Healthy ageing: what is the nurse's role?
The human population is living longer than at any other time in history, with global life expectancy doubling since the 1900s (World Health Organization (WHO), 2020). Someone aged 65 years old today can expect to live to 85, nearly 10 years longer than their parents' generation. By 2041, one in four people living in the UK, around 20.7 million individuals, will be aged 65 and over (Public Health England (PHE) and Centre for Ageing Better, 2021).
Despite living longer, many people do not experience good health in old age. Instead, they spend a large proportion of their later life managing multiple long-term conditions and disabilities, which could have been prevented, or the impact lessened, by actions taken earlier in their lives.
Aspirations to create opportunities for healthy ageing are prolific in national and international health policy. Defining the concept in terms of health and social factors, WHO states it is:
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