Healthy Ageing: World Health Day 2012
People today are living longer than ever before, and they are remaining fit into very old age far more often. By 2050 the number of people over 65 years of age will have tripled.
Enlarge image (© Colourbox)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), today's life expectancy for women in Europe is now already over 80 years, and for men it is over 75.
Every year, World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. Each year a theme is selected for World Health Day that highlights a priority area of concern for WHO. This year, the theme of ageing societies, including the related challenges and opportunities they entail, was chosen as the main theme for World Health Day.
Under the motto "Ageing and health: Good health adds life to years", the WHO and its member states - including Germany - want to sensitize the public and stimulate discussions about how people remain healthy in the later stages of life, and what governments can do to help them.
Enlarge image Daniel Bahr, Federal Minister for Health (© picture alliance / dpa) At the end of March 2012, in anticipation of World Health Day, the Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr presented Germany's a new national health objective entitled "Growing older healthily". It shows how the federal government aims to ensure better health in the sense of prevention, and better care for elderly people in the case of illness or long-term care needs.
The federal government is promoting an age-friendly and cross-generational policy with various initiatives: for instance, family caregiver leave eases the combination of work and care giving by close family members. In more than 500 multi-generation (Mehr Generationen Haus) facilities throughout Germany, young and old people are moreover already interacting on a daily basis. These facilities, or "multi-generational" community centers, serve as good examples of how the generations can get along well together and benefit from each other in the process, for instance when retired senior citizens help young schoolchildren with play activities or homework while their parents are still at work.
Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/Golden Pixels LLC)
In Germany, around one fifth of today's population is made up of children and young people under 20, and almost exactly the same proportion of people are aged 65 or more. However, in the year 2060 every third person will be at least 65 years old.
In view of these continuing demographic changes, the federal government will be presenting a demographic strategy at the end of April 2012. It is designed to show how the demographic changes can be used to benefit the people in Germany. The relationship between work, family and involvement in society will play an important role.