What is healthy ageing?

Older people have identified eight attributes for ageing well.[1]

These attributes (or elements) include how older people feel within themselves, as well as factors that support and maintain their engagement and connections with community.

Figure 1: Attributes of ageing well, Commissioner for Senior Victorians

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong connection between these attributes. One cannot exist without another.

For example, it would be difficult to remain connected to family, friends and society (Attribute 4) if you we unable to get around (Attribute 8). Someone who does not feel safe and secure at home (Attribute 6) is unlikely to feel respected (Attribute 3).

Knowledge Question

How might these attributes relate to an older person living with HIV? For each attribute, name one (1) factor that might enable or prevent an older person living with HIV feeling good about their life.

Ageing well relies, in part, on the concept of healthy ageing.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines healthy ageing as “the process of developing and maintaining functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.”

Functional ability is about people having the capabilities to be and do what they need, value and enjoy.

This includes a person’s ability to:

  • meet their basic needs;
  • learn, grow and make decisions;
  • be mobile;
  • build and maintain relationships; and
  • contribute to society.[2]

[1] https://www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/migrated/files/commissioner-for-senior-victorians/summary-report-ageing-well-in-a-changing-world-2020.pdf

[2] https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/healthy-ageing-and-functional-ability

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