Group of older people, happy.

Aging and Life Course is a programme of work created by the World Health Organisation which aims to combat the challenges presented by our aging population. In the next 10 years primary health care and long-term care will become overwhelmed if we don’t act now. To avoid a crisis of health inequality we need to drastically increase the size and upskill many of our existing health workforce and infrastructure.

The stats are startling – by 2050 one in five people will be over 60 and the number of people over 80 will triple to 426 million worldwide. As these people will likely have complex frail individual needs new models of care will be required. We know this for sure as current healthcare models are not fit for older people now and is already leading to inequality. One aspect which certainly does need to change is the integration of health and social care as well as the integration between health services.

This is why on International Day of Older Persons this year the WHO ICOPE Handbook and App – ICOPE being Integrated Care for Older People. This is an innovative package of evidence based tools which support the implementation of integration. ICOPE helps key stakeholders in health and social care understand, design, and implement a person-centred and coordinated model of care to address the diverse health needs of older people.

The toolkit contains guidelines, handbooks, Apps, frameworks and mAging guide which are all essential reads and free to access from the links provided or via the WHO website. The infographic below explains how the toolkit should be used.