- Active ageing applies to both individuals and population groups. It allows people to realize their potential for physical, social, and mental well being throughout the life course and to
- participate in society according to their needs, desires and capacities, while providing them with adequate protection, security and care when they require assistance.
- The word “active” refers to continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, not just the ability to be physically active or to participate in the labour force.
- Older people who retire from work and those who are ill or live with disabilities can remain active contributors to their families, peers, communities and nations.
- In 2002, almost 400 million people aged 60 and over lived in the developing world. By 2025, this will have increased to approximately 840 million representing 70 percent of all older
- people worldwide.
- Asia’s share of the world’s oldest people will continue to increase the most while Europe’s share as a proportion of the global older population will decrease the most over the next two decades.
- Rapid ageing in developing countries is accompanied by dramatic changes in family structures and roles, as well as in labour patterns and migration.
- Urbanization, the migration of young people to cities in search of jobs, smaller families and more women entering the formal workforce mean that fewer people are available to care for older people when they need assistance.
DETERMINANTS OF ACTIVE AGEING
- Cultural values and traditions determine to a large extent how a given society views older people and the ageing process.
- Employment, which is a determinant throughout adult life greatly influences one’s financial readiness for old age. Access to high quality, dignified long-term care is particularly important in later life.
- Women’s traditional role as family caregivers may also contribute to their increased poverty and ill health in older age. Some women are forced to give up paid employment to carry out their caregiving responsibilities. Others never have access to paid employment because they work full-time in unpaid caregiving roles, looking after children,
older parents, spouses who are ill and grandchildren. At the same time, boys and men are more likely to suffer debilitating injuries or death due to violence, occupational hazards,
- Despite best efforts in health promotion and disease prevention, people are at increasing risk of developing diseases as they age. Thus access to curative services becomes indispensable.
- One of the myths of ageing is that it is too late to adopt such lifestyles in the later years. On the contrary, engaging in appropriate physical activity, healthy eating, not smoking and using alcohol and medications wisely in older age can prevent disease and functional decline, extend longevity and enhance one’s quality of life.
- Biology and genetics greatly influence how a person ages. Ageing is a set of biological processes that are genetically determined. Ageing can be defined as a progressive, generalized
impairment of function resulting in a loss of adaptative response to a stress and in a growing risk of age-associated disease.
WHAT CAN BE DONE? – A POLICY FRAMEWORK