Comprehensive public health action on population ageing is urgently needed. This will require fundamental shifts, not just in the things we do, but in how we think about ageing itself.
The new World report on ageing and health outlines a framework for action to foster Healthy Ageing built around the new concept of functional ability. Making these investments will have valuable social and economic returns, both in terms of health and well-being of older people and in enabling their on-going participation in society.
“Today, most people, even in the poorest countries, are living longer lives,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “But this is not enough. We need to ensure these extra years are healthy, meaningful and dignified. Achieving this will not just be good for older people, it will be good for society as a whole.”
The Report rejects the stereotype of older people as frail and dependent and says the many contributions that older people make are often overlooked, while the demands that population ageing will place on society are frequently overemphasized or exaggerated.
The Report highlights 3 key areas for action which will require a fundamental shift in the way society thinks about ageing and older people. These actions can give the older people of today and tomorrow the ability to invent new ways of living.