VOLUME 37, NO. 4 • DECEMBER 2020
Tzung-Jeng Hwang, IPA Bulletin Editor-in-Chief
Despite the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, IPA has been striving to provide exemplary programs and activities for all members throughout the world. Although world events forced the IPA Congress to be held virtually, it was a very successful event with all presentations remaining of the highest caliber. The LIVE program included two keynote speeches and 12 symposia, while the On-Demand program included ten symposia, 51 free communications, and 71 posters. A total of nearly 600 people registered from more than 30 countries, and at the peak of the LIVE program 250 people were online at the same time. Please note that attendees can still choose to register for and access the LIVE program until 31 December 2020 and ON-DEMAND sessions until 31 March 2021.
The Program and Services Task Force will continue to provide more activities such as webinars and the IPA café. The Advocacy & Public Awareness Task Force of the IPA has created a list of dates for promoting and supporting global awareness. As mentioned in the president’s message, the IPA has started fruitful discussions on relevant issues with the International Federation of Aging (IFA), the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), the World Dementia Council (WDC), Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP). We have also continued efforts aimed at strengthening collaborations with our affiliate member societies, all with a focus on improving the mental health of older people.
I am pleased to introduce to you Dr. Migita M. D'cruz,who joined our editorial team recently. Dr. Migita M. D'cruz is from Kerala, India, and is currently pursuing her third year DM in Geriatric Psychiatry under the Department of Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India. She has been an active advocate for gero-diversity and social issues. Let's welcome her on board, and we look forward to her contributions to our Bulletin.
In this issue, there are eight articles: four in "Research and Practice", three in "Around the World", and one in "Technology Corner".
In "Research and Practice" Drs. Elias Ghossoub and Rita Khoury (Lebanon) review the management of agitation in dementia with emphasis on considering non-pharmacological treatments and the proper use of psychotropics. Dr. Mark Rapoport (Canada) describes three issues related to telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic: the use of verbal fluency in categorizing mild cognitive impairment, the readiness of older people for virtual care, and a virtual neurological examination. Dr. Verbeek et al. (The Netherlands) report their work on how to support the autonomy of nursing home residents with dementia through communication and partnership between family caregivers and nursing staff. Dr. Nahathai Wongpakaran et al. (Thailand) discuss attachment style and how higher levels of attachment anxiety may be associated with increased suicide risk.
The three articles in "Around the World" are all related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Laura Valzolgher (Italy) reports on the second wave of COVID-19 in a "red zone" of South Tyrol of Italy. She reminds us that older adults are the ones especially requiring healthcare resources and social supports, and at the same time are the ones at greatest risk during the pandemic. Dr. Clarissa Giebel (UK) provides research findings on the impact of COVID-19 on older adults in Uganda. Specifically, public health measures were found to have a detrimental effect on older adults in Uganda because most of them lack financial resources and suffer from poor living conditions. These findings raise the question of whether public health measures can at times cause more harm than good. Dr. Migita M. D'cruz (India) discusses how despite the disproportionate risk for those with dementia during the coronavirus pandemic, in India the issue is still under-addressed in healthcare guidelines; she discusses the main points and suggests relevant suggestions for improvement. In the Technology corner, Ying-Jyun Shih and Dr. Yung-Jen Yang (Taiwan) update us on the use of medication dispensers, which are essential for patient safety. They introduce a variety of traditional and "smart" dispensers and discuss the usefulness and limitations.
Lastly, I sincerely wish our members all stay healthy and have a blessed holiday. You are important to the older people around you. Thank you for your interest in the IPA Bulletin. Please submit articles and share your thoughts and experiences with us! You can reach us at IPABulletin@ipa-online.org.