Older People - Health Promotion and Public Health

Health Promotion and Public Health[edit | edit source]

Health is determined by behaviors in many ways, such health related behaviours are smoking, aclcohol consumption and exercise habits. This health bevahiour can be promoted in different ways such as health education and incentives to induce healthy behavior. As physiotherapists, we can influence people of all ages to increase their physical activity levels plus educate them to improve their general state of health and well-being. Take a look at this light heart video on activities and the elderly


The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy defines physiotherapy as a healthcare profession concerned with human function and movement, maximising a person’s potential. By identifying factors that affect movement, physiotherapists can manage/improve a condition through approaches including health promotion, preventative advice, treatment, and rehabilitation. Literature by C Borras et al. suggests that centenarians have healthy ageing because of the delay in processes like physiological decline and age-related diseases or syndromes. The genetic component of the individual also plays an important role in longevity. The researchers suggest that the biology of centenarians yields a key for intervention to promote healthy ageing in the general population[2].

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the mandated leader in global health; they provide the following definitions to terms related to health.

Good Practice[edit | edit source]

It is worth knowing the definitions that separate terms often used in health promotion and public health.

Health as defined in the WHO constitution of 1948[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[3]. 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[edit | edit source]

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.

The social determinants of health are described as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequalities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.

The three main recommendations advocate:

  1. Ways to improve daily living conditions
  2. Tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources
  3. Measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of an action

The Commission strongly advocated the central role of government and the public sector in taking an action, but recognised the need for support and action across multiple agencies such as global institutions, national and local governments, civil society, research and academic communities, and the private sector.

Thus, two problems have been identified when considering health promotional issues:

  1. Lack of evidence of their effectiveness. Whilst we observe daily improvements in health-related technology and in our increasing life expectancy rates, we are developing increasing chronic illnesses,
  2. Many of these illnesses e.g. heart disease, diabetes, alcoholism, and drug abuse, or obesity are preventable, yet many within a population do not choose options that promote a healthy lifestyle.

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

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[3]. Also, it is believe that older adults suffers from chronic conditions and multi-morbidities ,limiting their functional ability. Thus, health promotion programs for the older adults needs to incorporate this challenges of limitation in their health and dailiy activities. This health promotion and public health design thus requires specialize knowledge of healthcare practitioner in geriatric practice and education. 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[3].

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. Also , in other to maintain quality life in this cadre of population, social participation and integration should be taken into consideration when designing health promotion for this cadre for population. Example of activities in the social bonds and activities are . continuing professional work, learning activities later on, participation in cultural events and social work and maintaining a social network are essential for healthy aging[3].

Play therapy elderly dancing.jpeg

See also Consent and Confidentiality

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Break the stereotypes Break the Stereotype- Elderly Physical Health Promotion. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdH8TKA0Pu0 (last accessed 20.5.2019)
  2. Borras C, Ingles M, Mas-Bargues C, Dromant M, Sanz-Ros J, Román-Domínguez A, Mallench-Gimeno L, Gambini J, Viña J. Centenarians: An excellent example of resilience for successful ageing. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. 2019 Dec 31:111199.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 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.