Population aging is a global trend unprecedented in human history, posing serious problems for all humanity and being described as a “common problem of humanity” by the United Nations. According to the global initiative for healthy aging, countries all around the world have different developmental features in the health processes of their populations. This encompasses common trends in disability and dementia in seniors, as well as differences caused by regional socioeconomic circumstances, institutional frameworks, and cultural norms. To address the structural concerns associated with aging, such as labor supply, public services, and social insurance, governments around the world must urgently reconstruct public policies and social governance institutions that respond to the demands of aging populations. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten global public health and social development. As older adults are particularly vulnerable to the virus, their living conditions and healthcare models have been significantly affected, presenting various new opportunities and challenges for global health, healthcare, elderly services, and national aging social system development.
The four-day International Conference on Reimagining Aging in the New Normal was held in Hangzhou and Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, from June 20 to 23, 2023, both online and offline. It was organized by Zhejiang University and co-hosted by the School of Public Affairs of Zhejiang University, the “One Elderly One Young” Development Research Institute of Ningbo University of Technology, Zhejiang Service for the Aged Association, and the Ma Yinchu Studies Association of Zhejiang Province. The conference focused on cutting-edge research on aging reconstruction in the new normal. It aimed to provide a platform for experts and scholars to discuss research findings and experiences, share international practices in addressing aging-related issues in the post-pandemic era, explore the modernization of global aging, social security systems, and public health governance systems, and promote international cooperation among scholars in the field of aging research.
The conference was chaired by Professor Hong Mi, Dean of the School of Public Affairs at Zhejiang University, Director of Laboratory for Population Big Data and Policy Simulation, Executive Vice President and Secretary-General of Ma Yinchu Studies Association of Zhejiang Province, and Dean of the “One Elderly One Young” Development Research Institute at Ningbo University of Technology. The event brought together 42 leaders and experts from various organizations, including the Department of Rural Social Insurance of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China, the Flow Management Bureau of the National Health Commission of China, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Inclusive Social Development (UN/DISD), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (UNPD), the China Social Work Association, the China National Committee on Aging, the China Association of Social Security, the Development and Reform Commission of Ningbo, Grand Valley State University of Michigan, University of New South Wales, University of Iowa, Duke University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Renmin University of China, Xiamen University, Sun Yat-sen University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Nankai University, Hohai University, Nanjing Medical University, Soochow University, Xi’an Jiaotong-liverpool University, China Jiliang University, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, and Ningbo University of Technology. They delivered keynote speeches on topics such as country-specific research on healthy life expectancy, international comparisons of health policies and long-term care, international big data comparisons on elderly health of post-pandemic era, dementia research, disability research, international comparisons and policy innovations in chronic disease management, the second demographic transition and population aging, cutting-edge research on mental health and country-specific studies, emerging areas of elderly science research, and autonomous caregiving.
The conference invited Mr. Qian Wang, Vice President of the China Social Work Federation and former Director of the the Flow Management Bureau of the National Health Commission of China; Mr. Dianguo Zhao, Senior Expert of the China Social Insurance Society and former Director of the Department of Rural Social Insurance of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China; Mr. Jackie Zhang Ning, Dean of the School of Health at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, USA; Prof. Qianjun Shao, President of Ningbo University of Technology; Mr. Peinan Zhu, Deputy Director and member of the Party Group of the Ningbo Development and Reform Commission, full-time Deputy Director of Ningbo Municipal Committee for Social Construction; Ms. Wenyan Yang, Deputy Director, Division for Inclusive Social Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Dr. Nan Li, former Senior Officer for Population Affairs, United Nations Population Division; Ms. Bei Lu, Senior Researcher, Australian Centre for Excellence in Population Aging; Mr. Zhihong Li, Director of Policy Research Department, China Association of the Aging; Prof. Quanbao Jiang, Yangtze River Scholar of Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Dean Qian Dongfu of the School of Public Health of Nanjing Medical University were among the distinguished guests, and a total of more than 60 representatives committed to aging research attended the conference for in-depth exchanges and discussions.
The conference was held in Room 112, School of Public Affairs, Zijingang Campus, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou on June 20-21, and the conference was held in the lecture hall on the fourth floor of the administrative building of Ningbo University of Technology, Ningbo on June 22-23. In addition to the seminars, the conference also arranged on-site visits to Hangzhou Golden Years Healthcare Center and Taikang Home Daqinggu Pension Service Center, where experts discussed new retirement models such as medical and health care integration, medical and health care integration, continuous elderly care, and related elderly services, elderly medical care, elderly life care, spiritual comfort, age-appropriate transformation, hospice care and other elderly issues. In the afternoon of June 23, the conference was wrapped off with a lively debate on “Roundtable Forum: Cooperation and Development”. which had a clear theme, rich content, wonderful topics and fruitful results, and achieved a warm response. The conversation was well received and had a clear theme, rich substance, wonderful subjects, and fruitful outcomes. Finally, Prof. Hong Mi expressed his gratitude to all the experts who participated in the conference as well as the leaders and experts who have long supported and assisted the work of his group. He also eagerly anticipated the publication of the results of the exchange and discussion of the conference in the form of a special issue.
Contributor: Yini Maqi Xiaotong Tang Kexin Ding Hong Mi