Populations are ageing with vast numbers of people around the globe living into old age.
Increasingly, older people are living with and dying from multiple, chronic debilitating conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes cancer, dementia and HIV and AIDS.
Older people must have access to appropriate care, support and treatment, which recognises their contribution to society and is tailored to their individual needs through the course of illness, including at the end of life.
Unfortunately palliative care is very rarely available.
On World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2012, urgent action is needed from UN agencies, governments, the private sector and civil society to ensure:
- the inclusion of older people in the decision-making around their care options, including at the end of life
- existing health policies address the unique palliative care needs of older people
universal access to hospice and palliative care for older people living with, and dying from, life-limiting conditions including non-communicable conditions
- access to, and availability of, pain medications, including oral opioids, for older people
- adequate support, training, supplies and equipment so that health professionals and carers can provide palliative care for older people in the community, in inpatient facilities and in people’s own homes
- the advocacy agenda on active ageing promotes compassionate and dignified care for older people with life-limiting illnesses, including they are at their most vulnerable and approaching the end of life.