The world is ageing rapidly. People aged 60 and above make up 12.3% of the global population and by 2050 that number will rise to almost 22%. Hence population ageing is no longer an insignificant subject. The demographic transition is irreversible. The persons above 60 would reach 2 billion by the year 2050. In most countries the number of those above 80 is likely to quadruple to nearly 400 million by then.
This entire problem reflects the tremendous welcome advances in health and quality of life in society across the world. However the social and economic implications of this phenomenon are profound. The problem extends far beyond the individual and immediate family, touching broader society and the global community in unprecedented ways. On the positive side, population ageing has opened up new markets.
Growth of geriatrics in the population of the world is posing and imposing challenges to healthcare resources. Healthcare is trying to cope with the new demographic changes, changing patterns of diseases, budgetary restrictions and changing expectations of patients. Healthcare is increasingly becoming caring for older people and yet we know healthcare is not often fitting their needs. Nurses play an increasingly important role in efforts to tackle these challenges. They are key players but are often subject of criticism when care is not provided.
People are living longer because of better nutrition, sanitation, healthcare, education and economic well-being. Although an ageing world poses social and economic challenges, the right set of policies can equip individuals, families and societies to address these challenges and to reap its benefits. Older people may benefit from age-friendly technologies, allowing them to live independently, monitor their health, create and maintain social networks, stay in contact with friends and family, access goods and services, and engage in work or voluntary activities. And of course good eating habits and healthy foods are keys to staying healthier for longer
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