Aging And The World Health Organization

2792 Words12 Pages
INTRODUCTION Ageing has been described as the inevitable slow progressive impairment of normal biological function resulting from cellular and structural changes in an organism. These cellular and structural changes directly impact on the functioning of organs, systems and eventually the organism as a whole (Burton 2007). The correlation between the biological time clock for ageing and the calendar/chronological age differs among individuals. However, the World Health Organization accepts 65 years as the chronological age that defines an ‘elderly’ person (World Health Organization 2014). According to the United Nations’ report on population ageing, one of the most distinguishing demographic occurrences of the twentieth century is the fact that the world’s elderly population is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the population and is expected to continue through the twenty-first century. Over the last 50 years, the number of elderly persons is believed to have tripled and a greater increase is expected over the next 50 years (Department of Economic and Social Affairs United Nations 2002, pp. 1 & 34). New Zealand has not been left out of this trend with an increasing proportion of elderly people and a decreasing proportion of children. The proportion of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over has increased from 11 percent in 1991 to 13 percent in 2009 and is expected to be up to 21 percent by 2031 (Ministry of Social Development 2014a). In view of this ongoing
Open Document