The face of the elderly: how do senior citizens differ across the world?
With more and more people living longer, healthier lives, much of the world now has what is known as an aging population. This means that there is a larger proportion of individuals above retirement age in the country and means increasing pressures are put on those of working age to contribute financially to the care of these individuals via government taxation and other processes.
Yet, despite the differences, not all countries perform the same when it comes to their elderly residents. In fact, a recent report ranked the social and economic wellbeing of elderly people across 91 countries with some startling results.
Here are the key findings:
- Sweden came top of the list while Afghanistan was ranked at the other end of the scale in last place
- The United States comes in at number 8, behind Sweden, Norway,Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, and Switzerland
- Nations are said to not be addressing the aging population quickly enough to cope
- By the year 2050, the number of individuals over the age of 60 years will outnumber the number of children aged under 15 years
- This will be the first time this has happened in history
- Prosperity of a country was found not to be an indicator of the state of the social and economic wellbeing of elderly people living there
- BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) rank lower than many poorer countries including Uruguay and Panama
- Sweden was praised for its top healthcare facilities which helped it achieve the number one spot on the rankings
- Common problems faced by nations with an aging population is the dilemma of how to fund their care and upkeep
- In most cases, an increase in retirement age is suggested although this is approached with caution with many experts warning against a mandatory or compulsory introduction
- A combination of top healthcare, a pension system celebrating its centenary, good education coverage and plenty of social support helped Sweden achieve the top spot
- After Sweden, Norway and Germany made the list in second and third place
- The Netherlands and Canada also made it
- Afghanistan, which came in last place, has life expectancies of 59 years for men and 61 years for men compared to the global averages of 68 years for men and 72 years for women (according to U.N data)
- Afghanistan also fails to offer a pension to citizens not in the government
Whatever your thoughts on the situation, it is clear that more action is needed to cope with the greying population the world is finding itself subject too. With the UK also facing similar issues and considering changes to pensions and retirement ages, the need for people to recognise the demands of the elderly is more important than ever. Whether this means seeking additional governmental aid or simply speaking to firms such as Bathing Solutions who can help improve facilities at home so that elderly people get the quality of life they deserve, the focus of all should be on making the needs of the elderly a priority.