Ageing and health in the Western Pacific
The Western Pacific Region has one of the largest and fastest growing older population in the world. There are over 700 million people aged 65 and over in the world and more than 240 million of them reside in the Western Pacific Region. This number is expected to double by 2050.
Population ageing has significant societal implications, including an increase in burden of NCDs as well as a growing population of people with diverse functional abilities. Supporting healthy ageing requires a long-term, whole-of-society approach. Specifically, health system transformation is needed to accompany people throughout their life, placing a greater emphasis on preventative health and addressing the social determinants of health. Communities also need to be strengthened to provide integrated services and supports to older adults that are tailored to individual needs.
Population ageing also offers many opportunities for individuals and society as a whole. People are living longer, enabling them to engage in a wider range of activities and interests that are meaningful to them across their lifetime. The growing older population is also better educated and more knowledgeable than ever before, enabling them to offer greater contributions to society. However, to fully realize these opportunities, a change in narrative is needed from one that views older adults as societal burdens to recognizing the many valuable contributions they can make to society when they are supported and encouraged to do so.