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December 2014

“Together, turning every workspace into a training space”

Mike Davison

Mike Davison is a “gray-haired” chartered accountant in South Africa. He is working with Further Education Training Colleges in South Africa. He is also director at Candrea Advisory and an associate at WK Wilton Inc after 12 years with Deloitte, a 3-year detachment to the Malawi Government and 22 years in commerce.

I tried retiring twice; first time in 2003 and then again 2013. But you can’t play golf six days a week. Today I find purpose in giving back. I recruited nearly 30 gray-headed CAs to run a project for South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training. The contract was for a year and it has just been renewed.

It’s a hands-on task working with all 50 of the country’s Further Education and Training Colleges (FET colleges) to stabilize the financial management, develop a methodology, harmonize procedures and controls throughout the system and while training staff to take over once the project’s objectives have been achieved. Each college has four campuses so that makes it 200 sites. freedom

We are all enjoying this project and have a feeling of contribution and giving something important back to our country. Currently the group is discussing whether there will be « life after the project ». I am sure that there will be many other projects that will call on our skills and touch our hearts, says Mike.

Unfortunately, the majority of young people cannot rejoice at finding a job. The statistics are shocking. Only 32% of men and 39% of women study beyond age 16; only 32% of those who leave school at 16 find jobs and that is thanks to family members. The FET colleges train students for jobs in business, commerce, industry, technical services, building, security, IT and many more.

Article by Moira Allan, International Coordinator, Pass It On Network,

An Historic First …

60 months from now – by 2020 – for the first time in the history of mankind, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years. By 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion, up from 841 million today. Eighty percent of these older people will be living in low-income and middle-income countries.

See 10 facts on ageing and the life course

Society needs strategies to adapt to a longer life span,
Age-Friendly Cities are leading the way

Dr. Anabel Pelham

In a major new series on Health and Aging, published in “The Lancet,” the authors emphasize that the responsibility for improving quality of life for the world’s older people goes far beyond the health sector.

Leading the way in one of the practical applications of this sentiment is CAFÉ, a project of the Los Altos Community Foundation in Santa Clara County, California and beyond, to advance understanding of Age-Friendly cities and communities. CAFE intends to drive transformational change in creating healthy, active, sustainable, and engaged inter-generational communities.

The vision for CAFE, conceived under the guidance of Dr Anabel Pelham, PhD.* is a world in which older people flourish and thrive within vibrant communities that richly fulfill the eight domains of The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Age-Friendly Cities quality of life indicators. These include indicators such as respect and social inclusion, community support, transportation, and communication.

The Center will serve as a home for public and private resource generation, tangible and measurable best practice projects, and multimedia distributed information. It will study and develop Los Altos and Los Altos Hills as model age-friendly “living labs” and extend evidence-based practice to surrounding communities in Santa Clara County and elsewhere.


Worldwide, we are increasingly living in aging societies. This dramatic demographic shift offers both challenges and opportunities.

Academic Gerontology has made huge progress in explaining and predicting the metrics of what constitutes quality of life for older persons and a central emerging theme is the powerful influence of community and context in which aging takes place.

CAFE intends to assume a leadership role in advancing our understanding and creation of Age-Friendly cities and communities by applying research and best practices of academic Gerontology to the task of advancing livable communities for all generations.

* Dr Anabel Pelham, Ph.D. is president of the National Association of Professional Gerontologists (NAPG) and professor and founding director of the Gerontology Program at San Francisco State University.

Age Friendly Tuymazy

The Pass It On Network is « passing on » this information to a new member of the Age-Friendly Cities Network, West Yarmouth on Cape Cod and to Tuymazy, the first Russian city to join the WHO Age Friendly Cities Network. Please visit our Programs Page to learn more about Age Friendly Tuymazy.

Reflections of a Woman of 60

Silvia Crom

Silvia Crom, Psychologist and Pass It On Country Liaison in Argentina

When I turned 60 I started writing ….about all the changes and challenges I was experiencing – that as a couple of years ago. Today I have more than 5000 regular readers.

