Sml_reading_coffee_unsplash_photo-1422207175003-e5b7d45ceb7bIt seems October is  a good month to release research and analysis on ageing, so this week’s round-up focuses on some of these reports. The reports all focus on the ageing of our population and either suggests strategies to address this challenge or outlines the intended consequences of this demographic shift.

So get your cup of beverage of choice and marking pens out ..   28 Sept – 3 Oct 2015

Recounting and forecasting the population ageing

First we saw the release of the 2015 population estimates and projections from the UN Secretariat. Some staggering figures for us to consider

  • world population expected to grow from 7,349 millions to 9,725 millions by 2050
  • globally the age group that is growing the fastest is those aged over 60
  • globally the number of  people aged >60 is expected to more than double by 2050
  • those aged >80 is set to triple by 2050: now numbering 125 million this will grow to 434 million in 2050
  • the revision has confirmed the there is substantial improvements in life expectancy globally in 2015  – rising for women from 65 to 69 years, and for men from 68 to 73 years. * Australia’s life expectancy is among the top 8 countries with the highest life expectancy.
  • Globally life expectancy is projected to rise further to 83 years by 2050.

For the ‘nerds’ out there you can interrogate the data yourself  ‘to your hearts content’ at http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/DataQuery/

Download report here

Shaping Ageing Cities to design out discrimination

This report uses the lens of town planning and urban design to rethink the communities we live in and propose a framework for examining the design of communities to meet the ageing challenge. The goal being to design urban environments that “respect, protect and fulfil” the rights of older people by promoting the creation of

“inclusive, sustainable, secure and prosperous communities for all”.

They propose a ‘shaping ageing cities lenses’ approach to the WHO Global ‘age friendly cities’ model. These lenses include society, built environment, mobility and digital environment. They applied this approach to look at 10 European Cities to determine the value of this approach in urban design.

Read more here

WHO – World Report on Ageing and Health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on International Day of Older People – 1 Oct released its much-anticipated report  ‘World Report on Ageing and Health’ . The report represents a manifesto for action to meet the challenge of population ageing.

It asks us to rethink ageing and its stereotypes by presenting evidence that demonstrates that there is much diversity in the ageing journey, and that ageing need NOT equate to increasing dependence. The report provides evidence as to the positive impact that public health factors, policies and services canand are having healthy ageing and which can ultimately move the debate so that population ageing can be viewed as a “rich new opportunity for both individuals and societies”

The resulting framework for taking public health action offers a menu of concrete steps that can be adapted for use in countries at all levels of economic development.
The report identified 4 key priority action areas for public health

  1. dealing with diversity
  2. reducing inequality
  3. enabling choice and
  4. ageing in place

Labour set to become scarce and more expensive

Morgan Stanley released a report ‘The Global Macro Analyst’ which predicts that we are at an inflection point that sees most of the world now having more people >65 and not available for work and a slowing of the growth rate of workers globally – all reinforced in the reports mentioned above.

Their takeaway from these trends is that labour is about to become more expensive and that economic growth globally will slow. They also predict that average household saving will decline, as they so cutely put it … because

“the old dis-save, while workers save. the more old, the less saving”

the net effect of these combined forces, they predict, will be an increase in the interest rates to 4.5-5% by 2050.

ILO – Not enough workers to delivery quality services to the elderly

Perhaps not surprisingly given the Morgan and Stanley report (mentioned above) the International Labor Organisation (ILO) has released a new study suggesting that at present there is a shortfall of 13.6 million long-term care (LTC) workers to deliver quality care to the global population aged 65 and above.

This report looks at unpaid and paid LTC worker availability. This shortfall is despite the fact that much LTC is delivered by unpaid, often female family members. The ILO is arguing for

  • universal LTC protection based on national social protection programs,
  • financing of these LTC through social insurance or taxes so that out-of-pocket expenses are minimised, and
  • increasing the LTC workforce.

Download the report – LTC protection for older persons: a review of coverage deficits in 46 countries here