Background: At the end of 2016, the aging indices for Taiwan and Taoyuan City were 98.86 and 66.63, respectively. Our aging society is currently a major issue. Due to degeneration in bodily functions, elderly are more susceptible to bone fracture following falls, which results in bedridden status or death. This leads to greater demands in social benefits and public health system, and greater stress and burdens to the society. To slow down degeneration and dementia in elderly, Taoyuan City had rolled out a series of events for the elderly, such as Taoyuan City health exercise event, exercise for elderly health community seminar, elderly performance arts competition, elderly cooking competition and health seminars for elderly. A number of educational courses for the elderly, such as fine arts, calligraphy, horticulture, mental health are also provided to encourage outdoor activities and cultivate regular exercise habits to maintain muscular endurance, increasing social interaction and networking.
Methods: Integration of community care sites, hospitals and health centers for the implementation of various health promotional activities were utilized to encourage elderly participation in outdoor activities in community events. Up to September 2015, the number of elderly citizens in Taoyuan City that participated in the activities was 62,268 (participation rate: 32.5%). A total of 1,843 elderly citizens had exercised at least three times a week through the Taoyuan City health exercise event. Elderly health seminars hosted at community care sites, elderly clubs, elderly learning centers included topics such as exercise, fall-preventive exercise, balanced diet, oral hygiene, prevent of chronic diseases and medication safety, with 2,125 elderly citizens who participated. Life-long learning between 2014 and 2016 had accumulated participation of a total of 109,948 elderly citizens. By the aforementioned methods, elderly living alone and less socially active elderly citizens were encouraged to participate in community events.
Results: In 2017, over 1,725 elderly citizens over the average age of 70 had participated, which was an increase of 285% when compared with 2016 (605 participants). “The Ageless Chef Cooking Competition” invited elderly to show off their culinary skills and cook delicious and healthy dishes for other elderly and family members. In 2017, a total of 700 citizens had participated, which was an increase of 200% when compared with 2016 (350 participants).
Conclusion: Through continuation of multiple health promotional events, the rate of regular exercise in the population was increased from 64.06% in 2010 to 80.05% in 2016 in Taoyuan City. Health promotion can reduce the social impacts of our aging society and allowing Taoyuan City to move towards “healthy aging” and “successful aging”, and to become a healthy, elderly-friendly city.