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?”

More cities sign up as Age Friendly Cities

This blog was contributed by Emily Georghiou, Age UK’s Public Affairs Adviser – Age Action. 

I recently had the privilege to attend the 2013 signing of the Dublin Declaration on Age Friendly Cities and Communities on behalf of Age UK. Over 40 mayors and representatives were present from over 60 cities and municipalities across Europe, all committed to making their localities great places to grow old.

photoThe Dublin Declaration was originally signed in 2011, during the 1st International Conference on Age Friendly Cities.

Building on this and timed to coincide with the Irish Presidency and EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing, the Dublin Declaration 2013 includes a new EU pledge to uphold a set of principles to measure, benchmark and drive future development of age friendly cities. Continue reading “More cities sign up as Age Friendly Cities”

World Health Day – Launch of knowledge transfer toolkit

7 April is World Health Day and this year the theme is active ageing.  Age UK and the World Health Organisation are marking the occasion by launching a ‘knowledge transfer toolkit’ to help low and middle-income countries address chronic illnesses. 

In many parts of the globe today, there are millions of older people who are suffering from chronic long-term illness.  This, you might think, is not surprising – it is widely known and appreciated that as we get older, the risk of illness increases.  However, for many older people in the poorer parts of the world, there is a cruel paradox.

They are the survivors of the AIDS epidemic which places them as the carers of their grandchildren, but they themselves may have an undiagnosed disease or an untreated condition.  The problem will continue to worsen as the population of low to middle-income countries (LMIC) ages.

These so-called LMICs have health systems which have been set up to deal with and prevent communicable disease – malaria, water-borne diseases, TB and HIV/AIDS.  This emphasis is increasingly successful.  As the risks are reduced and the survival rate improves, more will progress into later life where they may develop chronic long-term illnesses. Continue reading “World Health Day – Launch of knowledge transfer toolkit”