LeadingAge and IAHSA applaud the WHO for its comprehensive World Report on Health and Ageing. At a time of unprecedented demographic shifts, it is appropriate to take a hard look at what we know – and what we don’t know about ageing. WHO’s analysis correctly suggests that we need to “move the debate about the most appropriate public health response to population ageing into new – and much broader – territory. The overarching message is optimistic: with the right policies and services in place, population ageing can be viewed as a rich new opportunity for both individuals and societies.”
The report goes on to say, “For most older people, the maintenance of functional ability has the highest importance. The greatest costs to society are not the expenditures made to foster this functional ability, but the benefits that might be missed if we fail to make the appropriate adaptations and investments. The recommended societal approach to population ageing, which includes the goal of building an age-friendly world, requires a transformation of health systems away from disease-based curative models and towards the provision of integrated care that is centred on the needs of older people.”
These objectives are in complete alignment with those of IAHSA and LeadingAge. The needs, desires and preferences of older persons are paramount in creating the infrastructure of services and supports needed to support them in their later years.