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Gerontology & Geriatrics Studies

What’s really happening among the Elderly Population?

Mohammed Ali Fakhro*

Coordinator of Physical Therapy Department, Lebanese German University, Lebanon

*Corresponding author: Mohammed Ali Fakhro, Coordinator of Physical Therapy Department, Lebanese German University, Tyre Campus, Tyre, Lebanon

Submission: March 29, 2018;Published: May 21, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/GGS.2018.03.000563

ISSN 2578-0093
Volume3 Issue3


Global population is rapidly ageing due to an increase in life expectancy and a reduction in fertility rates, while the number of years lived with disability is also on the rise [1-5]. In 2010, an estimated 524 million people were aged 65 or older, 8% of the world’s population. By 2050 this is expected to nearly triple to 1.5 billion, representing about 16% of the world’s population [1]. In the United Kingdom alone, there are about 10 million people aged over 65, a number expected to rise by 1.1 million by 2020 [6].

Ageing presents both challenges and opportunities. It will increase demand for primary health care and long-term care, require a larger and better trained workforce and intensify the need for environments to be made more age-friendly. In addition, it is well known that age is an independent risk factor for the development of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia [1,7].

Even without NCDs, function and independence generally decline in older age as a result of reductions in cognitive and physical capacity [8-14], where reduced or impaired mobility plays an important role in poorer quality oflife (QOL) among those living in residential care homes [14-17]. Approximately, 90% of people in long-term care have some typeof reduced mobility [18], with about 40% of those with dementia losing their ability to walk each year [19].

Now more than ever it is vital to investigate ways to encourage “aging well” [10] or “Active Ageing”, which refers to older adults being enabled to continue participating in “social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs” and maintain a good QOL [11].

Performing sufficient physical activity (PA) is a primary modifiable determinant of health especially pertinent to active ageing because it is known to have vastmental and physical health benefits for people of all ages [12,13]. Therefore, with or without NCDs, increasing PA levels is one of the primary targets of the World Health Organization (WHO) [14].

However, despite the known benefits of regular PA [15], 23% of adults globally are insufficiently active, with some high income countries having inactivity rates of up to 54% [16]. In addition, inactivity rates increase with age, with around two-thirds of those between 65-74 years and three-quarters of those over 75 years not meeting PA guidelines of at least 150 min/week of moderate intensity activity in either the US [17] or Australia [18], and those living in care homes still spend most of their time in wheelchairs or in bed [20].

Adding to that [21], according to the European Opinion Research Group, 97.4% of people aged 65 and over do not meet recommendations for physical activity to achieve health benefits [22]. In the older Polish population, the most popular use of free time is watching television and listening to the radio (30.2%), followed by reading (15.5%), passive recreation (13.1%), religious practices (11.9%), and gardening (8.7%) [23].

On the other hand, aging is one of the greatest social and economic challenges facing the European Union (EU). According to a 2011 report by the Central Statistical Office in Poland, nearly 40% of people older than 70 years of age have problems with basic self-care: more than 1.8 million have difficulty self-washing, and more than 1.6 million have difficulty dressing and undressing independently [4,21].

However, many behavior change theories highlight the importance of social factors such as social support (SS) and social connectedness in maintaining and/or initiating behavior change in PA with older adults [24-29]. Furthermore, the WHO identifies SS as a key determinant of Active Ageing [11].


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© 2018 Mohammed Ali Fakhro. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.