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President's Message

IPA Bulletin: VOLUME 35, NO. 1 • MARCH 2018

Mary Sano, IPA President

The winter Olympics are over and winners and losers head home having been part of a truly global event that captured audiences and summoned small new hopes for peace and cohabitations. This fantastic event focuses on what the youthful human spirit can accomplish. But accomplishments are life long and I am reminded of Celina Seghi, born in March of 1920, an Italian alpine skier and Olympic medalist, who continued to ski into her nineties. She reminds us of the perseverance we need for a healthy old age. With this arc of life and age in mind, I want to update you on activities toward the objectives I had set out for IPA in my inaugural message.

As you may recall, I spoke of widening our reach to embrace professionals who serve our mission of aging mental health across the globe. Addressing this goal we have initiated planning for geriatric psychiatry training materials focusing on the needs of our colleagues in Central and South America. We will build on the opportunity afforded to IPA by the Alzheimers Association’s plan to host a meeting in Buenos Aires, entitled “Discover new Pathways to Alzheimer and Dementia Research in Latin America”. This meeting will bring together world experts in many areas of geriatric psychiatry. Working closely with Favaloro University Faculty of Medicine and INECO we are planning to provide state of the art training programs in geriatric mental health covering topics including delirium, depression, agitation and strategies for senior wellness and mental health. These lectures and courses will be prepared using digital medium to provide wide dissemination and high quality enduring materials. We hope this will serve as a prototype for many new professional development opportunities.

I also endorsed a mission to widen our reach to the breadth of professionals who serve the elderly in ways that enhance mental health and wellness. In keeping with that theme I am excited to tell you about the IPA plan to partner with International Physical Therapists working with Older Adults (IPTOP) and Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) to support an educational program entitled: “Addressing the Impact of Cognitive Frailty and Dementia on the Rehabilitation of Older Adults”. As a pre-session to the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Congress in Montreal this November, this program is for physiotherapists, and other allied health professionals working with older adults as a unique opportunity to share expertise.

The IPA experience of assembling world authorities on behavioral management in dementia has allowed us to develop and share informative guides for diagnosis and treatment of these conditions for a wide range of practitioners. More recently we provided preliminary guidelines of agitation in dementia. Recently, through its journal, International Psychogeriatrics, IPA members had a chance to review the latest thinking on early sublet psychiatric symptoms in the “Special issue on mild behavioral impairment and non-cognitive prodromes to dementia”. This is another example of the IPA focus on the full range of mental health issues in the elderly.

Using this “Advisor model” we are working to assemble world experts on circadian and sleep disturbances in aging people. Information on the role of sleep in healthy aging and mental health continues to grow coming forward from a range of disciplines and specialty fields. Basic and clinical science identifies multiple mechanisms through which sleep can impact the aging brain and cognitive and mental health. Behavioral and cognitive therapies can also play a critical role in the management of these conditions. There is an unmet need to provide a systematic approach for geriatric mental health providers to assess sleep, and to understand the best methods for treating disorders of sleep. We are working to bring together clinical leaders to evaluate and summarize available information. Gaps in knowledge for the translation of science to best clinical practice need to be identified. Ultimately we hope to contribute to future clinical guidelines and tools for sleep evaluation and treatment.

Hopefully you will be excited about the knowledge and opportunities IPA is offering. Share these with friends and colleagues and encourage them to join us as we strengthen the workforce that will care for our aging society.


VCambridge University Press