Promoting healthy ageing

People in the ACT have the highest life expectancy in Australia and will live many of their years in good health.

However, not all Canberrans are as healthy as they could be, with nearly half of all Canberrans living with one or more chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer or mental health conditions.

As people get older they are more likely to develop one or more of these chronic diseases, however this is not inevitable.

Around 38% of the disease burden could be prevented by increasing healthy behaviours such as getting a good amount of physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy diet, reducing alcohol consumption and not smoking.

The earlier these lifestyle behaviours are adopted, the less likely it is for a person to develop chronic illness later in life.

Strategies that promote healthy lifestyle behaviours in midlife (45 to 65 years old) have the potential to delay and prevent age-related chronic diseases.

Continuing to promote healthy lifestyles including disease management in older people (generally, over 65 years old) is equally important for keeping us healthier for longer.

What we want to achieve

  • To support positive ageing, more adults engaging in healthy and protective lifestyle behaviours related to their physical and mental health.

What is the ACT Government already doing in this area?

Healthier Work program
The Healthier Work Program is a free ACT Government service that supports employers to develop health and wellbeing initiatives within their workplace to protect and promote employee health and help to prevent age-related chronic disease.

Mentally Healthier program
The Mentally Healthier Program encourages local workplaces to make a pledge to prevent harm, promote positive culture, protect staff wellbeing and provide support for staff experiencing mental ill-health.

PATH through life study
The ACT Government worked with University of New South Wales to explore the Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Study. PATH examines the relationships between depression, anxiety and substance use with cognitive ability and dementia. This research will inform prevention policy and programs.

Age-Friendly City Plan
The Age-Friendly City Plan contains a series of actions across four domains: health, public transport, human rights and planning. The vision is that older Canberrans are recognised as valued members of our community and enabled to lead productive and active lives as they age.

ACT Health Promotion Grants Program
Funding through the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program supports community initiatives that promote healthy ageing, including a dedicated funding round in 2016-2019 that focused on healthy ageing.

Seniors Grants program
The Seniors Grants program provides funding for projects that promote seniors as valued members of the ACT community and enable their active participation in community life.

Immunisation programs
The National Immunisation Program delivers the influenza vaccine, shingles (Herpes Zoster) vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine for people aged over 65 years to prevent illness.

ACT Cancer Screening Services
ACT Government delivers screening services for cancer including bowel, cervical and breast cancers. This includes a self-collection cervical screening program.