Within the current century (1950-2050) there will be a 26-fold worldwide increase in the number of people aged 80 and above (from 14 million to 379 million) making them the fastest growing population sub group. Although many will continue living actively, significant numbers will experience disability and frailty that require ongoing care. Smaller, more complex and geographically dispersed family networks are becoming less capable of providing that care without additional support. Health care systems remain largely focused on cure and are not sufficiently orientated to provide care. However much is achieved in prevention and treatment, the longevity revolution comes with an added imperative: to develop a culture of care that is sustainable, affordable, compassionate and universal.
To advance the debate on a global culture of care, two connected international forums were held in Brazil in October, under the leadership of the International Longevity Centre – Brazil (ILC-BR), presided by Alexandre Kalache, and in partnership with the World Demographic & Ageing Forum (WDA Forum) and Bradesco Seguros, a major Brazilian financial corporation. Participating experts included representatives from other centres in the ILC Global Alliance (Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, France, and South Africa, UN agencies, international and national NGOs and academic institutions.
The outcome, approved unanimously, is the Rio Declaration “Beyond Prevention and Treatment: Developing a Culture of Care in response to the Longevity Revolution”. The Rio Declaration highlights the need for inclusive, person-focused care firmly grounded in human rights. It calls for a fresh perspective on gendered dimensions of care in policy and in society. Policy targets on care in the UN Post 2015 Development agenda are recommended. Emphasis is given to achieving a care system, spanning health promotion to end of life care, that is characterized by: communication, continuity, coordination, comprehensiveness and community linkages. The Rio Declaration further calls for specific actions addressing respect for the rights of older persons; care services; planning and delivery of care; education and training; and age-friendly environments for a culture of care.