Living longer, healthier lives – working towards integrated, people-centred care for older persons


Health-care systems must serve all people at all ages and leave no one behind – this idea is embedded in the core vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the world marks International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, WHO will launch new guidelines on integrated care for older people (ICOPE) to support the work of Member States towards creating more integrated, person-centred health and long-term care for people at all ages.

The guidelines, which will launch during a high-level meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on 2 October 2017, offer evidence-based guidance to health-care providers on the appropriate approaches at the community level to detect and manage important declines in physical and mental capacities, and to deliver interventions in support of caregivers. These standards can act as the basis for national guidelines and for the inclusion of older people’s health care in primary care programmes, using a person-centred and integrated approach.

The ICOPE guidelines also call for more investment in universal health coverage to ensure better health outcomes for older people. They recommend the inclusion of healthy ageing interventions in the basic benefits package for pursuing universal health coverage.

The theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons is “Stepping into the future: Tapping the talents, contributions and participation of older persons in society”. The contribution of older people to their communities, and their participation in making these communities more age-friendly, is at the core of the Strategy and action plan for healthy ageing in Europe, 2012–2020. Much has been learned in this area from cities and communities in the WHO European Region, as documented in a recent publication, Creating age-friendly environments in Europe.