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What is the Healthy Ageing Programme?

The Council's Healthy Ageing Programme supported the implementation of Adding Years to Life and Life to Years: A Health Promotion Strategy for Older People. The aims of the Healthy Ageing Programme were:

  • to improve life expectancy at age 65 and beyond;
  • to improve the health status of people age 65 and beyond;
  • to improve the lives and autonomy of older people who are already affected by illness and impairment;
  • to increase the expectation of a healthy and enjoyable old age.

What is the Health Promotion Strategy for Older People?

Adding Years to Life and Life to Years: A Health Promotion Strategy for Older People (DOC | 1 MB) was produced by the Council in 1998 in association with the Department of Health and Children. It complemented existing national health strategies including the National Cancer Strategy and the National Alcohol Policy.

The Strategy analyses life expectancy and illness figures, lifestyle and behaviour trends among older people in Ireland. It sets out national goals and targets for improving the health and well-being of older people and proposes recommended action plans at national and local levels. It addresses health promotion for older people in its broadest sense, acknowledging the impact of environmental and social factors such as housing, security, transport, attitudes and income on the quality of life of older people.

Healthy Ageing Resources

In 2003, the Council commissioned a substantial update and remodelling of its 2000 directory of health promotion initiatives for older people. Researchers conducted a series of seminars in each health board region at which representatives of the health services, and statutory and voluntary sectors contributed to multisectoral discussions on priorities and challenges in the area of healthy ageing. The Healthy Ageing Database was published online in November 2003 in collaboration with Healthdata Off site link, opens in new window. Allied to the remodelling of the Database, the Council commissioned a report analysing the scale and direction of healthy ageing initiatives nationally. It also presents models of best practice in healthy ageing in terms of planning, operating and evaluating health promotion initiatives with older people. The report, Healthy Ageing in Ireland: Policy, Practice and Evaluation was published on 25th November 2003.

Launch of Healthy Ageing – a Challenge for Europe

As part of its contribution to ‘Say No to Ageism’ Week 2007, the Council hosted the Irish launch of the report of the European Healthy Ageing Project 2004-2007, Healthy Ageing – a Challenge for Europe, on 20th June 2007.

Healthy Ageing – a Challenge for Europe presents different countries’ policies and strategies for older people’s health, summaries of reviews on the effectiveness of interventions for later life, and a number of examples of good practice projects promoting healthy ageing in the European Union. The report acknowledges that countering ageism will be crucial to the promotion of healthy ageing in later life stages throughout the European Community in the years ahead. For more information or to download or order Healthy Ageing – a Challenge for Europe, please visit: www.healthyageing.nu.

National Strategy to Prevent Falls and Fractures in Ireland's Ageing Population

The risk of falling increases with age. One in three older people fall every year and two thirds of them fall again within six months. Older people are most likely to suffer serious injuries, disability, phsychological consequences and death following a fall. Such injuries represent a large expenditure to the health service. An economic assessment of falls and fractures shows that today these injuries in older people cost over €400 million to the economy. If current trends continue it is estimated that costs will escalate to €1 billion by 2020. However, evidence demonstrates that falls can be predicted and prevented.

The National Council on Ageing and Older People, in partnership with the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health and Children, jointly prepared a Strategy to Prevent Falls and Fractures in Ireland's Ageing Population. The aim of the Strategy is to improve bone health and to reduce the burden of falls and fractures. It includes best-practice guidelines for falls and osteoporosis prevention and reduction in an ageing population. Multi-disciplinary, integrated interventions are essential to improve bone health and minimise the impact of falls.

The complete Strategy, an Executive Summary and a series of technical reports that fed into the strategy are all available to download at http://www.hse.ie/eng/Campaigns/right/Preventing_Falls_and_Fractures.shortcut.html?showDoc=1

Mental Health Information Booklet for Older People

To coincide with World Mental Health Day (10 October 2008), a new information booklet dealing with mental health issues in later life was made available via GP surgeries throughout the country. The booklet, Look After Yourself, Look After Your Mental Health, was produced by the National Council on Ageing and Older People (NCAOP) and the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) as part of the Your Mental Health campaign.

The booklet highlights the impact of life changes such as retirement, bereavement, decline in physical function or moving from home into long-stay care on mental health. It is intended for older people, family members, caregivers and concerned friends, and includes brief descriptions of the most common mental health difficulties experienced by older people such as depression, anxiety and dementia, as well as a directory of where to find help. It also provides a useful 12 step guide to good mental health practices in later life, including keeping physically active, eating well, drinking in moderation, keeping in touch with family and friends, and getting involved in educational and community activities. Download the booklet here PDF document, link opens file in new window [2.2 MB].

 

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