With the marvelous progress of society and technology, it is expected that most people will live into their sixties and beyond. In fact, the United Nations estimated that global life expectancy in 2019 was 72.6 years. No matter what age you are right now, you might have your own reservations and questions about aging. Read on to know some interesting facts about aging and health.
The World Population is Aging Rapidly
Many countries are currently experiencing an aging population, whereby the proportion of seniors in the population is rapidly increasing. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 6 people in the world will be 60 years old or over by 2030. This phenomenon is also occurring much faster than it used to before. While countries used to be ample time to adapt to a change in their populations, they now have fewer years to put into place proper measures that can support this change.
Ageism is a Rising Concern
Ageism is the act of discriminating against someone based on their age. This can take the form of prejudicial attitudes or discriminatory workplace practices that leave seniors at a disadvantage in society. Moreover, ageism can prove to be deadly if it makes its way into healthcare policies, as it could significantly reduce the quality of medical care that seniors receive.
Taking Care of Your Health Starts Early
What impacts a senior’s health the most is their social and physical environments. The circumstances surrounding you since your childhood play a huge part in influencing your routines, opportunities, and ultimately your health. What might start as a childish dislike for vegetables, or a constant forgetfulness to put on sunscreen, can eventually cause to end up with long-term impacts on your health.
Healthcare Systems Need to Adapt to the Needs of Seniors
A large majority of healthcare systems worldwide are still inadequately prepared to address the needs of older people. Compared to other sections of the population, seniors often have geriatric syndromes or chronic conditions that require long-term integrated care. As such, healthcare systems need to ensure that they have the capacity and capability to provide such long-term care for seniors.
In order for such change to occur, we have to fundamentally shift how we think about health and aging. While good health can be defined as a lack of diseases or illnesses, for seniors, it should also be the ability to continue doing the things that are important to them. As such, senior healthcare does not merely involve one-off treatments, but also long-term inpatient care, which is more expensive. While some people view senior healthcare expenditure as a cost to society, it should be understood that such expenditure allows for seniors to continue making meaningful contributions to society.
Enabling healthy aging requires a combined effort, not only from the healthcare system, but also from the government and public sectors. This can take the form of establishing policies and programs as well as making transport and locations more accessible. More senior-friendly amenities should also be built to cater to the needs of seniors.