Healthy ageing

The population in the WHO European Region is ageing rapidly: its median age is already the highest in the world, and the proportion of people aged 65 and older is forecast to increase from 14% in 2010 to 25% in 2050. People in nearly every part of the Region are living longer, but their chances of spending these later years in good health and well-being vary within and between countries.

For too many, old age brings a high risk of social isolation and poverty, with limited access to affordable, high-quality health and social services. Strong public policies are thus needed to ensure that positive trends can be sustained and the benefits of a longer life can extend to everyone regardless of where they live or the socioeconomic group they belong to.

Promoting good health at all ages 

WHO/Europe works with Member States and partners to promote good health throughout the life-course. This includes counteracting growing inequalities in old age, strengthening health systems to meet the changing needs of an ageing population and expanding the evidence base for health and social care policies for older people.

The objective is jointly to build the policy foundations for a WHO European Region where people of all ages:

  • enjoy supportive, adapted social environments;
  • have access to high-quality, tailor-made, well-coordinated health and social services;
    are supported in maintaining maximum health and functional capacity throughout their lives; and
  • are empowered to live and die in dignity.