Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and A Challenge

A new report from the UN Population Fund and advocacy group HelpAge International,  Ageing in the 21st Century: a Celebration and a Challenge, deems that:

Population ageing is one of the most significant trends of the 21st century.

It has important and far-reaching implications for all aspects of society. Around the world, two persons celebrate their sixtieth birthday every second – an annual total of almost 58 million sixtieth birthdays. With one in nine persons in the world aged 60 years or over, projected to increase to one in five by 2050, population ageing is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored.

Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and A Challenge analyses the current situation of older persons and reviews progress in policies and actions taken by governments and other stakeholders since the Second World Assembly on Ageing in implementing the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing to respond to the opportunities and challenges of an ageing world. It provides many inspiring examples of innovative programmes that successfully address ageing issues and the concerns of older persons.

The report identifies gaps and provides recommendations for the way forward to ensure a society for all ages in which both young and old are given the opportunity to contribute to development and share in its benefits. A unique feature of the report is a focus on the voices of older persons themselves, captured through consultations with older men and women around the world.

The report, which is the product of a collaboration of over twenty United Nations entities and major international organizations working in the area of population ageing, shows that important progress has been made by many countries in adopting new policies, strategies, plans and laws on ageing, but that much more needs to be done to fully implement the Madrid Plan and fulfil the potential of our ageing world.

Full Report: Ageing in the 21st Century: a Celebration and a Challenge 

USA: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population

The NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL released a new report Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-term Implications of an Older PopulationExcerpts of the press release:

Population Aging Will Have Long-Term Implications for Economy; Major Policy Changes Needed

WASHINGTON — The aging of the U.S. population will have broad economic consequences for the country, particularly for federal programs that support the elderly, and its long-term effects on all generations will be mediated by how — and how quickly — the nation responds, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council.  The unprecedented demographic shift in which people over age 65 make up an increasingly large percentage of the population is not a temporary phenomenon associated with the aging of the baby boom generation, but a pervasive trend that is here to stay.

“The bottom line is that the nation has many good options for responding to population aging,” said Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA-CREF and co-chair of the committee that wrote the report.  “Nonetheless, there is little doubt that there will need to be major changes in the structure of federal programs, particularly those for health.  The transition to sustainable policies will be smoother and less costly if steps are taken sooner rather than later.”

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are on unsustainable paths, and the failure to remedy the situation raises a number of economic risks, the report says.  Together, the cost of the three programs currently amounts to roughly 40 percent of all federal spending and 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.  Because of overall longer life expectancy and lower birth rates, these programs will have more beneficiaries with relatively fewer workers contributing to support them in the coming decades.  Combined with soaring health care costs, population aging will drive up public health care expenditures and demand an ever-larger fraction of national resources.  READ MORE.

 

 

Canada: Aging population Fuels Nursing Home Boom

MIKE DE SOUZA writes in the VANCOUVER SUN:

The number of seniors living in a collective dwelling such as a nursing home has increased from 285,370 in 2001 to 393,150 in 2011.

Canada’s rapidly aging population has prompted a 38 per cent increase of the number of seniors living in nursing homes or other collective dwellings over the last decade, according to census figures released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.

The numbers suggested that many trends were steady since 2001, with nearly four out of five seniors still living alone or with their partners, and the rest living either in a collective, with relatives or non-relatives.

But the growth in the total amount of Canadians aged 65 and over, from about 3.9 million in 2001 to about 4.9 million in 2011, is causing significant growth in every category, including retirement and nursing homes or hospitals.

“You hear the story that everybody is living longer, healthier lives, and that’s still true,” said Susan Eng, a vice president for CARP, an advocacy group for Canadian seniors, said in an interview. READ MORE.

UK: Ageing population ‘is leading to crisis in end-of-life care’

STEPHEN ADAMS writes in the UK’s TELEGRAPH:

Britain faces a growing crisis in its ability to care for people dying of cancer, dementia and other long-term diseases, doctors are warning.

More hospices, care homes and other end-of-life facilities are needed to help cope with increasing numbers dying ‘gradual’ deaths, say specialists worried that supply is not keeping pace with demand.

Better health care, and to some extent a fitter older population, means less are experiencing ‘sudden’ deaths, for example from heart attacks.

But while increased longevity is to be welcomed, doctors say not enough resources are being devoted to making the last days of the elderly as comfortable as possible.

Writing in the publication, British Medical Journal Supportive and Palliative Care, doctors warn that gradual deaths from cancer and other chronic disease are already “a considerable burden” for European countries, including Britain. READ MORE.

USA: Will Property Prices Need a Crutch as the Population Ages?

MARK HESCHMEYER at the COSTAR GROUP writes:

There has been much speculation that single-family housing prices could take a hit as increasing numbers of baby boomers downsize and leave larger homes behind as they move into retirement age. That assumption is too general to be entirely accurate, according a pair of major economic papers on the topic of aging and property prices.

What is clear is that this ongoing population shift holds important ramifications for the multifamily property sector, including senior and assisted living facilities. And it is also becoming an issue of increasing importance for commercial real estate investment researchers.

“As Baby Boomers enter retirement age, many ’empty nesters’ may downsize, leaving their current homes in favor of smaller condos or age-restricted communities. Therefore, prices for large single-family homes located in high property tax areas could be under pressure over the next decade,” Tim Wang, senior vice president and head of investment research for Clarion Partners in New York, told CoStar News. “However, seniors today are often healthier and live longer; because of this we believe it is still premature to invest in assisted living or nursing homes.” READ MORE.

Ex-Apple Boss Tackles Poverty in India with Mobile Technology

NAOMI CANTON writes at CNN.COM:

In Juanga, India, a village of less than 3,000 inhabitants, the adults typically work as farmers on small plots of land earning less than $2 a day. They live in extended families in two or three roomed bamboo thatched mud huts, surviving on rice and dahl.

Unable to see the value of education, the parents typically take their children out of school before they turn 16 to earn money. Women frequently deny themselves trips to health clinics and they lack knowledge of basic preventative healthcare measures.

They also lack basics such as drinking water, electricity, food, healthcare and infrastructure, but cell phone towers are often ubiquitous.

One American non-profit organization is using this proliferation of phone masts to bring empowering mobile technology to these destitute villagers. READ MORE.

 

USA: As Population Ages, Home Health Care Grows

CHELSEY LEVINGSTON writes in the DAYTON DAILY NEWS:

Dayton home care companies are growing to meet the demands of an aging population that prefers to stay in their homes as long as possible, said local experts.

Ohio is aging fast, with projections for one in four residents in the local region to be age 60 or over by 2050, according to Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center.

People are living with more chronic conditions, living longer and using technological advances to manage their conditions at home, said Paula Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Fidelity Health Care. Fidelity is the home care division of Dayton hospital system Premier Health Partners.

“I think there’s been a real renewed interest in home care,” Thompson said. “I think people are looking for alternatives for care and again to remain in their homes I think [because of] the cost of moving into a facility, and they have to give up a lot to do that. I think independence is important to that population.”

Dayton home care companies have seen their patient volumes grow. Since 2009, for example, the patient volume at Alternate Solutions Healthcare has grown 67 percent, while Kettering Home Care has seen its number of patients increase 43 percent. And new local companies have sprung up in that time, such as Graceworks at Home and Lavender Home Care Solutions. READ MORE.