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International Day of Families - Message of Support

International Day of Families: 15 May 2021

Dear Colleagues,

From its inception in 1994, International Day of Families has focused on raising awareness of the many issues relating to and affecting families, both nuclear and extended. As professionals focused on the mental health of older people, we continue to recognize these Global Awareness Days as opportunities to keep our older adult populations included in the conversation.

According to the UN website, “In preparation for the thirtieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, 2024 (IYF+30) the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs aims to raise awareness of mega-trends and present research on their impacts on families. The observances of the International Day of Families, 2021-2024 are to focus on each trend, starting with families and new technologies in 2021.”

Group-based inequalities exist across all of the UN mega-trends, but perhaps most noticeably in digital technologies. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this digital divide often determined who received needed services, and who did not. Older adults without access to, or understanding of, new technologies often experienced the most significant negative impacts of community lockdowns and resulting social isolation. This special issue of the IPA Bulletin, shows how members across the globe utilized technology via telehealth services for older adults amid the ongoing pandemic.

IPA members are encouraged to use International Day of Families to create discussion around the importance of older adults in our communities and their impact on families. As families become more technologically adept, we must not lose sight of the value of human connections.

Manabu Ikeda, MD, PhD
IPA President Elect
Chair, IPA Advocacy Task Force

Kiran Rabheru, MD, CCFP, FRCP, DABPN
IPA Board of Directors
Co-Chair, IPA Advocacy Task Force


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