The world is rapidly ageing. The number of people over 60 will reach one billion by 2020, and two billion by 2050. The number of older people will continue to rise in almost every country in the world. This demographic change is contributing to a shifting pattern of disease towards non-communicable diseases and placing different demands on health systems around the world.
These health systems - the financing mechanisms, the workforce, the policies, the facilities and the medicine and equipment - are struggling to adapt, particularly in low and middle-income countries. Millions of older people are being left without access to the health services and support they need, denied their right to health. But with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, all United Nations member states are committed to providing "health for all at all ages".
This report considers the progress being made to achieve this amid the global drive towards universal health coverage. It explores how older people are currently accessing health services and what changes need to be made to improve on this. It shows the health and wellbeing challenges older people face. And it illustrates how to act on the data issues and gaps that block health systems from effectively planning and implementing services that reach older people.
The report includes in-depth studies on the trends in ageing and health in 12 low and middle-income countries, looking at data on life expectancy, shifting patterns of disease, mental health and cognitive impairment, violence and abuse, and health financing. The countries selected represent various stages of their demographic, epidemiological and health systems transitions.
The Global AgeWatch Insights uses data estimates from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation's global burden of disease study, the World Health Organization's Global Health Observatory, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs` Population Division, and the International Labour Organization`s World Social Protection Report.
These international data sets are more reliably comparable across countries and avoid the data gaps often present in national sources.