Ageing and life-course

A global course for Healthy Ageing

A woman holds a young girl in her arms.
© Frederic Dupoux / HelpAge International 2011

1 April 2016 -- A new Supplement on Healthy Ageing, published in The Gerontologist expands upon the major themes of the recent WHO World report on ageing and health. The Report and the supplement demonstrate that if populations are to live not only longer but healthier lives, then decision makers, practitioners, and researchers will have to do more to address such topics as elder abuse, the determinants of healthy aging, and medical and assistive health technology. WHO’s Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health, which Ministers of health from around the world will discuss at the upcoming World Health Assembly in May, sets out a vision and clear framework for global action.

#YearsAhead and valued – participate in our Instagram campaign

Heinz prepares vegetable plants in a greenhouse, Germany.
Photo submitted by M. Schneiders.

24 November 2015 -- Photos can help break down the stereotypes that we often associate with ageing. As the first entries in our Instagram campaign to challenge ageism show, people in older age from around the world continue to play valuable roles in their families and communities.

If you are an older person: post a photo of yourself celebrating that you are #YearsAhead. If you are a younger person: post a photo of, or a selfie with, someone you value who is #YearsAhead. Photos can be submitted on Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #YearsAhead, or sent to healthyageing@who.int, with the subject line: YearsAhead.

World report on ageing and health 2015

October 2015 -- 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.

Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health

Promoting healthy and active ageing, and building systems to meet the needs of older adults, is central to fostering healthy ageing in every country. A comprehensive Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health is currently under development. A revised draft was discussed at the recent 138th Executive Board and is a provisional agenda item for the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly in May.

Age-friendly cities and communities in practice

September 2015 -- Cities and communities world-wide strive to become more age-friendly. They seek to better adapt to the needs of their ageing populations. But what are they actually doing? Browse the new database to find out. Small measures can make a big difference. They are shared here by communities, for communities.

“Ageing well” must be a global priority

6 November 2014 -- A major new Series on health and ageing, published in "The Lancet", warns that unless health systems find effective strategies to address the problems faced by an ageing world population, the growing burden of chronic disease will greatly affect the quality of life of older people. As people across the world live longer, soaring levels of chronic illness and diminished well-being are poised to become a major global public health challenge.

About ageing and life-course

Populations around the world are rapidly ageing. This is a cause for celebration. In part it reflects our successes in dealing with childhood disease, maternal mortality and in helping women achieve control over their own fertility.

Ageing presents both challenges and opportunities. It will strain pension and social security systems, increase demand for acute and primary health care, require a larger and better trained health workforce , increase the need for long term care and for environments to be made more age-friendly.

However, the opportunities are just as large. Older people are a wonderful resource for their families, communities and in the formal or informal workforce. They are a repository of knowledge. They can help us avoid making the same mistakes again.

Indeed, if we can ensure older people live healthier as well as longer lives, if we can make sure that we are stretching life in the middle and not just at the end, these extra years can be as productive as any others. The societies that adapt to this changing demographic and invest in Healthy Ageing can reap a sizeable "longevity dividend", and will have a competitive advantage over those that don't.

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.

Media centre