Spanish readers can find out more by visiting Silvia’s Blog. The latest topic is “Embracing the Life Course vs. Violence and Pathology” and in French “Le parcours de vie plutôt que violence et pathologie.”

Pass It On Network Connecting Moscow and Denver

Gulnara MinnigaleevaKim TothGulnara Minnigaleeva (left), the Pass It On Network country liaison for Russia, flew into Denver, Colorado, from Moscow in November to attend the International Association of Researchers on Non-Profit and Social Organization’s world conference.

We connected her with Kim Kirmmse Toth (right), our new US Regional Liaison for Western US, based in Denver.

We’re not sure how or when we will get together again, but we certainly found this visit to be very stimulating and hope it won’t be too long before we carry on this enriching exchange.

What can we learn about Investing in Women Age 60+

The New York Women’s Foundation has just published a Blueprint for Investing in Women Age 60+. Older women – particularly low-income older women of color and immigrant older women – represent a significant and growing segment of NYC’s population, according to the Voices from the Field research team that produced the Blueprint. They play vital roles in tens of thousands of families across some of the poorest communities of the city – managing housekeeping and child-minding duties so adult children can be put in grueling work hours, single handedly raising some 100,000 grandchildren, and caring and providing for dependent relatives of all ages. Many are the pillars of faith and community organizations. Some still manage paid work. And most fill these multiple, critical functions while contending with a range of steep challenges – poverty, compromised health, ongoing losses of social networks, and inadequate care for their own needs.

The Executive Summary, Full Report, and Presentation on Report Findings may be viewed here.

Enjoy this interactive presentation of the brainbrain

From the BBC (click on image to visit BBC Home’s Science: Human Body & Mind)




Wikipedia Still Ad-Free

wikipediaI have been using Wikipdia for years now and got this note back after making a modest donation:

Most people who use Wikipedia are surprised to hear it is run by a non-profit organization and funded by your donations. Each year, just enough people donate to keep the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone.

Thank you for making this mission possible. On behalf of half a billion people who read Wikipedia, thousands of volunteer editors, and staff at the Foundation, I thank you for keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free this year. Lila Tretikov, Executive Director,
 Wikimedia Foundation

October/November 2014

Hans Kristjan GudmundssonWelcome to Iceland

The Pass It On Network is delighted to welcome Dr Hans Kristjan Gudmundsson, as country liaison for Iceland. Physicist, engineer, scientific counselor, dean of a business school faculty … read more.

Ukraine: A Real Nightmare

« I can’t believe in the middle of Europe in the 21st century seniors are suffering from starvation! » Galina Poliakova*

A real war has been unleashed in the East of Ukraine. It has changed our lives. We are involved now in a range of previously unthinkable activities… read more.

*Galina Poliakova, is Chief Executive Officer of Age Concern Ukraine, a NGO fostering mutual- and self-help for elder people. It runs branches in 10 of the country’s 24 administrative provinces and over 2000 volunteers… that was until Crimea was lost to Russia earlier this year. It was created in 1999 on initiative of the WHO and with moral, methodological and practical support of Age Concern England (UK) and the Community FUND (UK)., email:

Old Up logo
« Not so young, but not so old » is the motto of our dynamic partner Old’Up. They have just updated their web site and we invite our French readers to discover it.

France follows a world trend

The job market is now set on « Mission Mode » and rent-a-senior is an innovative answer

David RudnianskiDavid Rudnianski, president and co-founder of Louer-Un-Senior, an Internet platform that connects independent experts and growing companies, explains: “When we talk about seniors, we’re talking specifically about seniority and + 20 years of experience”.

David, a statistician and economist, and his associates launched Louer–Un-Senior (Rent-a-Senior) through “L’Accélérateur”* in June 2013. Their Internet platform was up and running by January 2014 and ten months later they have + 800 senior profiles on line, mostly in their 50s; 100 companies, mostly SMEs, and have brokered 150 deals.

In France, the job market has undergone a radical change since the start of the economic crisis and more than 80% of new jobs today are covered by short temporary contracts for specific missions. At the same time recruitment has switched from agencies and head hunters to the look-at-what-I-can-do social media, mainly LinkedIn. This called for a new interface, a new way of facilitating supply and demand. The Rent-a-Senior site does just that.

