their most important life lessons and regrets
Apart from the medical perspective on Healthy Ageing, there are also sessions on complementary therapy. Also included in the programme is a session on Silat (a Malay traditional martial art), Meditation, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Qigong and Ancient Sciences and on how these practices and traditions could contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.
About the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS):
Formed in 2002, the Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society's primary objective is to create public awareness for the enhancement of quality of life. MHAS aims to increase vigilance among the community about the impact of longevity and ageing population on individuals and society if not addressed.
MHAS also provides information to empower consumers to make informed choices about health programmes based on data from scientific studies. MHAS organises programmes to inform physicians, scientists and members of the public on advancement in medical sciences and biomedical technology to detect, prevent and treat age-related disease.
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