The Rural Communities for Ageing Wellbeing project, aligned with one of the areas of action of the decade of healthy aging, will add to our understanding of features of rural communities in the global south (Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa) that foster wellbeing of older adults. Rural and remote communities in these regions comprise vast geographical regions where a significant population of older people still lives. They are home to some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised people. Communities themselves may be poorly resourced. Poverty, low education, gender discrimination and less access to services tend to coexist in these communities.
What skills and resources were you able to draw from the community for this project?
In our case community means the community or researchers and the community of practitioners in older people care. In our case we are drawing on both the passion and commitment of these individuals from both the regions in question, but also from countries in the Northern Hemisphere. People donate their time, effort and insight to help further this project and its aims, since the recognise the benefit it can have for the care and wellbeing in communities.
The first phase of the project is a systematic review of current knowledge of community characteristics in the two regions that influence material and relational wellbeing of older persons. In the phase two we develop profiles of communities that reflect these characteristics. Together these activities will provide a detailed understanding of strengths and limitations in communities’ ability to support older residents and their families. The project will inform the action items from The UN Decade of Healthy Ageing: to ensure that communities foster the abilities of older people.
Addressing the challenges
Our project is still quite young. We seek to develop a network and knowledge base, from research and community practice, in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa on the care and wellbeing of older people, while developing the next generation of researchers to further this cause. We've made progress on a systematic review of literature in these regions and are cultivating the network of partners who work in communities and can add their knowledge and experience. Much still needs to be done.
We've assembled an international team working towards the aims of this project. Early days, we'll report as we go.