The upsurge in the improvement of medical care, facilities, and technologies is a having positive impact on the aging population, leading to a shift in the population demographics. In fact, many recent studies and conferences have opined that the world’s population is ageing. The majority of the reports indicate that virtually every country in the world is experiencing growth in the number and proportion of older persons in their population. This new population trend may have implications for development.
The 2017 World Population Prospects data reveals that the number of older persons — age 60 and above — will doubled by 2050 and by 2100 will more than tripled the present figure. This suggests that 962 million global population of the aged in 2017 will rise to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.1 billion in 2100. The report concludes that the global population of seniors aged 60 and above is growing faster than all younger age groups.
Of course, the increasing aging population in this 21st century world will have implications for nearly all the sectors of the society including the labor and financial markets, the demand for goods and services, housing, transportation and social protection, as well as family structures and intergenerational ties. Hence, there is need for policies and programs tailored to meet the needs of the aging population.
What Policy Areas for the Older People Require Global Attention?
- Health and Nutrition
Specific global action is needed in the area of health and nutrition for the elderly. This is because the seniors may be more susceptible to diseases and infections resulting from weaker immune systems due to years of age. If adequate and proper nutrition is made available to older people through specific intervention, it will assist the elders to build strong immunity against most chronic diseases that might otherwise deny them the opportunity to maximize their potentials and enjoy their lives.
- Housing and Environment
The seniors deserve to live in befitting houses and sustainable environments that promote good health and longevity. Hence, there is need for specific interventions by governments across the world and relevant non-governmental agencies to ensure suitable and befitting housing for the senior citizens.
The seniors are best taken care of within the family. Thus, there should be specific action towards improving the family structure so it can perform its traditional function of catering for the elderly within the family.
- Income Security and Social Welfare
Governments around the world will need to create specific programs catering to the welfare and income of senior citizens in retirement. With sufficient social programs and adequate pension schemes, the elderly can be sure of a brighter rewarding life with each passing year.
Securing new job by older candidates in their 50s and 60s can be a challenge after they have been “downsized.” Too many employers seem to be inclined towards younger, minimum qualification candidates compared to older ones who are may be over-qualified for the available positions—but excited about bringing their talents to new roles. Companies need to notice the skills they are missing each time they opt to pass over the older population of workers.
With the increasing aging population, it is imperative to design international policy on ageing for the 21st century. This will go a long way to cater for the dwindling plight of the senior citizens in our societies.