Healthy ageing and well being

Scope

Health sciences, geriatric medicine, psychology

Workstream leaders

The scientific stream will be led by the University of Leicester (Professor Carol Jagger) and supported by Barnsley District General Hospital / Sheffield Institute for Studies on Ageing (Professor Stuart Parker)

About the workstream

Monitoring, maintaining and promoting health and well-being with age is critical for older people, their families, communities and for wider economic and social planning.

 

Healthy ageing has been described as ‘the ideal situation in which people survive to an advanced age with their vigour and functional independence maintained, and morbidity and disability compressed into a relatively short period before death’ but there is still little understanding of the constituent components of healthy ageing and how these differ between social, cultural, economic and traditional contexts.

 

The importance of these issues globally is illustrated by the Research Agenda on Ageing for the Twenty-First Century, a joint initiative between the United Nations Programme on Ageing and the International Association of Gerontology (IAG).  This Agenda calls for a synthesis of the vast knowledge on population ageing that already exists in order to identify knowledge gaps; two of the six priorities concern healthy ageing, wellbeing and quality of life at older ages within the diverse range of economic and social development of countries. This call has also been echoed by the European Council in its new structural indicator Healthy Life Years, developed to monitor progress towards the Lisbon Strategy (2000-2010). This indicator will address how the relationship between life expectancy and health initiative is playing out and the whole initiative implicitly recognises the need for healthy ageing if we are to extend working life.

 

Health and well-being of older people and how it can be maintained or improved in diverse national settings are thus seen as central to monitoring population ageing. Despite a wealth of studies there remain key research gaps that could be addressed by better harnessing the diversity and similarities of social and economic development and cultural diversity within Europe.

Workshops and reports

Healthy Ageing workshop 1 - Newcastle, UK, 15th-16th March 2010

Healthy Ageing workshop 2 - Newcastle, UK, 11th-13th July 2010