The WHO World report on ageing and health highlights that while there is strong evidence that we are living longer, older people are not necessarily experiencing these extra years in better health than previous generations.
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 World report on ageing and health outlines a framework for action to foster Healthy Ageing built around the new concept of functional ability. This will require a transformation of health systems away from disease based curative models and towards the provision of older-person-centred and integrated care. It will require the development, sometimes from nothing, of comprehensive systems of long-term care. It will require a coordinated response from many other sectors and multiple levels of government. And it will need to draw on better ways of measuring and monitoring the health and functioning of older populations.
These investments will have valuable social and economic returns, both in terms of health and wellbeing of older people and in enabling their on-going participation in society. But the benefits will be lost to us unless we are all prepared to act. The Report provides concrete examples of how countries around the world are making this happen. With the release of this report and the development of a Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health WHO aims to galvanize attention and action on Healthy Ageing.