Culture, Care, and Community Empowerment for Lifespan Development: International Perspectives
As industrialism and economic development have swept across the globe, cultural values and the role of the people in various societies have become casualties of the drive towards materialism and economic progress. As many industrialized nations face an aging population and the economic strains of changing dependency ratios, societies will have to create social policies and programs to meet the needs of their new demographic. And, these needs will have to addressed through the cooperative efforts of many facets of any society - governments, both national and local, non-governmental organizations, non-profit and private-sector organizations, and people themselves. The long-discussed notion of empowerment is a useful concept or goal in this new world, but one which requires a concrete framework for implementation and evaluation- a framework which can cross national and cultural boundaries to be utilized in many different situations. We describes such a framework of community empowerment for life span development, initially devised in Japan, then applied to programs in other countries, with special attention to local cultural values. Applications of the CASE framework (Creation, Adaptation, Sustenance, and Evaluation/Expansion) in Japan, Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Thailand the United States and Canada have been explored. Participation by and empowerment of the people in areas of health promotion, family caregiving, housing, and community development will be examined. This is offered in the hope that we may be able to create communities that can meet their own needs, in an interdependent manner that draws on many levels of contribution to make lives worth living across the lifespan, regardless of where we live.