People worldwide are living longer. Today most people can expect to live into their sixties and beyond. Every country in the world is experiencing growth in both the size and the proportion of older persons in the population.
Evidence suggests that the proportion of life in good health has remained broadly constant, implying that the additional years are in poor health. If people can experience these extra years of life in good health, and if they live in a supportive environment, their ability to do the things they value will be little different from that of a younger person. If these added years are dominated by declines in physical and mental capacity, the implications for older people and for society are more negative.
A longer life brings with it opportunities, not only for older people and their families, but also for societies as a whole. Additional years provide the chance to pursue new activities such as further education, a new career or a long-neglected passion. Older people also contribute in many ways to their families and communities. Yet the extent of these opportunities and contributions depends heavily on one factor: Health.
Although some of the variations in older people’s health are genetic, most is due to people’s physical, nutritional, mental, spiritual, social, lifestyle, and environments – including their homes, neighborhoods, and communities, as well as their personal characteristics – such as their sex, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. At PathologyPrevention® we refer to these factors as Prevention Practices.
It has been shown that the environments people live in as children – or even as developing fetuses – combined with their personal characteristics, have long-term effects on how they age. Here on this website, we try to provide information and products to help people of all ages, become more healthy, improve capabilities, and learn to life a longer, more healthy life. This is why we say together, we can increase self-reliance, improve wellness, and prevent chronic disease.
The diversity seen in older age is not random. A large part arises from people’s physical, mental, and social environments and their impact on opportunities and health behavior. These relationships are skewed by the personal characteristics discussed above such as the family we were born into, our sex and our ethnicity, and personal habits leading to inequalities in your health – now, and in your old age.