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On May 2, 2013, NGO Committee on Aging/NY hosted a general meeting featuring a presentation titled, “Intergenerational Relationships in the Changing Family:

Impact on Society” given by a keynote speaker, Masako Osako, Ph.D., Executive Director, the International Longevity Center Global Alliance (ILC GA)  Secretariat. Using the ILC GA’s recent publication, “Global Perspectives on Multigenerational Households and Intergenerational Relationships in a Global Perspective” as a base, the speaker presented main findings of the report as well as selective social policies that significantly impact intergenerational relations, including public housing policies in Singapore, non-contributory social pension in South Africa and the national long-term care insurance program in Japan. For details, please click here.

This report aims at initiating a dialogue on multigenerational households and intergenerational relations from a global perspective. It reviews the status of multigenerational households and intergenerational relations in specific countries that vary widely in terms of social attitudes, population structure, cultural traditions and economic development. The articles were contributed by ILC offices in Argentina, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, India, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, and United Kingdom.

Dr. Osako drew the audience’s attention to the importance of intergenerational solidarity for society, as stated in the Madrid International Plan of Action: “solidarity between generations at all levels – in families, communities, and nations – is fundamental for the achievement of society for all ages. While recognizing that each county must addresses its unique opportunities and challenges, she made the following policy suggestions:

  • Policy measures must be sensitive to the enormous cultural and regional diversities amply documented in the report. 
  • Policy measures concerning older persons must incorporate a gender perspective to take into account the needs and experience of older women and men.
  • Adequate pension must be provided to strengthen older people’s capacity as a resource for the family and community, especially where multi-generational households are prevalent.
  • Where population aging is extensive, families alone cannot cope with the care of elderly even in a culture that respects filial piety. Public and community support is essential for the well-being of the family.
  • To be effective, policy for international solidarity must be sensitive to both younger and older populations’ preferences and needs.

Mr. Ed Ryan, UN Representative for AARP Office of International Affairs, who served as moderator, commented, “Good work (like this report) creates an informative foundation for future examination and analysis for succeeding generations to build upon.”

The keynote speech was followed by a lively panelist discussion presented by Li Xiaoimei, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN, Gili Loew, Israeli Student Intern at AARP Office of international Affairs, and John L. Seidler, UN Representative for AARP Office of International Affairs. The meeting, co-sponsored by The NGO Committee on the Family, was well attended by New York area professionals working in the fields of aging and family.

Photo shows Dr. Rosita Resnick, chair of the Sub-committee on Intergenerational Relations, NGO Committee on Ageing (on the right) and Dr. Osako.

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