Editorials

Promoting successful ageing through integrated care

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d6808 (Published 10 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6808
  1. Dilip V Jeste, distinguished professor of psychiatry and neurosciences
  1. 1University of California, San Diego, CA 92093, USA
  1. djeste{at}ucsd.edu

The most important step is to improve society’s attitudes towards older people

Longevity increased in most countries during the first half of the 20th century mainly as a result of reduced infant mortality from infections and other preventable causes. However, since the 1950s the average lifespan has again increased, mainly because older people with chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke are living longer. Data showing that the proportion of older people with depression and other mental illnesses will grow disproportionately faster than the overall older population are less well known. One reason for this is a higher risk of these mental illnesses in people born in the post-second world war baby boom than in those born before the war.1 The changing demographics have been described as a “silver tsunami,” pointing to the high healthcare costs of the ageing population. A more constructive socioscientific approach would be to develop means of keeping older adults healthy.

The linked randomised controlled trial by Von Korff and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.d6612) assessed an important model for promoting healthy ageing in people with multiple chronic illnesses.2 The authors sought to improve hyperglycaemia, …

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