Due to advances in medicine, hygiene and nutrition we are now living longer than ever before. In our region, the percentage of people over the age of 60 doubled in just 20 years - something that took 120 years in Europe and the United States.
And while there are definitely losses as we age – fine motor skills and a higher probability of conditions like dementia – there’s evidence that for many people brain development continues healthily into their eighties.
So how do we leverage the knowledge and social capital that older people accrue over their lives and help them to feel engaged, supported and energised during what has traditionally been characterised as a time of decline?
The University of Melbourne’s Will Isdale spoke with Nancy Pachana, Professor of Clinical Geropsychology at the University of Queensland and author of the book Ageing: A Very Short Introduction, about what we can do to plan for a healthy, engaged senior population.