AGEING POPULATIONS: HOW EUROPE CAN LIVE LONGER AND BETTER
- EUROPE’S AGEING POPULATION FACES AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
- MORE AND MORE EUROPEANS ARE LIVING LONGER
- A DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFT IS UNDERWAY
- MEANWHILE, CHRONIC DISEASE IS ON THE RISE
- MANY CHRONIC DISEASES CAN BE PREVENTED AND MANAGED
- HELPING PEOPLE STAY ACTIVE AND PRODUCTIVE LONGER
- CAREGIVERS MUST BE SUPPORTED AS WELL
- How Governments and Employers Can Help
Since the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancies across Europe have almost doubled.
At the beginning of the 20th century, average life expectancy was 47. At the beginning of the 21st century, the life expectancy for European children is almost 80. Projections indicate that people born in 2060 will have an average life expectancy of 86.8 years.
Longer lives can be attributed to many significant developments: better nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, breakthroughs in public health, such as vaccination, and improved medical treatments such as antibiotics. Infant and maternal mortality rates have also dropped significantly over the same time span.
It’s not enough to live longer: we must also live healthier. The question becomes, how many years of active life do people have? How long can they remain in the workforce, live independently and enjoy a high quality of life? The answers to these questions will depend greatly on how healthcare systems address the health needs of populations, even before people get sick.
European Commission on Ageing / UN World Population Ageing 1950-2050
Graph 1.3 page 59 of European Commission on Ageing
Spotlight on Prevention: When, Who and How?
Unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical activity are key factors in the development of chronic diseases. Early prevention and diagnosis, better education, and above all collaboration among governments, patient organizations, and industry are crucial to prevent chronic diseases from arising.