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Section highlightThe Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) BillThe Bill strengthens existing governance arrangements for improving the well-being of Wales to ensure that present needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
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Improvements in health over the last century mean that people are living longer. Life expectancy is now 75 years for men and 80 years for women.
Wales has a higher concentration of older people than the rest of the United Kingdom. Over the next 20 years demographic changes will significantly change the balance of the population in Wales.
As people get older it is important that the added years are accompanied by good health. The benefits of good health are clear: improved quality of life for individuals, more opportunities to remain active in family and community life, maintained independence and less need for health and care services.
Growing older has been seen as a time of increasing dependency, when physical health declines and people are more subject to chronic and long-term conditions. But chronic disease, disability and poor health are not inevitable consequences of ageing, and there is much that can be done to promote good health in later life. Ideally the foundations for a healthy life in older age are set at the very beginning of life, and reinforced throughout the life-course.
We have launched our Healthy Ageing Action Plan which forms part of a series of Welsh Government initiatives to promote the health of mothers and babies, children, young people and adults of working age. It spans the age range of 50 and over, recognising that some elements of healthy ageing begin at around this age, for example pre-retirement planning. The plan contributes to the Welsh Government’s response to Health Challenge Wales, and links with our other initiatives.
The following initiatives are central to the ‘Promoting Health and Well Being’ Standard of the National Service Framework for Older People in Wales:
Healthy and Active Lifestyles in Wales.
Framework for Action.
Nutrition Strategy Food and Well Being.
The National Service Frameworks for Coronary Heart Disease, Diabetes and Mental Health.
Too many people with mental health problems are excluded from aspects of life which most of us take for granted, such as jobs, family support and community activities.
In October 2005, the Welsh Government published Raising the Standard, a document which sets out the standards for mental health services which can be expected across the whole of Wales.
Risks to mental health and well-being include:
life events and social factors that we have little or no control over such as: bereavement, exposure to abuse, homelessness, and being bullied or rejected; and
individual and family factors such as physical disability, poor health in infancy, neglect in childhood and family violence.
Likewise, protective factors, such as good physical health, fulfilling relationships, a secure home life, and other influences positively affect mental health and support emotional resilience.