Headlines: Aging in the news

Decade of Health Aging

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Welcome to the beginning of the Decade of Healthy Aging! Currently interrupted by the global coronavirus pandemic.

A campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO), the plan is for “10 years of concerted, catalytic, sustained collaboration.” As more people live past the age of 60, there is little evidence that overall health outcomes have risen at the same rate. Inequities abound, and most, if not all, are tied into the intersectional inequalities with our societies are struggling – gender, class, race, sex and more.

As WHO says: “Healthy ageing can be a reality for all. This will require a shift in focus from considering healthy ageing as the absence of disease to fostering the functional ability that enables older people to be and to do what they value.

“Actions to improve healthy ageing will be needed at multiple levels and in multiple sectors to prevent disease, promote health, maintain intrinsic capacity and enable functional ability.”

There are many ways to get involved with the campaign, and some of the simplest methods may be local to you. We will provide updates from WHO here, as well as look to see ways in which our communities are responding to the call to better value, care for and include our aging populations.

Combating ageism

The International Federation on Ageing recently wrote that “some of the most important barriers to effective public health policy on healthy ageing are misconceptions, negative attitudes and assumptions about older people.”

The World Health Organization’s Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health recognizes that achieving healthy ageing will be dependent on our ability to combat ageism.

Let’s all be mindful of the words we choose and the assumptions we hold. Every small change contributes to bigger, normative transformations.

Raise your IQ at any age

Researchers from the University of Zurich have found an interesting way to raise anyone’s IQ at any age. How? By learning to play a musical instrument!

The study found that playing music can raise an IQ by seven or more points. The work supports the increasing body of work examining ways in which the brain continues to flex, grow and change over a lifetime, as opposed to the static state that was the previous assumption, particularly after a certain age (65).