We live in an ageing world, in which better public health has resulted in longevity.
By 2030, those over 60 will outnumber those under 15, with the fastest growth in the developing world. © Peter Caton/HelpAge International
However, this demographic change has led to an epidemiological transition. The predominance of infectious diseases is shifting to non communicable or chronic disease.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) include a range of chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, as well as Alzheimer's and other dementias.
They are commonly thought of as "diseases of affluence". But in reality, four-fifths of deaths from NCDs are in low- and middle-income countries and older people in developing countries are particularly at risk.
No age limit to health
We are still working to convince the World Health Organization not to set age limits on their targets and indicators for measuring progress on NCDs.
What we want:
- All people, regardless of their age, to be included in strategies on detection and diagnosis, prevention, management and treatment.
- The use of discriminatory language and concepts relating to older age in the NCDs debate to be challenged.
- Strategies against NCDs to recognise that including older people in prevention, promotion, management and care strategies will substantially reduce the health costs arising from rapidly ageing populations.
- Diseases prevalent in old age, ranging from blindness to Alzheimer's disease and other dementias to be urgently addressed.
- Governments to ensure the right of older people to primary health care offering prevention, diagnosis and treatment, as well as home and institutional care services.
Global AgeWatch Index
How is your country faring on older people's health?
Find out in our Global AgeWatch Index healthy life expectancy rankings table.