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Healthy ageing in focus

Brunei Darussalam strives to enhance quality of life among the elderly

In an era where global challenges of ageing and youthful populations intertwine, the Commonwealth Association for the Ageing, known as CommonAge, in partnership with Standards Wise International (SWI), is leading the way in advocating for healthy ageing in Brunei Darussalam and beyond.

At the recent event on “A Conversation: Commonwealth Health, Ageing & Longevity”, held after the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva in May, the partnership between CommonAge and SWI shed light on Brunei Darussalam’s pivotal role as the Chair of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Health (CACH).

Holding the position for two consecutive terms, Brunei plays a proactive role, fostering dialogue between the Commonwealth Secretariat’s programmes and the policy objectives of Commonwealth Health Ministers. This connection is vital, acting as a crucial link in the decision-making process.

PHOTO: ENVATO

The CACH, comprising senior officials and civil society members, advises on public health concerns and emerging trends within the Commonwealth, while the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting unites health ministers from 56 member countries, providing a platform to address essential health priorities, share invaluable experiences, and make impactful commitments.

As the global population exceeds eight billion, the challenges posed by both ageing and younger demographics have deepened. The present demographic patterns intricately link the current scenario with the future, underscoring the interdependence among diverse generations.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of health and preparedness across all age groups.

The objective of the event was to promote a stronger focus on healthy ageing for both older and younger individuals. However, it also recognised that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that ultimately, there needs an alignment between societal change and cultural values.

In light of this, a proposed report on dementia in the Commonwealth has been approved, aiming to be completed by April of next year and presented at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva in May and at the Commonwealth People’s Forum during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa in October 2024.

The partnership between CommonAge and SWI, bolstered by Brunei Darussalam’s leadership, marks a substantial stride in tackling the complexities of healthy ageing.

With the world’s population ageing rapidly, a unified endeavour to champion healthy ageing and aid both older and younger generations becomes essential, extending far beyond Brunei to all 56 Commonwealth nations and beyond.

It signifies a joint commitment to upholding the rights and dignity of senior citizens, striving to enhance their overall quality of life.

CommonAge, an accredited Commonwealth organisation, is deeply committed to championing the recognition and support of older individuals. Central to its mission is the belief that a populace embracing healthy ageing not only benefits individuals but also eases the burden on governments and healthcare systems.

The organisation actively engages with governments, advocates for intergenerational activities, and funds research initiatives addressing older individuals’ concerns.

Similarly SWI is dedicated to establishing culturally sensitive standards for senior living and healthy ageing.

Operating collaboratively across nations, SWI focuses on enhancing outcomes for ageing populations, particularly emphasising dementia and vulnerable groups.

Their comprehensive standards encompass various aspects of care services, ranging from aged care homes to healthcare facilities.

This event gathered officials from different government ministries, high commissioners from Commonwealth nations, representatives from international and regional institutions, as well as non-governmental organisations like the International Institute on Ageing, United Nations – Malta and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) – Asia Pacific. – Rizal Faisal

 

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