The Citizens’ Assembly has been told that ageing is one of the great success stories of the modern age and requires policy responses not just in the area of health, but work, transport, social welfare, planning, lifelong learning and the arts. These comments were made by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) in advance of the Citizens’ Assembly which is meeting this weekend to look at the Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Population.
Professor Roger O’Sullivan, IPH CEO, said that ageing is unquestionably one of the great success stories in modern society for public health and for society as a whole.
“Advances in medical science, improved diet and living conditions and better healthcare have resulted in people living longer lives and in the growth of the number of older people. Today on the island of Ireland, there are over one million people aged 60 and over and by 2041, 2.44 million people or 30% of the population will be aged over 60. Average life expectancy in the last century has risen in the Republic of Ireland for men at birth by 24.7 years and for women by 28.6 years.”
Professor O’Sullivan said “although we are living longer not all are experiencing the benefits of increased years due to inequalities in health and income – this will require significant policy and practice responses both at central and community level. The grand challenge for public health is to add healthy life years to our increasing longevity”.
Professor O’Sullivan concluded: “In addressing the issue of an ageing society we must consider the needs, capacities and aspirations of not only today’s older people but future generations too”.
Notes for Editors
Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH)
IPH is an all-island body which supports cooperation on public health North and South to promote collective action for sustained improvements in health with a particular focus on addressing health inequalities.
The IPH Division of Ageing Research and Development has a particular focus on improving public health intelligence relating to ageing and older people. The Division which was previously known as the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) became part of IPH in September 2015.
Ageing and Public Health
- According to the World Health Organization from 2000 until 2050, the world's population aged 60 and over will more than triple from 600 million to 2 billion.
- Today 1.1 million people aged 60 and over live on the island of Ireland. By 2041, there will be 2.44 million aged 60 and over making up nearly one third of the island’s total population.
- The expansion of the older population is due, in part, to the dramatic increase in life expectancy experienced in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) and Northern Ireland (NI) in the past 100 years.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Pat Montague, Montague Communications, 087-2549123