David’s plans for the next five years are to go global: « The most under utilized resources in the market place today are international experience, cross cultural skills and languages”. »

Louer-Un-Senior logoLearn more

*L’Accelerateur provides seed funding and coaching for start ups. Twice a year L’Accelerateur invests a small amount of money in a large number of start ups (most recently 68). It has funded +60 startups in France since 2012 – same principle as launch pad for Airbnb, Dropbox, Wepay and hundreds more.

Living Longer, Aging Well

Living Longer Aging Well logoBy 2025, older adults will comprise a greater portion of our society than at any time in human history. In the next decade, age-related illnesses and labor dynamics threaten to strain our institutions and support systems in unprecedented ways, upending assumptions about what it means to age well. Co-founder of the Pass It On network, Dr Jan Hively, participated in this conference which aimed to address the varied and competing needs of aging in the next 10 years, incuding both social and technological shifts to holistically support four core facets of aging well—body, mind, wealth, and relationships. Read more.

Eurag logoEURAG

Read the latest newsletter from EURAG, Europe’s oldest umbrella federation of senior organizations.

BBC News

With thanks to the BBC and the IFA

BBC News UK – Older Workers are ‘Untapped Resource’

In early June, BBC News in the United Kingdom (UK) featured a segment in which they discussed how the UK, like many other countries around the world, are transitioning into a period where opportunities to retire early with a substantial pension are a relic of the past. The segment discussed the phenomenon of people working into later life and specifically mentioned the fact that retaining experienced and productive workers could potentially be beneficial for individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole.

Watch the video here.

Human Rights for Elders Europe takes a major step + 50 best practices

The Council of Europe took a major step forward in February 2014 by adopting the first ever set of principles on human rights of older people.

The text adopted underlines the importance of ensuring that older people enjoy their rights and freedoms without discrimination on any grounds, including age. “They are entitled to lead their lives independently, in a self-determined and autonomous manner” reads the text sent to governments, stressing that this encompasses the right to take independent decisions on all issues which concern them. View additional information.

Men’s Sheds meeting needs and making goods in the UK

Men’s Sheds are work spaces where people make and mend whatever they can in their own time and at own pace. Mike Jenn launched the idea in the UK a year ago and there are already 40 sheds. They are the ‘shed in the garden’ open to all. Sheds are mainly aimed at retired/redundant men but can be for over 18’s (younger if there is an inter-generational program) and include women.Guys (including those who are isolated/lonely) get to meet each other over work-tasks, and form a community; they talk and share experience, skills, information; they learn, and are often exploring new ideas, methods, activities; there are health benefits inc a 5% improvement in mental health compared with inactive men; members often volunteer to help community organizations with things they need made/mended; materials get re-used. The recommendation is a very practical document. It sets out principles under 6 major headings and follows each section with specific examples of good practices. In so doing emulation is favored. The sections are:

  • non-discrimination
  • autonomy and participation
  • protection from violence and abuse
  • social protection
  • care
  • administration of justice

NESTA UK offers innovations DIY Tool Kit – Downloadable

DIY Development Impact & You toolkit developed by NESTA and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation offers a variety of tool kits including 30 downloadable templates from a people & connections map to a scaling map and a marketing mix. NESTA describes itself as an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life.

May launch for Skype Pals France-Yarmouth (MA)

West Yarmouth has officially started the process of becoming an age friendly city and has received the World Health Organization’s recognition.

One of the many actions that will be launched is a program to broaden, the horizons of senior citizens in Yarmouth and in France through regular Skype calls.

We “pass on” a few of the 50+ best practices:

Finland published, in 2012, a Diversity Charter and established a Diversity Network among employers established aiming at developing tools for managing diversity and exchanging good practices in working life. Finland also fosters The “Occupy your own age” movement which is a network for good aging established between seven Finnish organizations for social work for the elderly.

In Denmark, a long-running campaign on age-friendly practices in the workplace is implemented at local level. Municipalities help older persons to find purpose and passion and encourage them to work for longer.