Auteur : kevin.galery
Publié le : 17/11/2016

European countries have a concerning rapid ageing population1. Because of a decrease in fertility rates and longer life expectancy2, EU countries face an unprecedented demographic challenge which is already straining healthcare systems, economies, public finances, and society. By 2050, almost 1 in 3 Europeans will be 60 years and over.

Ageing is associated with multi-morbidity due to an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases (primarily diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancers). More than half of persons over 60 years may be affected by multi-morbidity3, leading to polypharmacy and increased risk of drug-drug interactions and side effects.

Ageing increases the risk and severity of infectious diseases. Ageing is associated with a reduction in immune function (known as immunosenescence) which leads to an increase of both the risk and severity of infectious diseases5. Because infections in seniors may be more frequent and severe, seniors are more likely to require medical care, hospitalisation and to die from some preventable infections

Infectious diseases, especially when chronic diseases are present, can disrupt a fragile equilibrium in seniors and lead to functional decline and loss of autonomy. Management of infectious diseases may be challenging, particularly in seniors with chronic diseases and polypharmacy4. In this population, infections can precipitate a cascade of events that can lead to worsening of comorbidities, functional decline and loss of autonomy6.


United Nations. World population prospects, the 2015 revision. Department of Economics and Social Affairs. Population Division. Available at: (Accessed 7 March 2016).

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Health at a Glance 2013: OECD Indicators. OECD Publishing. 2013: pp 163. (Accessed 7 March 2016).

World Health Organization. World Report on Ageing and Health. 2015 Geneva, Switzerland. Available at: (Accessed 7 March 2016).

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