Professor Daniel Lai is an internationally recognized in the field of research on various topics of gerontology, socio-cultural determinants of health and wellbeing of older adults, culturally sensitive social and health care practice, mental health rehabilitation, social exclusion, and social integration among culturally diverse and immigrant older adults, with significant importance in the context of increasing diversity and population aging in Canada, Hong Kong, Mainland China and internationally. He has a strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals and a strong record from grants from funders and collaborations with government bodies, NGOs, charities and other professional agencies. His major research expertise are social determinants of health and wellness of culturally diverse aging population, caregiving and caregivers of culturally diverse communities, and community and social policy practices for aging populations. Professor Lai also has a strong capacity and experience in local and international partnership building and knowledge exchange for impacts on social and public health policy development and the promotion of social justice and social change to benefit older adult populations, people from culturally diverse communities, and their families.
Combating inter-generational ageism: A case study of an infusion active ageing education program
Anita Lee is a Project Associate of Institute of Active Ageing (IAA), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, responsible for project management primarily on intergenerational practice-research, strategic planning, funding seeking, growth and performance of the IAA’s brand within the community. She is inspired that the innovative practice-research program activities bring the unexpected benefits to the olds and the youngs. Being Research Assistant for a couples of years within institutions, she has decided to test the theories to further down to earth. The outdated programs and activities in the elderly community centres are no longer accommodating nowadays active agers. In addition, bringing multi-generational element as part of the service, it is not only providing more opportunities of engagement between them, but also assisting to expedite the modification of elderly policy in Hong Kong. After 12 years’ service at an American Banking sector, she returned to college to start her new adventure in life. Anita holds a master degree of Gerontology from The University of Hong Kong in 2014 and a bachelor of science in Psychology from Upper Iowa University followed by Associate Degree in Accounting from The University of Hawaii, Kapiolani College.
Daniel Lai, Faculty of Social Sciences Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Anita Lee, Institute of Active Ageing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Population ageing creates new opportunities for expanding not only care services but also the business sector. It increases demands for tailored goods and services as well as diverse professionals with knowledge of ageing consumers’ interests and characteristics and skills in responding to their needs. This highlights the need for collective and multidisciplinary changes that can make society better prepared and equipped to respond to population ageing opportunities and challenges.
In other words, the current younger generation will take up important roles of future service providers in both private and public sectors. Unfortunately, negative stereotypes of older people continue to exist. Older adults are often portrayed as incompetent, frail, poor, and unattractive. It is also generally believed that older adults view the young generation as immature, rebellious, and emotional. There seems to be a lack of positive change or improvement in the stereotypical image of older adults over the past decades globally. Therefore, it is of critical importance to promote gerontological education in current educational programs to better equip our future young professionals.
This workshop will introduce and illustrate the ways in which gerontologists can work with university educators and other stakeholders to promote the integration of gerontological education. As a pilot study, an ongoing 24-months infusion active ageing education program (IAAE) has been conducted in a university setting in Hong Kong. Program activities were organized with a variety of formats, such as thematic talks by gerontological professionals and scholars, intergenerational interactives games, and co-learning workshops. After the first 12 months, a sample of 84 students (45 females and 40 males) had participated in IAAE activities. A single-group pre-post design was adopted to evaluate the outcomes of these activities. Students’ knowledge, attitudes, professional interests, and skills in relation to older adults were measured via standardized instruments and self-administrated questionnaires at both baseline and post-test. To supplement the quantitative results, in -depth interviews were conducted with both students and older adults to examine their subjective experiences. Within-group changes were examined via paired t-tests. The results showed that after the activities, students reported significantly lower levels of prejudice toward older adults (p<0.01). They also reported more positive professional attitudes at a marginally significant level (p<0.1). The qualitative findings complement these quantitative results, showing that participants reported gaining more knowledge and establishing more positive attitudes and fewer stereotypes of older adults. From the feedback of the academic staff who participated in the study, they indicated that infused gerontological in-class activities assisted the teaching strategies and boosted students’ learning outcomes. Importantly, the IAAE program helped to increase academic staff sensitivity to population ageing challenges, justifying the importance of infusing gerontological knowledge into formal curricula. Last but not the least, this program aims to enhance institutional capacity in the academia to support the development of future academic and social leaders to handle ageing-related opportunities and challenges.
In this workshop, speakers will share the preparation and operationalization of the IAAE program and discuss future recommendations with the audience.