Age needs one voice. Now it has:
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern England and
Help the Aged in England.
World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April each year to mark the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO). This year, the day focuses on ageing and health. We have much to celebrate but there are many challenges ahead.
Good health can add years to life and enable older people to extend their active involvement in all levels of society.
The past century has seen remarkable improvements in life expectancy. For instance, In 1910, the life expectancy for a Chilean female was 33 years; today, a mere century later, it is 82 years.
Such success comes with many challenges...
Chronic illnesses, are more prevalent in older age, and include conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, respiratory illnesses, rheumatism and dementia.
Of the 36 million people estimated by WHO to die of NCDs each year, 71% are aged 60 and over. Even in poor countries, most older people die of chronic illnesses rather than from infectious and parasitic diseases. In addition, older people often have several health problems at the same time, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Approximately 65% of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older, even thought this age group only comprises about 19% of the world's population. With an increasing elderly population in many countries, more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment.
Worldwide, there will be a dramatic increase in the number of people with dementias such as Alzheimer's disease, as people live longer.
Alzheimer's Disease International estimates that by 2050, the number of people living with dementia will rise from 36 million to 115 million, and the proportion living in low- and middle-income countries will rise from 58 to 71%
Dementia is by far the greatest cause of dependency in older people and incurs an enormous cost. Older people with dementia in low and middle-income countries generally do not have access to the long-term care they need.
Also, too many cases of dementia go undiagnosed and in some developing countries older women displaying the signs of Alzheimer's suffer terrible discrimination.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent dementia or other chronic illnesses, but Marc Wortmann, Executive Director of Alzheimer's Disease International, points out that there are ways to reduce the risk.
Key risk factors - which can be changed, unlike ageing which is inevitable - include: low education, smoking, low levels of physical activity, obesity in midlife, high blood pressure and risk factors related to diabetes and vascular disease (disease of the heart and blood vessels).
With lifestyle changes in many developing countries - such as increased smoking and eating more western-style fast food - the risks are increasing. In order to age better, it is therefore important for older people to remain active, not to smoke and to eat well.
Set your location to see what Age UK offers in your local area.
Our international partner HelpAge International
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)
We support vulnerable older people in over 40 countries.
Change a life overseas.
Age UK, Tavis House, 1-6 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9NA. Registered charity number 1128267. Company number 6825798. © Age UK Group and/or its National Partners (Age NI, Age Scotland and Age Cymru) 2013. All Rights Reserved
Set the appearance of this website so you can read it more easily
To see information relating to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales set your preference below: