Active aging ensures independence after age 60
Worldwide, the proportion of people 60 and older is growing faster than any other age group. By 2025, there will be a total of approximately 2 billion people over the age of 60, with 80% in developing countries.
This rapid aging process brings us many challenges. One of the greatest is to allow this phase to be lived as a positive experience. The World Health Organization has adopted the term "active aging" to express the process of achieving this vision. Active aging is the process of optimizing health, participation and safety opportunities with the objective of improving the quality of life as people get older, and enable them to realize their potential for physical, social and environmental well-being.
It is essential to maintain, respect and stimulate the autonomy of the elderly.
The word "active" refers to the continuous participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civil matters , not just the ability to be physically active or to be part of the workforce. This view can break the paradigm that the elderly person who does not perform a paid productive activity or who has any physical limitations is no longer able to play a role of active participation in their community, home and society in general. > This breaks down barriers and allows older people who have retired or who have some special illness or need to continue to actively contribute to their family, partners, communities and countries. The goal of active aging is to increase the expectation of a healthy life and quality of life for all people who are aging, including those who are fragile, physically disabled and requiring care.
WHO therefore advocates that, in an active aging project, policies and programs that promote mental health and social relationships are as important as those that improve physical health conditions.
To this end, it is essential to maintain, respect and encourage the autonomy of those who have more the ability to control, handle, and make personal decisions about how to live daily, according to their own rules and preferences and their independence, that is, the ability to perform functions related to daily life, their physical ability to live independently in the community with some or no help from a third party.
There are a number of steps that must be taken so that these people and stay active. The first is to change the paradigm, that is, to value the individual and see him as someone who can and should have an active participation in society and create the conditions for him to be protagonists of his own life and to see himself too.
Other initiatives include providing safe environments appropriate to the physical conditions of the elderly and allowing greater mobility in living spaces, expanding the range of health services that can prevent or reduce the limitations caused by chronic diseases, offer educational activities, leisure and work, so that she has opportunities to remain active. Expand the offer of geriatricians in services and health professionals (nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, nutritionists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, neuropsychologists, physical educators, etc.) and specialists in gerontology who can meet the specific demands of this population and that contribute to the long-sought and necessary active aging.
With the broad implementation of these measures, WHO believes that greater satisfaction is possible within the age group known as "better age," but that most older people do not agree, at least not today.
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