Demographics

The opportunity from an ageing population

Often ageing is characterised in a very negative way with most of the focus on cost. However to be fair to the United Nations and WHO much of the output of their various initiatives talks to the opportunity from ageing population as much as to the cost. Intrinsically the biggest challenge is to keep the ageing population as economically independent for as long as possible before inevitable decline. WHO points out for example “some 80 year olds have physical and mental capacities similar to many 20 year olds.” The concept of ‘Healthy Ageing’ is very prevalent in many of the papers. In this vein the key points from the World Health Organisation (WHO) plan to develop a comprehensive global strategy and action plan on ageing and health are listed below

  1. Commitment to Healthy Ageing.Requires awareness of the value of Healthy Ageing and sustained commitment and action to formulate evidence-based policies that strengthen the abilities of older persons.
  2. Aligning health systems with the needs of older populations.Health systems need to be better organized around older people’s needs and preferences, designed to enhance older peoples intrinsic capacity, and integrated across settings and care providers. Actions in this area are closely aligned with other work across the Organization to strengthen universal health care and people-centred and integrated health services.
  3. Developing systems for providing long-term care.Systems of long-term care are needed in all countries to meet the needs of older people. This requires developing, sometimes from nothing, governance systems, infrastructure and workforce capacity. WHO’s work on long-term care (including palliative care) aligns closely with efforts to enhance universal health coverage, address non-communicable diseases, and develop people-centred and integrated health services.
  4. Creating age-friendly environments.This will require actions to combat ageism, enable autonomy and support Healthy Ageing in all policies and at all levels of government. These activities build on and complement WHO’s work during the past decade to develop age-friendly cities and communities including the development of the Global Network of Age Friendly Cities and Communities and an interactive information sharing platform Age-friendly World.
  5. Improving measurement, monitoring and understanding.Focused research, new metrics and analytical methods are needed for a wide range of ageing issues. This work builds on the extensive work WHO has done in improving health statistics and information, for example through the WHO Study on Global Ageing and adult health (SAGE)

An important paper from WHO on healthy ageing was issued in April 2016 with an aim that by 2020 they will have established sufficient evidence and partnerships to enable them to support a decade of healthy ageing from 2020 to 2030.

This article was attributed and provided by PG International

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