Demystifying the myths of ageing by Edited by Anna Ritsatakis

By Edited by Anna Ritsatakis

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30 Myth 11 Demystifying the myths of ageing Older people expect to move aside Older people are much better informed than in the past. They are much more aware of how ill health can be alleviated and their quality of life improved. They are also a growing and increasingly vocal group. The strength of the “grey euro” is making itself known in the marketplace. Given the opportunity to voice their opinions and advice, older people can make valuable and sometimes surprising contributions to decision-making related to promoting health and wellbeing in their community.

When older people do need care, families are still the main providers, including older people themselves who care for spouses or other relatives. Studies across Europe have shown the extent and variety of care from such caregivers but also their need for support for them to continue in this essential task without harming their own lives and health. ● Health services need to be geared more closely to the specific needs of older people. ● Caring for the caregivers is an urgent priority and requires more imaginative thinking and recognition of their role as equal partners.

This applies when the courses they follow rely more on practice than theory, allow time for assimilating new knowledge piece by piece and allow time for repetition. In fact, the preference of older people for building up learning in small blocks very well reflects the practices recommended in modern management books that instruct their readers to divide tasks into smaller manageable pieces. This could again be a case in which what is good for older people might be good for other people. 29 Unfortunately, the economic climate rather than the needs of the over-50s frequently dictates the provisions made for learning new tricks.

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