Eldemire-Shearer, Denise A.; Paul. Tomlin J.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Community Health and Psychiatry
Ageing - Time for a Paradigm Shift in Healthcare Services [Abstract]
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
52 Suppl. 6
Introduction: The Caribbean population is ageing rapidly and the number of prsons aged 60 years and over is expected to double by the year 2025 from the current level. The fastest growing age group among the elderly population is the oldest, that is, those over the age of 60 years. The demographic transition or the ageing of the population is happening at the same time as the epidemiological transition from infectious to chronic diseases. Chronic diseases require healthcare management over extended periods and are the major contributors to healthcare costs. Changes in socio-cultural patterns as seen in lifestyle practices are also occuring and their is strong evidence to show that unhealthy diets and insufficient physical activity, are among the major casual risk factors in heart diseases causing increasing morbidity and mortality in Caribbean populations. Due to the nature of the risk factors, much of their effects are preventable. This raises many fundamental questions for health care policy and practices, as the goal is for people to remain independent and active as they age. For the inevitable ageing of persons to be a positive experience, the quality of the additional years is an important aspect and the longer life should be accompanied by continued opportunities for participation. The increasing levels of chronic disease especially those associated with disabling complications can and does threaten sustainability of good quality of life.....