What can Sub-Saharan Africa learn from Canada’s investment in active healthy ageing? A narrative view
The number of older persons in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasing.
What can Sub-Saharan Africa learn from other countries that may enhance the health and wellness of older persons? Canada was conveniently selected as the country which has endorsed the need for action on active ageing, given that by 2026, 1 in every 5 Canadians will have reached the age of 65 years and 4% of the overall population will be 85 years and older.
English language electronic searches of computerized databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsychINFO) were done to locate relevant published studies on Canada, from January 2000 to August 2014. Keyword combination included: physical activity/activities, exercise/s, older person/s, elderly, ageing adults, seniors, and older people.
8 out of 400 plus articles were reviewed, and 4 key approaches in ensuring active ageing in Canada were identified. From these, 5 public health-oriented plans are recommended for Sub-Saharan Africa: (1) there should be a shift in the conceptualisation of what physical activity entails, (2) it is necessary to build and strengthen collaboration between various stakeholders involved in planning, (3) raising awareness among older persons and the general population on the benefits in participating in physical activity, (4) encourage older persons to participate in culturally relevant physical activity, and (5) laying a better foundation for future generations of older persons.
Though more elaborate planning is required, these recommended plans will contribute to achieving average life expectancy beyond 60 years in Sub-Saharan Africa.