5 things every health professional needs to know about to cope with our ageing population

The proportion of the world's population aged over 60 will nearly double between now and 2050. This trend will both increase demand for health and social care professionals, and change the skill set they need. In this post, we outline five things every health professional needs to know as the population ages, and offer a selection of health courses to help you.

The proportion of the world’s population aged over 60 will nearly double between now and 2050. This trend will both increase demand for health and social care professionals, and change the skill set they need. In this post, we outline five things every health professional needs to know as the population ages, and offer a selection of health courses to help you.

5 things every health professional needs to know to cope with our ageing population

1. Successful ageing strategies 

There are a range of social, environmental and economic factors that contribute to physical and mental wellbeing as we age. Ensuring that older people can remain active, healthy and socially connected – and addressing the health inequalities that exist today – will be key to making sure that our ageing population is a happy one.

Know how to age successfully with:
Strategies for Successful Ageing
The Musculoskeletal System: the Science of Staying Active into Old Age
Social Determinants of Health: What Is Your Role?


2. Age-related neurological disorders

The risk of neurological disorders such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease increases with age, so organisations such as WHO and Parkinson’s UK predict a rise in the number of people with them. Understanding these disorders better – whether to research new strategies to prevent them or to improve care for people with them – will be a valuable skill in the coming years.

Understand age-related neurological disorders with:
The Many Faces of Dementia
Good Brain, Bad Brain: Parkinson’s Disease.


3. Technology

In The Future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030, the UK government says: “As digitalisation grows, we can expect a significant impact on employment and skills in the decades ahead. In the health sector, we could see care workers assisting with home-based diagnostic and monitoring devices. Being able to use increasingly complex electronic and digital medical equipment becomes a central requirement for medical staff.”

Get to grips with technology with:
Internet of Things for Active Ageing
eHealth: Combining Psychology, Technology and Health.


4. The costs of falling

Almost 10,000 people aged over 65 fall down every day in the UK alone. The personal and financial costs are staggering – falls result in injury, broken bones, fear and social isolation, while each fall can cost a health system as much as US$ 3,611. As the population ages, doing more to understand why older people fall and what can be done to prevent falls will be critical to both individuals’ wellbeing and society’s healthcare bills.

Appreciate the costs of falling with:
Ageing Well: Falls.


5. Palliative and compassionate care

“As the population ages, the numbers of people dying of cancer and chronic disease is going to increase, requiring palliative care strategies and facilities to improve the quality of life.” That is the conclusion of research published in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. So, whether you work in a hospital or hospice, keeping up with the latest best practice in caring is important now and in future.

Improve palliative and compassionate care with:
Palliative Care: Making it Work
Compassionate Care: Getting it Right.


What other healthcare skills do you think will be important in future? And how are you developing them? Let us know in the comments below.

Category Healthcare

Comments (18)


  • Dr mukund lal

    Know 5 caring things in elderly.which is stratigies
    For elderly,know neurological disoder in elderly,cost to fall,enhance technology,palliative care and compoaonate. This things are too good and affordable.

  • Dorie

    As an woman entering the “golden age”, my biggest concern is now that I no longer work, will society see me as a financial burden and how will my health care change since I am no longer a productive, tax payer.

    • Sarah

      I have felt similarly to you Dorie but believe this is a mistaken view.
      We have much to contribute to society .More recognition via the government /media of the invaluable work done by older people often for no payment, for care/ company provided to the very old /frail for no money saving the tax payer millions ,it would help. I wonder how many charities would cease to function without retired people’s contribution…Even if you don’t do these things you are valuable for who you are. We don’t have to achieve to be of value but I think we have a responsibility to look after our health to the best of our ability , getting as much information and support to do this as possible…All the best of health and happiness to you in your ‘golden age’

  • Ronald

    In relation to all the writers below…

    Age is normal process of live, holding closely to all the thing you could do in the past is a waste of good energy. Focus on the new possibilities. Every age has his own unique ways of staying healthy. And stay interactive with your own surrounding. Be a part of life!

    That saying: Health should be measured by a persons need, whishes, mentally and psychical.
    Being a care worker and sport coach, we have to step away of the general believe that everey new thing we introduce for “a longer happy life” should be a individual balanced choice.

    Make the elderly shine as an individual unique person. Than we will score high!

  • Sandra

    Starting the transition to using assisted technology for failing vision and mobility whilst still mentally active enough to understand how to use it.ensuring a strong work/leisure balance so that when life no longer revolves around work colleagues and schedules networks for socialising and communicating are in place.

  • Rashid

    If the findings of advancement in technology and our ageing population in this current era of advanced world technological..as part of population we are not let them not happy to reach and be in this era of advanced technology by making them better cope with current world, to care, and socialize in manner not suffer by being reaching old age in this time.Let works with those tips and apply them.

  • Janene

    Why do we continue to look at treatment of a disorder as opposed to prevention? So much of current disease & disorder can be prevented with dietary & lifestyle change. When is our mainstream healthcare system going to address prevention?

  • Kevin Gillett

    Have the older people form a walking group to meet in there area to exercise together and have a social contact with other members.

  • Radhika Seiler

    Therapies that assist in integrative medicine as well as practicing mindfulness should play a much more important role for health and wellbeing in the future.

  • Barbara Whitehouse

    We are all advised by the press and television what is good for us and where possible we follow advice try your best and enjoy the day

  • Bob

    Adequate housing designed to accommodate the reduction in mobility and other disabilities.
    Maintaining connections with family or others giving affectionate, considerate support and positive social interactions.

  • Terry Buchan

    Under the first point, ageing ‘successfully’, more specific advice on diet would be useful, especially in re. to avoiding the evils of refined sugar and the dangers that associated gum disease and diabetes present to our health; and also imaginative exercises (that can be carried out solo or in groups) beyond the usual ‘walk more and have more sex (either simultaneously or separately, as you prefer)’.

  • Margot Griffiths

    When do you start utilising strategies for ageing. I have looked at the 5 ways you suggest. I am already classed as aged at 72. I feel that have tried my utmost to age well but I fear the NHS will refuse to treat me if treatment is rationed.

  • Peter Wilkinson

    Excellent! Just one thing. As all life eventually leads to death there is nothing here to address this. If there is nothing to hope for beyond death we are all left hanging loose.

  • Gwen Nelson

    I try and avoid dressing old, while at the same time trying not to look like mutton dressed as lamb. I have always taken care of my skin and try to stuck to a sensible diet without depriving myself. I have had IBS for years but recently gave up ted meat and my bowel problems have almost disappeared. Apart from my partner and one friend, all my other friends are at least 20 years younger than me . We have the same interests and warped senses of humour.

  • Alison Howard

    I should like to do the The Musculoskeletal System: the Science of Staying Active into Old Age, but it is while I’m holiday. Can I start it in November, will it still be available?

  • Chloe Quayle

    Social networking!