A focus on ageing populations is on the agenda of governmental and non-governmental policy makers everywhere. A demographic revolution is underway throughout the world. The world's population of people 60 years of age and older has doubled since 1980 and is forecast to reach 2 billion by 2050 (WHO 2012). A growing population of older adults will place increased demand on a range of health services - health promotion, illness prevention, rehabilitation, acute and chronic care, and end-of-life care. We will need more staff for home-based and nursing home care. Meanwhile, just as the general population is ageing, so too are its health workers – nurses, physicians, pharmacists and others.
As nurses, we must concern ourselves with breaking down the barriers older persons may encounter with regard to access to health services; influencing how resources are allocated for programmes and services; pushing for relevant transportation options and for educational programmes that help older persons adopt healthier lifestyles – for example, through smoking cessation, sound nutrition and regular exercise. We can also help safeguard the safety and security of older people; and advocate for older individuals’ human rights, including access to health, security and participation in society.
Relevant ICN publications:
ICN position statement on Nursing care of the older person
ICN fact sheets on:
- An Ageing Nursing Workforce
- Elder Abuse
- ICN on Healthy Ageing: A Public Health and Nursing Challenge
- Patient Safety: Medication Use and the Ageing Population
- Nutrition for Older Adults
- Osteoporosis: The Silent Thief
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
Dementia: a public health priority (WHO 2012)
Global age-friendly cities: a guide (WHO 2007)
GoldenWorkers: a project which aims to identify emerging technologies and socio-economic trends, new models of extending professional active life and novel application scenarios in the area of ICT for active ageing at work.
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