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Healthy Ageing across the Lifecycle

The increasing life expectancy in Europe can be considered an achievement, reflecting the improving quality of life. However, this development also constitutes a challenge both to the governments and individuals. While the ageing population is regarded as a burden over the state finances, individual aspects of the ageing population remains largely unspoken. Recognizing the fact that the longer life expectancy does not necessarily mean a healthier life cycle, then it is crucial to stress on healthy ageing as a continuous process across the lifecycle.

Healthy ageing can be defined as the process of optimizing opportunities for physical, social and mental health, so as to enable older people to take an active part in the society, without discrimination and to enjoy an independent and good quality of life (Healthy Ageing – A challenge for Europe)

Considering the emerging trends over the European demographics on age, it is essential for the European Union to take decisive steps on the ways in which healthy ageing could be promoted, starting from the early years of life. It is now the time to understand that prevention and effective management of chronic diseases can minimise healthcare costs, improve the health conditions of the  people throughout their life cycle and ultimately enable Healthy Ageing. Additionally, disease prevention, early detection, diagnosis and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviour result in long term effects on the quality of life, thus assuring healthy ageing, and the cost wise sustainability of health care systems on primary care. This is also proved by the work performed
so far in this specific area.

The Cyprus Presidency takes into account this existing work and propounds a significant step for raising the issue of Healthy Ageing and its wider social and economic costs to the European agenda, towards a “Better Health for All”.

In this respect, a two-day High Level Conference on “Healthy Ageing across the Lifecycle”, co-funded by the Cyprus Presidency and the European Commission (Community Action Program on Health 2008-2013), was held in Nicosia, on 5th – 6th of September 2012.  The conference gathered high calibre experts from the EU Member States, European Commission, World Health Organisation, academic institutions, NGO’s and other EU organisations, active in the area of Healthy Ageing.

The Conference deliberations emphasize that healthy ageing is a continuous process across the lifecycle that needs to be enhanced  and promoted through disease prevention, early diagnosis and health promotion programmes, in every stage of life, from early childhood to adolescence, to working age people and people of later life. It has also, underlined the importance of adopting a multidisciplinary action in health promotion and disease prevention, which includes work across society and policy areas, involving public authorities and stakeholders at all levels, including health professionals and patients, social partners and civil
society, the media and economic actors.

Moreover, the conference structure included a number of parallel sessions covering the following themes:

  • Health Promotion in Childhood and Adolescence
  • Health Promotion in Working Age People
  • Wellbeing in Later Life – Innovative therapeutic
  • Approaches in Elderly Care – Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Wellbeing in Later Life – Tackle physicalfrailty

Based on the conference results, as well as to the existing initiatives in the area, it is worth saying that healthy ageing is strictly related to the implementation of disease prevention and early diagnosis, in addition to Health Promotion programmes towards the lifecycle. Indisputably, the implementation of long term healthy ageing policies and programmes, covering all age groups, can have a potential to endorse the social cohesion of the ageing population and foster to a sustainable development.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 11:54 am and is filed under Europe, Health Policy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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