Lifestyle changes and new technology can ease elders' lives
If we embrace lifestyle changes and new technology, we improve our prospects of staying healthy in old age, getting good care and reducing our dependence on others. This is the message of a new report summarizing the conclusions from the Uppsala Health Summit in June.
An ageing population is an asset in society and a sign of progress and development in public health. On the other hand, reaching an advanced age is not an end in itself unless it can be combined with a good and healthy life.
At the regular annual Uppsala Health Summit in Uppsala, Sweden, decision-makers, opinion leaders and experts interested in future healthcare services gather to discuss topical subjects. During the 2014 meeting with 'Healthcare for Healthy Ageing' as its theme, held on 3–4 June, private roundtable discussions took up much of the delegates' time. The Summit addressed two areas: prevention, involving investment in preventive measures to bring about healthy ageing, and care, covering how to provide healthcare for autonomous ageing.
The conclusions from all the workshops and panel debates at the Summit have now been compiled in a report that, from today, is available to everyone.
The overarching impression from the two days' discussions is cautiously positive. We ourselves have the power to change our lifestyle and harvest the fruits such change may bring. New technologies offer an array of opportunities for improving our health and physical care, and reducing our dependence on others.
Challenges were also identified. In several discussions, for example, it was stated that financing preventive measures in part of the community may be a challenge. This is because such measures entail economisation or enhanced prosperity in other segments of society. A need to review the systems of health and medical care thus arises.
Other lines of discussion addressed personal integrity in connection with the use of genetic diagnostics and the question of whether increased personal responsibility for one's own health really means equal opportunities for all.
The report contains accounts of the workshops in the following areas:
- Life-style and prevention: how to reach concordance
- Diagnostics and screening for disease prevention
- Maximising public mental health - Empowering strategies and determinants of mental health in elderly populations
- Food for ageing: Individual and societal perspectives
- Care for the person, not for the system: A person centred perspective on cooperation between care and healthcare
- Technologies for healthy ageing: Implementation of technical aids in home care and nursing homes
- Respecting the elderly's needs in medical and economic evaluations of drugs.