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Unlocking the Future of Healthy Ageing: the Lisbon Outcome Statement

Through a landmark statement, participants of the Regional Summit for Policy Innovation on Healthy Ageing are calling for action to advance and promote healthy ageing across the WHO European Region.

“Today, we embark on a journey towards a future where healthy ageing is not merely an aspiration but a concrete reality. The Lisbon Outcome Statement is a blueprint of our commitment, urging us to forge a future where every individual and every community thrives,” declared Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, in his opening video-recorded statement at the Summit, which took place in Lisbon on 10–11 October.

The Statement supports the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing by emphasizing the need to support older people in staying active and healthy, being included in society, and by creating age-friendly environments.

“The principles of healthy ageing apply to everyone, regardless of their age,” explained 80-year-old Robert Butler, an international triathlete, who shared his story with participants at the event. “I learned about the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing and its mission to promote well-being in later years. I’m inspired by the initiative and proudly incorporate its logo on my triathlon suit.”

The Summit

As Europe’s population continues to age, the need for innovative policies and practices to support healthy ageing becomes increasingly vital.

Today, the WHO European Region has one of the highest shares of older people in the world, and it will continue to see increases over the next decades, especially in the number of people aged 80 and over.

“We hope that this will continue to increase in the next decades because it is, of course, a sign of accomplishment. In a world often clouded by negative perceptions of late life, we need to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible contribution and resilience of older people,” noted Dr Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, WHO/Europe’s Director of the Division of Country Health Policies and Systems.

The Region also stands on the brink of a historic shift: by 2024, more older people will be living across its 53 countries than children and adolescents.

The 2-day Summit aimed to address this demographic shift, also by bringing together a diverse array of stakeholders, from government officials and thought leaders to policy experts, academics, and civil society representatives. The Summit aimed to address the complex challenges and opportunities associated with an ageing population and explore innovative strategies to promote healthy ageing.

Plans for a new national programme on age-friendly cities and communities in Portugal were also unveiled at the Summit. Developed by the Directorate General of Health of Portugal with support from WHO/Europe, the programme will contribute to the implementation of the country’s healthy ageing strategy.

A collective effort for healthy ageing

The adoption of the Lisbon Outcome Statement is a significant step toward addressing the challenges and harnessing the opportunities of Europe’s ageing population. It underscores the importance of a collective effort involving governments, organizations, and individuals from diverse sectors to promote healthy ageing.

The Statement highlights 5 key priorities to advance healthy ageing policies including:

  • preventive measures, which focus on preventing health issues and promoting physical, social, and mental well-being throughout life;
  • enabling continuous support, by providing accessible, affordable, and high-quality care throughout a person’s life, and adapting to changing needs and across different care settings, including long-term care;
  • age-friendly environments, by creating communities and cities that empower people of all ages to engage in community life;
  • leveraging older people’s potential, by recognizing and utilizing the valuable contributions and expertise of older people; and
  • data and evidence, which ensures that policy decisions are informed by evidence-based practices.

“As we move forward, the Statement will serve as a valuable reference and source of inspiration for policy-makers, practitioners, and advocates dedicated to improving the quality of life for older adults,” shared Dr Yongjie Yon, Technical Officer on Ageing and Health. “By working together and embracing innovative approaches, we can unlock the potential for healthy ageing, ensuring that current and future generations of older persons can enjoy the well-deserved benefits of a long and fulfilling life.”

Source: World Health Organization