Innovative Healthy Aging! 38 New Preventive and Delayed Disability Care Plans Moving Towards a Super-Aged Society by 2025

Taiwan Steps into a Super-Aged Society. (Image provided by Heho Health)
Taiwan Steps into a Super-Aged Society. (Image provided by Heho Health)

The Super-Aged Society is Approaching!

It is estimated that by the year 2026 (115th year of the Republic of China), Taiwan will enter a super-aged society. How to prevent and delay disability in the elderly so that they can enjoy a healthy, autonomous, and dignified later life is a crucial issue at present.

The Health Promotion Administration, together with local governments, has referred to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for integrated care for older people (ICOPE) and developed preventive and delay disability care plans with proven benefits and local characteristics to meet the needs of the local population. This year (2024), 38 new preventive and delay disability care plans have been launched, adding to the 235 plans implemented in the past, making a total of 273 plans available for flexible community application.

There are more and more community long-term care centers. (Image provided by Wikimedia Commons)

Integrated Services Centered on the Elderly to Enhance Physical and Mental Capacities

The decline in physical and mental functions due to aging is inevitable and cannot be cured by treating a single disease or symptom. Therefore, providing integrated health promotion services for the elderly, including mobility, nutrition, cognitive function, vision, hearing, and depression, has become an international trend. 

As of the end of 2023, approximately 330,000 elderly individuals participated in the program courses at community centers and received ICOPE functional assessments. Notably, the number of abnormal functional items decreased after the intervention, and the proportion of healthy elderly individuals increased by 4.3%. Additionally, many innovative program designs, such as Yunlin County's integration of traditional Chinese medicine with modern medicine, Taichung City's combination of music with cognitive and strength training, and Pingtung County's diverse exercise programs, have been well-received by participating seniors. 

To encourage greater participation, local governments have focused on preventive and delay disability enhancement programs tailored to individual functional needs, considering all aspects of health promotion. For example, Changhua County, Taoyuan City, and Kaohsiung City emphasize muscle strength and balance enhancement for the elderly, while Tainan City and Pingtung County focus on improving food quality and nutritional promotion for seniors.

Furthermore, to integrate local characteristics and resonate more with participating seniors, various localities have introduced unique elements into their programs. For instance, Taipei City includes sleep issues, New Taipei City and Keelung City design programs that encourage male seniors to participate, Taoyuan City incorporates Hakka culture, Chiayi County promotes bamboo cane walking using local products, and Taitung County includes fitness courses designed for indigenous elders. These localized features attract seniors to these diverse and appealing courses, offering new knowledge, increasing social interaction, and enhancing the health of both the elderly and their families.

Elderly can choose a suitable long-term care center for themselves. (Image provided by Wikimedia Commons)

Inquire About Local Government's Preventive and Delay Disability Courses to Choose Suitable Programs for Elders

To allow seniors to age healthily and actively in the community, local governments have established various types of localized community centers. These centers select suitable programs for participating elders based on the program design and the nature of the centers.

The 38 new preventive and delay disability care service plans developed last year (2023) have been implemented this year (2024). To date, there are 273 distinctive plans. Community centers or seniors with questions about selecting preventive and delay disability programs can contact local governments for assistance. Additionally, seniors can refer to exercise videos produced by the Health Promotion Administration, such as "Health Exercises for the Elderly" and "My Home is Also a Gym," to stay active and healthy at home!

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