Ageing, Longevity, Life Expectancy, Lifespan and Healthy Ageing – Definitions


Ageing / aging – the lifelong process of growing older at cellular, organ or whole body level throughout the life span.

Longevity – the duration of life.

Life expectancy – the average number of years of life remaining to a person at a
particular age based on a given set of age-specific death rates, generally the
mortality conditions existing in the period mentioned.

Life expectancy (at birth) – the average number of years of life that a newborn would be expected to live if he or she is subjected to the age-specific mortality rate during a given period.

Life span – the longest period over which the life of any plant or animal organism or
species may extend, according to the available biological knowledge concerning it.

Healthy ageing – an approach which recognizes that growing older is a part of living;
recognizes the interdependence of generations; recognizes that everyone has a
responsibility to be fair in their demands on other generations; fosters a positive
attitude throughout life to growing older; eliminates age as a reason to exclude
any person from participating fully in community life; promotes a commitment to
activities which enhance well-being and health, choice and independence, and
quality of life for all ages; encourages communities to value and listen to older
people and to cater for the diverse preferences, motivations, characteristics and
circumstances of older persons in a variety of ways.

Healthy Ageing is defined by the World report on ageing and health as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.

Functional ability is determined by the person’s intrinsic capacity (the
combination of all the individual’s physical and mental capacities), relevant
environmental factors, and the interaction between the two. Environmental
factors include policies, systems, and services related to transport, housing,
social protection, streets and parks, social facilities, and health and long-term
care; politics; products and technologies; relationships with friends, family, and
care givers; and cultural and social attitudes and values.


WHO Centre for Health Development (‎Kobe, Japan)‎. (‎2004)‎. A glossary of terms for community health care and services for older persons. Kobe, Japan : WHO Centre for Health Development.

Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016 – 2020)



Except the definition of life expectancy (at birth).


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