Active Ageing: Living Longer, Healthier and Happier Lives
As the world’s population ages, active ageing has become a buzzword. Active ageing is the process of optimising opportunities for physical, social, and psychological well-being and active participation in society for all people in line with their needs, goals, and capacities as they age. While living longer is welcome news, it does not necessarily mean healthier and socially engaged lives with security and dignity. Here are some factors that influence active ageing:
Factors that Influence Active Ageing:
– Overall well-being
– Social engagement
– Education and learning
– Access to services and technology
– Personal engagement and environment
Maintaining Quality of Life:
When living past the age of 80 years is no longer a rarity, there is a constant need to help older adults maintain quality of life with healthy ageing. The need is to improve various aspects of lifestyle—spending leisure time with family, picking up a passion, travelling, eating well or, at times, focusing on spending. Experts suggest:
– Getting active: Exercise helps to maintain strength and agility, improves mental health.
– Eating well: Load up on high-fibre fruits, vegetables and whole grains that make one more energetic.
– Adequate sleep: Keep the bedroom quiet, dark and cool and avoid artificial light from screens for at least one hour before bed and increase activity levels during the day.
– Staying connected: Staying connected with friends and family and maintaining the support network, walking with kids or spending time with grandchildren as well as picking up a hobby to maintain brain health and prevent mental decline are important.
Responding Effectively to Ageing:
Ageing is often perceived as a time of loss in different areas of life. However, responding effectively to ageing goes beyond coping with loss to finding new meaning and joy. While it is important to make peace with the things that cannot be changed, it’s time to look past the limitations that come with age and explore new experiences. This could mean learning a skill, travelling or keeping in touch with the latest technology.
While the number of people aged 65 years or older worldwide is projected to more than double, rising from 761 million in 2021 to 1.6 billion in 2050, the world continues to address multiple crises, including the rising cost of living, and the rights and well-being of older persons must be at the centre of collective efforts to achieve a sustainable future. According to the World Social Report 2023, population ageing is a defining global trend. Improvements in health and medical therapies, greater access to education and reductions in fertility have driven this transformation.
Active ageing is not just about living longer but living healthier and happier lives. It is about optimising opportunities for physical, social, and psychological well-being and active participation in society for all people in line with their needs, goals, and capacities as they age. It is about maintaining quality of life, responding effectively to ageing, and making the most out of each stage of life while taking care of oneself. It is a collective effort that requires the support of governments, organisations, and individuals to achieve a sustainable future.