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Healthy Ageing

Every person in every country in the world should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Yet, the environments are highly influential on our behaviour, our exposure to health risks for example, air pollution or violence, our access to quality health and social care and the opportunities that ageing brings.

What is Healthy Ageing?

Everybody can experience healthy ageing. Being free of disease or infirmity is not a requirement for healthy ageing, as many older adults have one or more health conditions that, when well controlled, have little influence on their well-being.

Key Terms of Healthy Ageing

Functional ability

Functional ability is about having the capabilities that enable people to be and do what they have reason to value. There are five key domains of functional ability, each of which can be enhanced or constrained by environmental factors.

These are the abilities to:

  • Meet basic needs

  • Learn, grow and make decisions

  • Be mobile

  • Build and maintain relationships and

  • Contribute to society

Being able to live in environments that support and maintain your intrinsic capacity and functional ability is key to Healthy Ageing. Functional ability is made up of the intrinsic capacity of the individual, relevant environmental characteristics and the interaction between them.

Intrinsic capacity comprises all the mental and physical capacities that a person can draw on and includes their ability to walk, think, see, hear and remember. The level of intrinsic capacity is influenced by several factors such as the presence of diseases, injuries and age-related changes.

Environments include the home, community and broader society, and all the factors within them such as the built environment, people and their relationships, attitudes and values, health and social policies, the systems that support them and the services that they implement.

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