Daily PIB News (October 1, 2020): Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030)

Dr.  Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare restated commitment of the Government to healthy ageing on October 1 on the occasion of International Day for Older Persons.

Every year 1st October is celebrated as the International Day of Older Persons, as declared by United Nations, to recognize, enable and expand the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies at large and to raise awareness towards issues of ageing.

NPHCE: Dr. Harsh Vardhan spoke of the National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE) which is aimed to deliver comprehensive, affordable and  quality geriatric care services at primary and secondary levels.

The Union Health Minister also stated that as 1st October, 2020 is the launch year of Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030), many activities will be undertaken throughout the year, aimed at mainstreaming issues related to elderly and to deliberate upon ways to ensure better and effective delivery of services, making full use of convergence mechanisms.

Broad Aims Of The Decade Of Healthy Ageing

The Minister affirmed that the broad aims of the Decade of Healthy Ageing will include evolving convergence within various national health programs and also promoting inter-sectoral coordination with other line Departments/Ministries. Community based organisations, NGOs and multinational agencies will also be involved for developing an implementation framework for multi-sectoral engagement on healthy aging.

UN theme of the International Day of Older Persons 2020

The UN theme of the International Day of Older Persons 2020 is “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”. Considering the higher risks faced by elderly during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, Government has responded to address their concerns by recognising them as vulnerable population category for COVID efforts, issuing advisories, raising awareness of their special needs, encouraging State Governments to develop need-based models for delivery of medications and home-based care to the elderly.

What is Healthy Ageing?

Healthy Ageing is the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age. Functional ability is about having the capabilities that enable all people to be and do what they have reason to value.

WHO defines Healthy Ageing “as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”. Functional ability is about having the capabilities that enable all people to be and do what they have reason to value. This includes a person’s ability to:

  • meet their basic needs;
  • to learn, grow and make decisions;
  • to be mobile;
  • to build and maintain relationships; and
  • to contribute to society.

Functional ability is made up of the intrinsic capacity of the individual, relevant environmental characteristics and the interaction between them.

Intrinsic capacity comprises all the mental and physical capacities that a person can draw on and includes their ability to walk, think, see, hear and remember. The level of intrinsic capacity is influenced by a number of factors such as the presence of diseases, injuries and age-related changes.

Environments include the home, community and broader society, and all the factors within them such as the built environment, people and their relationships, attitudes and values, health and social policies, the systems that support them and the services that they implement. Being able to live in environments that support and maintain your intrinsic capacity and functional ability is key to Healthy Ageing.

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