Global demographics are changing dramatically. Longer life spans and low birth rates mean that the proportion of elderly people in populations around the world is rapidly on the rise. In other words the world’s population is ageing, and that poses both challenges and opportunities to governments and private sector companies alike. Here is a glimpse of what to expect and a few insights on Healthy Ageing.

Generally speaking Healthy Ageing is about optimizing opportunities for good health, so that older people can take an active part in society and enjoy an independent and high quality of life. The elderly population will live longer and be more active than the past generations, and as the birth rate is going down it is becoming an even greater challenge to make ends meet in government budgets. Politicians in modern societies are heavily debating how we get such labor to operate, when there are fewer and fewer to keep the wheels in motion.

22 % will be 60+ by 2050
Back in 1950 there were 12 employed citizens for every retired person on a worldwide scale. Today, this figure has dropped to 9, and it is expected to drop to 4 by 2050. In China today, there are 9 citizens employed for every retired person, this figure would have dropped to a chocking 3 if they had maintained their one-child policy. To put things in perspective, 30.000 people in the US alone will retire every week from today and until 2030. To sum it all up; the number of people worldwide aged 60 years or older will rise from 900 million to 2 billion between 2015 and 2050 – moving from 12 % to 22 % of the total global population.

Maximizing functional ability
These facts begin to gain momentum in the emerging economies and the demographic change will over the coming decades change our society in many ways. What most governments already agree on, is that in the 21st century all countries need an integrated system of long-term care and the term Healthy Ageing is and should be on everyone’s mind. In some countries, this means building a system from almost nothing. In others, it means rethinking long-term care: from a basic safety net for the most vulnerable, towards a broader system that maximizes older people’s functional ability and upholds their autonomy and dignity.

We need to rethink ageing
Making progress on Healthy Ageing will also require a far better understanding of age-related issues and trends and this goes for the private sector also.
Comprehensive public health action will require fundamental shifts in how we think about ageing. Once the Governments and all the amazing organizations out there succeed in changing how we feel about getting older, the private sector has to be even more progressive and better prepared for the +50 population rising. Investment professionals are already tuning in on companies with focus on the following areas:

  • Good Living
    The elderly today are significantly more active and youthful than before. This will result in an increased demand for tailored travel, experiences, cars and fashion.
  • Retirement Management
    As we live longer, and public pensions in the future will only cover a small part of our needs, an increased demand for retirement savings and advice will emerge.
  • Low Cost Solutions
    Government finances will suffer increasing pressure. This implies an increasing need to find more cost-effective care solutions and therapies.
  • Treatment & Cures
    There will be an increasing demand for medicines and treatments. We need to treat and cure people faster and more efficient.
  • Assisted Living
    There will be an increased need for care tools, automated solutions as well as accessible housing and buildings with healing architecture will be in focus.

Stretching life in the middle
But when all is said and done, what matters the most is that we all start to change the way we look at ageing. Scientists and researchers are discovering that how we feel about getting old matters a whole lot. If we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health will probably suffer. But if we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in positive ways. To sum it all up, we will leave you with a quote from Dr Margaret Chan, Director General World Health Organization.

“Older people are a wonderful resource for their families and communities, and in the formal or informal workforce. They are a repository of knowledge. They can help us avoid making the same mistakes again. Indeed, if we can ensure older people live healthier as well as longer lives, if we can make sure that we are stretching life in the middle and not just at the end, these extra years can be as productive as any others. The societies that adapt to this changing demographic can reap a sizeable “longevity dividend”, and will have a competitive advantage over those that do not.“