Ageing and Mental Health: Addressing the Impact on Healthcare

July 6, 2015

Health and development challenges in an ageing world were the focus for The Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting in May 2015, Geneva.

This annual meeting allows Commonwealth health leaders to meet and discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and to agree on collective policies and initiatives. Professor Chee Ng, Brigid Ryan and Professor Edmond Chiu recently contributed to the Ministers’ Publication, which has now been published online here.

The Commonwealth Health Ministers have endorsed the principles of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a sustainable development goal for health on the post 2015 agenda.  This commitment to Universal Health Coverage creates a window of opportunity for promoting mentally healthy ageing and mental health care for the older population, and in particular to explore future mental health needs of older persons in the rapidly developing Asia-Pacific region

Active and Positive Ageing is an essential element in the consideration of mental and physical health of older people, and the cornerstone for health promotion and prevention.  Meaningful engagement in the community can be facilitated through targets such as:

  • Individuals and families prepare for old age and adopt positive health practices for a long life with optimum health.
  • Social policy makes health choices easily accessible; recognise, encourage, and reward participation of older people in work, education, learning, volunteering and family life.
  • Businesses engage in partnership with older persons in developing innovative technology, products and services for the older persons as well as developing work opportunities for them.

The strategic directions of the UHC form a strong framework to improve our understanding and response to regional socioeconomic implications of population aging and older persons’ support systems in relation to mental health.