Older People - Health Promotion and Public Health

Health Promotion and Public Health[edit | edit source]

Old people are making sports.jpg

Health is determined by behaviours in many ways. Health related behaviours include smoking, alcohol consumption and exercise habits. This health behaviour can be promoted in different ways such as health education and incentives to induce healthy behaviour.

The elderly have long been neglected as the addressee of health promotion activities. The need to promote health among older people was first highlighted in the 1990s. Health promotion targeted to older people differs significantly from that addressing younger generations. Differences include:

Health promotion programs for the elderly have to account for these limitations in health and daily activities, and require more involvement of professional health promoters and more individualized approaches.[1]

The core of health promotion for older adults are to increase or maintain functional capacity, maintaining or improving self-care , and stimulating one’s social network .

The goal of this health promotion is to improve and maintain a longer, independent and self-sufficient quality of life.[1]

The Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030)[edit | edit source]

The Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030) seeks to reduce health inequities and improve the lives of older people, their families and communities through collective action in four areas: changing how we think, feel and act towards age and ageism; developing communities in ways that foster the abilities of older people; delivering person-centred integrated care and primary health services responsive to older people; and providing older people who need it with access to quality long-term care[2].

Physiotherapy[edit | edit source]

Health promotion strategies for the elderly generally have three basic aims: maintaining and increasing functional capacity, maintaining or improving self-care, and stimulating one’s social network

  • As physiotherapists, we can help older people with the first aim ie maintain/increase their functional capacity. With our knowledge we are well equiped to do this via eg strength, coordination, CV fitness training, home exercise plans, hydotherapy, yoga .
  • The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy defines physiotherapy as a healthcare profession concerned with human function and movement, maximising a person’s potential.
  • We also have a role to play in educating older people to improve their general state of health and well-being.

Take a look at this light heart video on activities and the elderly


By identifying factors that affect movement, physiotherapists can manage/improve a condition through approaches including health promotion, preventative advice, treatment, and rehabilitation. 

World Health Organization (WHO) definitions on health[edit | edit source]

  • Health as defined in the WHO: A state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the object of living. It is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities.
  • Health Promotion: The process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health. Health promotion is the practical applicability of health, expressed as a resource to permit people to lead an individually, socially and economically productive life. One of the reason to single out health promotion and public health for a specific group of population could be epidemiological reasons such as measures targeting vulnerable or disadvantaged groups[1]. This explain why this paper focus on health promotion and public health for aged. Interventions for health promotion includes small projects to large national programs. Funding for this activities usually comes from donations from individuals or NGOs, or through taxation by national governments.
  • Public Health: The science and art of promoting health, preventing disease, and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society. To ensure health and health equity a country requires an empowered public sector must utilise principles of justice, participation, and collaboration. Actions include: policy coherence across government; strengthening action for equity and finance; and measurement, evaluation, and training  

Between 2005 and 2008, a Commission on Social Determinants of Health was established to collate and publish a report in response to increasing concern about persisting and widening inequalities in social determinants of health globally. See social determinants of health

Health Promotion and Public Health for Older adults[edit | edit source]

Play therapy elderly dancing.jpeg

Health promotion programs for the older adults tend differs from that of the younger generation and one reason for this is that it is general belief that the health of older people is generally less than perfect[1]. Also, it is believe that older adults suffers from chronic conditions and multi-morbidities, limiting their functional ability.

Health promotion programs for the older adults needs to incorporate this challenges of limitation in their health and dailiy activities.

  1. This health promotion and public health design thus requires specialize knowledge of healthcare practitioner in geriatric practice and education.
  2. Another factors to consider in designing health promotion and public health for older adults is the issue of life span, therefore, immediate results oriented health promotion program is needed for this cadre of population[1].
  3. In order to maintain quality life in this population, social participation and integration should be taken into consideration when designing health promotion for this population eg continuing professional work into later life, learning activities later on, participation in cultural events, volunteer work, maintaining a social network[1].

See also Consent and Confidentiality

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Golinowska S, Groot W, Baji P, Pavlova M. Health promotion targeting older people. BMC Health Serv Res. 2016 Sep 5;16 Suppl 5(Suppl 5):345. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1514-3. PMID: 27608680; PMCID: PMC5016724.
  2. WHO Ageing and health Available: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health(accessed 3.11.2021)
  3. Break the stereotypes Break the Stereotype- Elderly Physical Health Promotion. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdH8TKA0Pu0 (last accessed 20.5.2019)