New Year Update from IGS President, Dr. Diarmuid O'Shea

Welcome to 2018

Each year, many consider their New Years’ resolutions. Some make them, some keep them and others don’t!  People are becoming more and more focused on their own health, welfare and wellbeing and on how health and social care is being provided across the life continuum.  Expectations have never been higher.  The Irish healthcare system, through the National Clinical and Integrated Care Programme for Older People, among many other initiatives, is now beginning to address Ireland’s ageing demographic changes – and in particular the expectations and demands of our older population.

WHO Feedback and Update

We recently submitted feedback to the World Health Organisation on their 13th General Programme of Work (2019-2013). We emphasized on your behalf the crucial role the WHO does and can play.  As older people have different physical, cognitive and social requirements, all associated support systems need to adapt to meet the demands associated with these demographic changes.  Empowering professionals with up-to-date knowledge and skills will ensure that when an older person needs health, welfare or social support, the attention they receive will be better planned, better coordinated, easier to access and truly person-centered.  The WHO’s reach, influence and advocacy is needed now more than ever.  Within the new reports they issue they must be seen to lead the charge in preparing for an “age accommodating and age attuned” society in the years ahead. 

Update: The WHO issued a revised draft of their Programme of Work on 5th |January 2018. The updated contents includes a high profile on ageing, and for the first time there will be an age related indicator. You can view or download the most recent draft here.

Suite of Meetings

The IGS in the coming year will host a suite of meetings to develop our themes around Transforming Ageing in Ireland.  Our flagship event is of course the IGS Annual and Scientific Meeting 2018 which this year will be held in CavanThis conference will be held in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Hospital Group.  This meeting will be a collaborative one, with the participation of our counterparts from Northern Ireland from both the British Geriatrics Society and the British Society of Gerontology.  The theme for the meeting will be “Transforming Ageing Across Borders”.  We look forward to working with them on this.  There will be plenty to discuss, debate and explore, including the new emerging specialty of “Brexontology”.  In April we will hold our annual IGS Postgraduate Research Day, and in May a Summer Symposium on "Interdisciplinary Education - Unlocking our Potential", but more on those in the next few months.

IGS Professional Development

In the next few weeks we will also launch a new online learning initiative: Transforming Ageing in Ireland – The IGS Professional Development Ageing Review Journal.  Our new, interactive online journal will focus on recently published articles that have influenced or impacted on ageing policies or practices, professional developments, or which have made an important contribution towards improving the quality of support and care delivered to older people.  We are actively looking for contributors, so if you are interested, please keep an eye out for our next update which will include further information on how you can participate in this initiative by contributing articles or editorials.

Empowering people through knowledge and education has the capacity to improve and harness our individual and combined expertise and practices. I hope that our new Professional Development initiative, along with the suite of meetings planned for the year ahead, will provide useful vehicles for you to keep up to date with the most recent advances and knowledge in your fields.  If you want to discuss writing a review for this new venture please get in touch with us at

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the dedicated work you do on behalf of the older person and your input and contribution to the IGS.  And of course finally we wish you a very happy, personally and professionally fulfilling 2018.  See you all in Cavan!