Demystifying the myths of ageing by Edited by Anna Ritsatakis

By Edited by Anna Ritsatakis

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When older people do need care, families are still the main providers, including older people themselves who care for spouses or other relatives. Studies across Europe have shown the extent and variety of care from such caregivers but also their need for support for them to continue in this essential task without harming their own lives and health. ● Health services need to be geared more closely to the specific needs of older people. ● Caring for the caregivers is an urgent priority and requires more imaginative thinking and recognition of their role as equal partners.

31 Myth 12 Things will work out by themselves Perhaps one of the most dangerous myths of all is that, left to themselves, things always work out. In this modern world, change comes rapidly. Twenty years from now, society will look quite different in many respects. The situation, capacity, aspirations and needs of older people must be discussed openly in forums in which older people, including the most vulnerable ones, can voice their opinions. Nevertheless, finding a way of changing perceptions, ensuring lifelong development for older people and a bright future for today’s children, requires discussing much more broadly.

This is only part of the issue. First, older people need to keep fit and independent for as long as possible, supported by policies that cut across all sectors to influence the determinants of their health. They need adequate income, housing, access to all kinds of health, social and cultural services and strong social networks to enhance their quality of life. They need opportunities to continue contributing in all aspects of society, without age-discriminating restrictions. Through its Health for All policy, WHO has stressed that promoting and protecting the health of all age groups requires developing intersectoral policies to tackle health risks and support policies in other sectors that are conducive to better health.

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