In almost every country, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group, as a result of both longer life expectancy and declining fertility rates.
This population ageing can be seen as a success story for public health policies and for socioeconomic development, but it also challenges society to adapt, in order to maximize the health and functional capacity of older people as well as their social participation and security.
As populations age, the pattern of diseases that people suffer and die from changes; more people are affected by chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and dementia, which increases the demand for palliative care services.
Reference: World Health Organization. Health topics. Internet. Accessed August 26, 2009. Available at http://www.who.int/topics/en/ Help the Hospice. Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance calls for urgent action to support ageing population. Internet. Accessed 26 August 2012. Available at: http://www.helpthehospices.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/ageing-population/