April 14, 2024

Are you a healthy ageing champion?

Through the Healthy Ageing 50 initiative, we are looking to name and honour 50 leaders who have contributed
to fostering healthy ageing in their respective area of work, whether within administrations, organizations, universities, businesses, local communities, and more. In doing this, we aim to celebrate their achievements and inspire others to learn how
they too can help add life to years.

Are you who we are looking for?

You may be someone – or know someone – who has:

  • created products or services that enable people to live independently at home;
  • developed programmes that brought generations together or keep people socially connected;
  • found innovative solutions to manage health at work, enabling people who want to continue to work and to stay in work longer;
  • reformed pensions or developed saving products that work in the second half of life;
  • harnessed new technologies or resurfaced wisdom that may have been forgotten; or
  • a multitude of other initiatives that help to improve health and well-being in older age

You or the person you are thinking of is probably someone who: makes connections and cuts across sectors and disciplines; challenges stereotypes or moves beyond them; is focused on results; is innovating within existing networks or reaching out to unusual
suspects; or engaging with older people in a process of continuous learning and adaptation.

Whoever you are – high-profile icons or – as yet – unsung heroes – if your ideas and efforts are helping to transform society to improve health and well-being in older age, your application is welcome.

To nominate yourself or someone you know for the Healthy Ageing 50 initiative, please apply here before 15 June

Longer lives are a human triumph

To enjoy health and well-being in later life – healthy ageing – requires physical, social and economic environments that reduce risks to health (e.g. air pollution or falls), enable us to adopt healthy behaviors (e.g. physical activity), provide services
that foster capacity (e.g. health care) or help people compensate if their capacity declines (e.g. accessible transportation, housing modifications, assistive technologies or long-term care).

Globally we have been very successful at adding “years to life”. We have been less successful at adding “life to years”. Based on WHO global estimates for the last two decades (2000 and 2019), the number of years spent in good
health after the age of 60, as defined by healthy life expectancy, has declined. These trends are clearly the opposite of what we would like to see.

We have 9 more years to reverse the trend and create environments that foster healthy ageing

The United Nations declared 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Healthy Ageing: ten years of concerted action to enable current and future generations to have longer and healthier lives. Adding life to years is possible. Data from countries such as Japan, Norway,
Singapore, and Sweden show their older populations spend more time in good health.

If we want to experience healthy ageing, we require innovations: at all levels (home, community, region and country); across all sectors (housing, transport, information and communication, education, labour, health, long-term care); engaging all stakeholders
(government, non-government, academia, media, business); and across all disciplines (engineering, sciences, education, humanities, arts).

We know that people are already innovating to increase health and well-being in older age. It is not only people who have job titles like mine. We are few. The real innovation is happening by the thousands of people who through personal experience, education,
curiosity or passion for justice have recognized that today’s systems were designed for past generations and not current or future ones and who are being positively disruptive.

It is now time to showcase these champions. 

If you have any questions about the Healthy Ageing 50, please contact [email protected].