BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Archive for October, 2022

Our world is constantly changing in population composition and structure. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 in 6 people globally will be aged 60 and over by 2030, and by 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 and above  will double ( about 2.1 billion people). This impending demographic shift will certainly unmask major problems, persuading us to answer the question: Are healthcare systems prepared to handle this increasing ageing population?

It is no news that the older we get, the greater the risks of chronic conditions, and subsequently, the increased need for health care resources. For instance, Canadians over the age of 65 consume more than 40% of provincial healthcare budgets. These figures remain similar across countries globally.

Ageing, at the cellular level, is a result of the accumulation of damage to cells over a period of time. There is a distinction between healthy ageing and pathological ageing. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) defines healthy ageing as “the process of optimising opportunities for physical, social and mental health to enable seniors take an active part in society without discrimination and to enjoy independence and quality of life.” Pathological ageing, however, is an increase in diseases and chronic conditions, since the elderly population is predisposed to several health challenges.

There is a public health lapse in handling these chronic conditions as there are limited access to caregivers, social workers, legal and social welfare systems specific for older people. More so, health institutions are mostly over-burdened or under-funded to take on this responsibility. Major chronic conditions associated with ageing include:

  • Psychological/ cognitive issues like Dementia and Depression 
  • Increase risk of Falls
  • Incontinence
  • Limited mobility
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis  and Osteoarthritis 
  • Hearing, walking and vision problems
  • Multiple sensory loss and reduced immunity

Given these many health problems, and the resulting increase in the utilisation of healthcare resources by the ageing population, the elderly could wrongly be perceived as a burden to the society. These ageism  attitudes or perceptions about the elderly could lead to abuse, neglect or discrimination and should be discouraged appropriately. To this effect, WHO’s initiative, “The Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030) “ seeks to reduce health inequities and improve the lives of older people, their families and communities through collective action in changing how we think, feel and act towards the elderly. Additionally, this initiative aims to develop communities in ways that foster the abilities of older people to access to quality long-term care.

Public health experts believe that more expensive and intensive care may not be sustainable and there needs to be focus on effective strategies to improve seniors health. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) advises that investments should be made in programs that support or promote healthy living such as access to initiatives that improve physical activity, injury prevention, mental health and nutrition, education, and early screening. CMA also recommends investments to improve comprehensive continuum of care, restructure welfare plans and develop age friendly environment.

Effecting these policies that address the public health issue of ageing, will  result in minimal disease and disability, high cognitive and physical functioning, and meaningful engagement in life. 

We contribute to caring for the elderly by supporting BlessWorld Foundation international to develop initiatives that support the elderly.

After all, we all get old!