By 2050, the number of people in the EU aged 65 and above is expected to grow by 70% and the number of people aged over 80 by 170%. This growing will be accompanied by an increase in the perc entage of old people in good conditions, but also by an increase in the figures of old people with disabilities (Lancet, 2009). By its own, these predictions are a challenge for modern societies. But its importance increases if we take in mind the peculiarities of the disease in the elderly and the differences in its manifestations, characterized by the generation of disability, in this particular population (Fries, 1980; Tinetti & Fried, 2004; van Weel & Schellevis, 2006; Lafortune G, et al for the Disability Study Expert Group Members. OCDE, 2007).
This fact raises important challenges for the 21st century: meet the higher demand for healthcare and adapt health systems to the needs of an ageing population while keeping them sustainable in societies with smaller workforce.
The EU is actively supporting Member States in their efforts to promote healthy ageing with initiatives to improve the health of older people, the workforce, children and youth; and to prevent diseases throughout life. In addition, the EU takes action to improve the living conditions of elderly people.
Although all these initiatives must be available for the whole population of elder people, one of the most efficient strategies to improve the quality of life in advancing age is to put the focus on the group of elder people with the highest risk for developing disability: the frailty one.