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Healthy ageing is more than just the absence of disease.  It is the process of developing and maintaining functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age (WHO, 2015).

New evidence suggests that a combination of a person’s physical and mental capacities (known as intrinsic capacity) is a strong predictor of health and wellbeing but represents only one factor that will determine the actions and activities of an older person.

With age, the likelihood of developing multiple chronic conditions increases but for many older people comprehensive management with targeted interventions comes far too late.  Concomitant with an ageing global population with multi-morbidities is the cost to societies.

The greatest costs however may not be the expenditures to foster functional ability, but the benefits that might be missed if nations fail to make the appropriate investments (WHO, 2015).

Through the theme “Healthy Ageing” several key aspects of ageing, health and functional changes will be explored.  For instance:

  • Older persons are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition and many of the diseases suffered in later age are the result of dietary factors. Also the pattern of women living longer than men involves its own special nutritional needs, emphases and patterns of malnutrition, including for example the incidence of osteoporosis in older women.
  • Cognitive ageing and more severe cognitive pathologies affect not only the individual but also their family, community, social services, and health services. An emerging priority is to identify low cost, accessible interventions that offer a promise of reducing cognitive ageing and more severe cognitive pathologies worldwide or enhancing cognitive function.
  • With vaccination rates significantly higher in infants than in their grandparents it becomes painfully clear just how neglected this aspect of their health is. In many countries we also expect older people to stay in the work force a lot longer and have high expectations of their ability to perform.  Vaccinations can significantly reduce the number of sick days.  Older people have a right to avoid getting sick when there are safe, cost effective ways of doing so.

Submissions considered with this theme and sub-themes should canvass:

  • A new narrative around health promotion and disease prevention across the life course
  • Building and maintaining intrinsic capacity
  • Enabling older adults to be healthy so that can do what they value

Toward Healthy Ageing Sub-Themes

  • Cognitive Health
  • Disease Management
  • Eye Health
  • Hearing
  • Life Course Approach to Vaccination
  • Nutrition
  • Oral Health

References

  • World Health Organization. (2015). World report on ageing and health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/ageing/events/world-report-2015-launch/en/