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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 147-148

Moving into the era of age-friendly society: The global public health need


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication29-Feb-2016

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Rambiharilal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2348-3334.177642

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Moving into the era of age-friendly society: The global public health need. CHRISMED J Health Res 2016;3:147-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Moving into the era of age-friendly society: The global public health need. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Oct 21];3:147-8. Available from: http://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2016/3/2/147/177642

Sir,

Globally, the life expectancy has increased due to which the population aging has emerged as one of the significant challenges for the policy makers and stakeholders.[1] In fact, it has been anticipated that over the next 5 years, the number of people more than 65 years old will clearly outnumber the number of children in under-five year age group for the very 1st time.[2],[3] Further, population aging has also been acknowledged as the biggest social transformation of the 21st century; as by the year 2050, almost 2 billion people across the world will be older than 60 years.[2] It is a very well-known fact that as people live longer, a definitive rise in the incidence of chronic illnesses is expected.[4]

Realizing the magnitude of the elderly people across the globe, it is the need of the hour that both cities and communities should strive to become more age-friendly so that the varying needs of the aging population can be addressed.[2],[3] In general, an age-friendly city is one which promotes active aging of the different sections of the community by enhancing opportunities for health, involvement, and security to eventually improve their quality of life.[2],[4] This is a crucial planning investment for future as most of the today's community (viz., adults and children) will be aging in the coming years, and creating a supportive surrounding will not only enable the elderly populations to stay independent but also even facilitate the establishment of social bonds between people from all ages of the community and eventually, will prove beneficial for the society as a whole.[5],[6]

An age-friendly city not only recognize the broad range of capacities and resources among the community but also even effectively respond to the aging-related needs, respect the decisions and lifestyle choices of the elderly, protect the high-risk ones, and fosters their inclusion in different facets of community.[7] Furthermore, owing to the health care services and support (viz., safe road/transport services, barrier-free access to all buildings, etc.,) extended to the community residing in an age-friendly city, most of the age-related illnesses can either be prevented or be delayed.[2],[6]

In addition, the age-friendly cities aim to strengthen and collaborate between eight different areas (viz., community and health care, transport, housing, social participation, outdoor space, social inclusion, civic participation, and access to information technology), which often overlap and interact with each other and together contribute numerous benefits to the elder sections of the community so that they can age better.[1],[5],[7] In fact, in the global arena, cities and communities are striving to become more age-friendly so that the needs of their aging people are significantly addressed.[7] Further, different cities across the world have started variable age-friendly practices such as initiation of a community connect program in Ottawa city (for the welfare of the vulnerable older adults), age-friendly business initiative to enable businesses to be more age-friendly and attract older customers in four cities of Spain, building an age-friendly Portland in the United States of America, etc.[8]

However, the ultimate target of welfare of older people can only be realized and provided the interventions are implemented after hearing and involving older people, assessment of the age-friendliness of the community, complete involvement of all the concerned sectors, and by monitoring the development through older people/other stakeholders.[2],[6] In fact, these services can be utilized by people from the different age groups of community as well and they can also derive multiple advantages.[2],[5],[6],[7]

To conclude, an age-friendly city is a barrier-free city which is designed to address the diversified needs of the elderly of the community and at the same time, it promotes social inclusion. However, its utility is not only restricted to elderly and can eventually make the society a great place to live for all the generations.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Suzman R, Beard JR, Boerma T, Chatterji S. Health in an ageing world – What do we know? Lancet 2015;385:484-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Age-friendly in Practice; 2015. Available from: http://www.agefriendlyworld.org/en/age-friendly-in-practice/. [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 08].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Ageing and Health – Fact Sheet No. 404; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs404/en/. [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 08].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Arslantas H, Adana F, Abacigil Ergin F, Kayar D, Acar G. Loneliness in elderly people, associated factors and its correlation with quality of life: A field study from Western Turkey. Iran J Public Health 2015;44:43-50.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Beard JR, Bloom DE. Towards a comprehensive public health response to population ageing. Lancet 2015;385:658-61.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Jackisch J, Zamaro G, Green G, Huber M. Is a healthy city also an age-friendly city? Health Promot Int 2015;30 Suppl 1:i108-17.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
World Health Organization. Age-friendly Cities and Communities in Practice; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/ageing/en/. [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 08].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
World Health Organization. Global Database of Age-friendly Practices; 2015. Available from: http://www.apps.who.int/datacol/custom_view_report.asp?survey_id=600&view_id=653&display_filter=1. [Last accessed on 2015 Nov 05].  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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