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Scope & Purpose

Ageing is one of the greatest achievements of humankind!
Nowadays, many families encounter contact over four generations; children can listen to stories about things their family experienced many decades ago.
But age and ageing are often associated with negative connotations – illness, deficits, social isolation which culminates in addressing an "ageing problem".

Longevity has become the norm in developed countries, but the accompanying changes in demography became a challenge by modifying the distribution of age groups – less young people and more old people. Ageing is an individual experience, but it is also a huge unprecedented transformation of modern societies.

Technological innovations transform our societies in a radical and sometimes disruptive way, too. These changes need considerations concerning their effects on ageing also.

The first plenary session will discuss how ageing and technology innovations affect health promoting health care. Technological developments have implications for the provision of health services and health promotion – the different perspectives of patients, of health workforce and communities will be given specific attention.

Life expectancy has increased in most societies – in average, people are older! To a different degree, healthy life years have also increased. Ageing is a biological process accompanied with an increase of health problems. But health care, social services, public health policies and new technologies have an enormous lever to mitigate the negative biological and social effects of ageing and to mobilize resources. The second plenary session outlines specific needs of older people and options of health services to respond to these needs in an age-friendly, health promoting way. The right to health is a fundamental part for a life in dignity. It requires appropriate quality treatment – also for older people with increased demands due to conditions like multimorbidity or neurocognitive disorders. Any health care service has to adapt to these challenges. Examples of organizational and procedural measures that support age-friendly health care and health promotion services as well as the maintenance of mobility and autonomy will be presented. It also will be discussed whether a further diversification of health services might better respond to specific needs of older people – for example, people with dementia or for the very last stage in life.

Health and social services are delivered by people, by staff from a huge variety of professions. The third plenary session puts its focus on staff health. In many countries, the average age of the health workforce is rising, many health care professionals abandon health services looking for different occupational arrangements or retire before pension age. In contrast to this, in several countries, the legal retirement age is also rising. Even if resources were available without restriction, employers would be well advised to promote staff health. The provision of good working conditions with offers and support for individual employees is an adequate approach to implement health promotion in health services. What is the right mix of professions to provide best services to patients? Are there good models and strategies to optimize the mix of age groups in teams? Which working time models and shift work arrangements are appropriate for which age groups?

Health care and social services are embedded in community structures. Cooperation is the relevant resource for health promotion. The fourth plenary session will present approaches and experiences in community cooperation and networking with respect to age: models of cooperation which help to prevent and cope with age related decline in abilities, models of integrating health services, social services and long-term care, hospice and palliative care in and with communities.

The concept of age friendly health services integrates health promotion strategies which are also outlined in specific HPH standards for age-friendly health services. The fifth plenary session will debate in how far the "age-friendly hospitals and health services" can be seen a prototype for a holistic health promoting hospital. We will look how the concept of an age friendly hospital deals with the issues of equity and diversity, environment, health literate organizations, patient, family and citizen involvement. Further, we want to discuss how the HPH concept and network can contribute to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.