About this Research Topic
The world’s population is aging: virtually every country in the world is experiencing growth in the number and proportion of older persons in their population. Population aging—the increasing share of older persons in the population—is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the twenty-first century, with implications for nearly all sectors of society, including labour and financial markets, the demand for goods and services, such as housing, transportation and social protection, as well as family structures and intergenerational ties.
This phenomenon is particularly important in Europe, and even more interesting from the standpoint of health. The European population is aging rapidly, but living longer does not necessarily mean living healthier, more active and independent life. The number of Europeans over 65 will double in the next 50 years, and the number of over 80's will almost triple. Life expectancy will continue to rise; yet unhealthy life years make up around 20% of a person's life.
There is a broad spectrum of significant areas that are closely related, not only to better understand the complex processes of aging, but also to act towards the prevention and promotion of active and healthy aging. These particular areas are functional decline and frailty, cognitive decline, nutrition, physical activity, medication and medical plans, integrated care and caregivers, independent living and age friendly environments.
At this point it is impossible not to face this huge challenge as well as an opportunity for experts in health to bridge with other areas of knowledge in providing innovative solutions. Computer science, electronics, data management, ethics, artificial intelligence, robotics, these are all welcome when it comes to develop knowledge and to support an active and healthy aging.
Having adopted the concept in the late 1990s, World Health Organization defines active aging as improving health, security and care of older people with the overall goal of advancing quality of life. Active aging goes beyond healthy aging and emphasizes the need for independence and fulfillment of senior people in addition to providing adequate health care. It implies that older persons and groups of people will be able to participate in the community and will remain socially active upon retirement. Active ageing combines autonomy with the support from family and friends. Since population ageing is a global phenomenon, there is a need for appropriate policy frameworks at different levels to address health, security and participation of older people.
For all referred above, this Research Topic aims to be a fundamental document for all those who work and study in active and healthy aging, for compiling a body of knowledge of excellence and encompassing the most innovative work in this field. Having such document is crucial to boost research, its connection with daily life, and ultimately to influence governments to design innovative policies and public services specifically targeted to older persons, including those addressing health care, infrastructure, social protection and other forms of intergenerational support.
Keywords: Active ageing, healthy ageing, longevity, frailty, cognitive decline, functional decline, disease management, active aging, healthy aging
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