Healthy ageing: a vision of the future?

On the International Day of Older Persons the World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a new ‘World Report on Ageing and Health’. Here Ken Bluestone, who leads Age International’s policy and influencing work, looks at the findings from the report. 

An astonishing transformation is taking place that has until now been absent from mainstream development thinking: global ageing. Its absence is even more surprising as the evidence makes clear that demographic changes are affecting developing countries the most.

Currently about one in ten of the population is aged 60 or over; but within a generation – 2050 – this ratio will soar to one in five.  Two-thirds of the 868 million older people alive today are in developing countries; and of the 2 billion people expected to be over the age of 60 by 2050, over three-quarters will live in low and middle-income countries. The rate of change is phenomenal.

What we do with this information will determine whether this new reality is something to welcome or be feared. This is why the World Health Organisation’s new ‘World Report on Ageing and Health’ released today on the International Day of Older Persons is so important. Its message is clear: celebrate our longer lives; invest in older people; but most importantly – be prepared. Continue reading “Healthy ageing: a vision of the future?”

Facing the Facts

HajiYesterday evening, Age International launched its flagship publication Facing the Facts: the truth about ageing and development at the House of Lords. It contains a series of articles by thought-leaders, academics and development experts, including Mary Robinson, Dr Margaret Chan and Sir Brendan Gormley.

Continue reading “Facing the Facts”

Tackling witchcraft accusations in Tanzania

Tanzanian womanThis blog post is from Natalie Idehen, Communications Manager at Age UK. Natalie is undertaking a three-month secondment with HelpAge Tanzania.

In Tanzania between 2005 and 2011, approximately 500 older people were murdered due to suspicions that they were witches. Worryingly, these numbers are increasing.

Continue reading “Tackling witchcraft accusations in Tanzania”

Why does it take so long for aid to get through to the Philippines? And why is aid different for older people?

This blog was contributed by Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of Age UK and member of the Age International Board

As well as being the Chair of Age UK, I am also on the Board of its subsidiary charity, Age International. I believe passionately that people in later life all over the world deserve our support. That is why I am proud that Age International is helping older people in more than 40 developing countries around the world, including the Philippines after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.

When disasters strike, people ask me three main questions:

 1.Will aid be delivered?

Yes it will. I have had the privilege of seeing our work in action. We work through local partners who know the situation on the ground better than anyone else. We have strict monitoring and evaluation procedures in place, so we know money will be used correctly. In the Philippines, we are working through our

Help Age International beneficiary Francesca Genemilo , 78, at a HAI food distribution camp. She has diabetes but no access to medicine , her husband who is also ill is taking shelter at the local clinic even though it has no staff."Because he is old the medical services think it is not an emergency"
Help Age International beneficiary Francesca Genemilo , 78, at a HAI food distribution camp. She has diabetes but no access to medicine , her husband who is also ill is taking shelter at the local clinic even though it has no staff.”Because he is old the medical services think it is not an emergency”

long-term partners, HelpAge and the Coalition of Services for the Elderly (COSE) with whom we have worked for 30 and 26 years respectively.

2.Why does it take so long to deliver aid?

Vast swathes of the country have been destroyed; aid workers and government officials themselves affected; electricity pylons knocked down; ports destroyed; airports closed; runways and roads covered in debris. This is not an easy environment in which to be operating. Anacleta, 77, told us “I’ve experienced many typhoons in my life, but this is the worst one ever.” Continue reading “Why does it take so long for aid to get through to the Philippines? And why is aid different for older people?”

Why we need a convention on the rights of older people

This blog was contributed by Chris Roles, Director of Age International.

The world is undergoing a demographic revolution. We are currently witnessing the dividends of improving health care and living standards in fast rising longevity across the globe.

Chris Roles, Director of Age International
Chris Roles, Director of Age International

The number of older people over 60 years old is expected to increase from about 600 million in 2000 to 2 billion by 2050. This change will be most dramatic in developing world countries where the number of older people is expected to triple during the next 40 years.

But as often happens with demographic change, social attitudes and legal protection lag behind, with policy makers scrambling to keep up with the transforming landscape. Continue reading “Why we need a convention on the rights of older people”

Celebrating the achievements of older people

1 October is the International Day of Older Persons.  Age International sees this as a time to celebrate the achievements of older people and a time to celebrate increased life expectancy around the world.


In Vietnam, Van Quang and Vu Thi celebrate a long and happy marriage

Population ageing is one of the most significant trends of the 21st century. With 1 in 9 persons in the world aged 60 years or over, projected to increase to 1 in 5 by 2050, population ageing is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored.

It has important and far-reaching implications for all aspects of society.

Population ageing is happening in all regions and countries at various levels of development. It is progressing fastest in developing countries, including those that have a large population of young people. Of the current 15 countries with more than 10 million older persons, seven of these are developing countries.

Ageing is a triumph of development and increasing longevity is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. People live longer because of improved nutrition, sanitation, medical advances, health care, education and economic well-being. Continue reading “Celebrating the achievements of older people”

Guest blog – Sponsor a Grandparent

This guest blog was contributed by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, award winning gardener and author of the Good Granny Guide who recently visited projects in Ethiopia funded by the Sponsor a Grandparent scheme.

First impression of Addis Ababa:  dazzling sunshine and a chaotic kaleidoscope of colour. Ethiopian women love to wear bright, strong, clashing shades of blue, green.

Before we left home, friends said, ‘you’ll find the poverty distressing.’ But somehow I don’t. Yes, there is dire poverty, and grandparents go hungry so their grandchildren can eat, and so they can go to school (school is free, but the uniform, the exercise books and school dinners are not). We came to Ethiopia to see projects funded by Age UK and Help Age International – projects planned specifically to help grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren. The dignity and fortitude of the grandmothers in overcoming their problems are heart-warming and inspiring. They manage to make a little help go a long way., shocking pink, gold, orange, purple. This, and their smiling faces, make it difficult to remember we’re in the poorest country in Africa. Continue reading “Guest blog – Sponsor a Grandparent”