Portugal had about 4,000 people over the age of 100 in 2021, according to Pordata, which estimates that in the next three decades, until 2050, this figure could exceed 10,000. A scenario that, from the perspective of Manuel Lopes, is very positive because it means that we are able to create conditions for people to reach that age. “We are an aging country, and that’s good,” says São João de Deus School of Nursing, a professor at the University of Évora, who was present on the second Transformar or SNS podcast. it was, precisely, “Health Promotion.” , the way of life and aging: the urgency of new answers “. However, the professor acknowledges the difficulty of combating the burden of the disease, which is still very high above 65 years. “Investing in these policies has ensured results, albeit not in the short term,” he said.
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An opinion shared by Pedro Maciel Barbosa who adds that these policies can and should work from prevention, in a logic of screening or vaccination, but also in a logic of strengthening healthy moments. “The latter involves positive behaviors for this contribution – how to exercise and maintain a balanced diet – which we all know,” says ULS physiotherapist Matosinhos, who also participated in the podcast organized by DN. “What we’re trying to suggest is that reflection on health is carried out throughout people’s lives.”
However, experts argue, health education is an essential component for people to have information, make better decisions, and be able to manage their health throughout their lives. “And this education must be given not only to compulsory education, but also to higher education,” he said. is low. Therefore, “we realize that these educational tools must accompany the whole journey of people and all socioeconomic traits, maintaining a greater concern for the poorest or least literate, because the scientific evidence is complete, and the risk of suffering physical and mental illness is much greater. in these social strata “.
When it comes to promoting skills, Manuel Lopes reinforces the importance of doing so at any stage of life. “If we want to apply it to the elderly, we can even combine the promotion of literacy with other strategies that also help, for example, to increase coexistence between generations and to fight loneliness,” he suggests.
These challenges require a lot of reorganization and management, which means there is a lot of work to be done. For example, says Manuel Lopes, “if we have to analyze the National Health Plan, perhaps the most important instrument of strategic health planning in Portugal, we find no reference to multimorbidity and the approach to multimorbidity and dependency, which is an overwhelming reality. “These issues, he argues, should be put on the table and debated, because they require the input of everyone. One of the strategies proposed by this working group, adds Pedro Maciel Barbosa, is a reflection on local care or home care. “It’s something that the NHS has transformed, it has found solutions, but unfortunately they are fragmented and this is the right time to rethink them.”
To learn more about these proposals, be sure to listen to the podcast, which is available today on the DN website.