- Australia leads the Asia
Pacific region in creating an enabling environment supportive of longevity and
healthy ageing with an overall score of 75.2 out of a possible 100, ranking
second globally behind the US
- South Korea (4th) and Japan (8th)
perform well with scores above the global average of 59.4
- South Korea leads the G20 in
areas of 'accessible economic opportunity' and 'inclusive social structures and
- Countries with the oldest
populations are broadly better positioned to address the needs of older people
across the globe
- High-income countries are more
prepared, but middle-income countries are making progress
- Poverty levels among older
populations is a concern. The poverty rate for people aged above 66 in South
Korea and Australia is over 10 percentage points higher than for total
HONG KONG, CHINA - Media OutReach - 22 July 2020 - More
people are living into old age than ever before. In 2018 The World Health
Organization predicted that by 2020 there would be more people aged over 60
years than there are children under 5 years. This prediction is on track to be
correct,and numbers in the older cohort continue to rise. This has
created challenges in providing health and social services for burgeoning older
populations and governments across the globe have been slow to react.
Priorities are now shifting from solely addressing the health of older people,
to how societies can maximise this opportunity and provide effective, inclusive
environments in which to age.
This report from The Economist Intelligence Unit describes
findings from the "Scaling Healthy ageing, Inclusive
environments and Financial security Today" (SHIFT) Index", a benchmarking analysis around ageing
societies. The SHIFT Index benchmarks
against a set of national-level leading practices in creating an enabling
environment supportive of longevity and healthy ageing for societies in the 19
countries comprising the Group of Twenty (G20). The SHIFT Index captures the multifactorial variables that impact
ageing across three domains: adaptive health and social care systems;
accessible economic opportunity; and inclusive social structures and
The research found that no G20 country is
fully prepared to support healthy, financially secure, socially-connected older
people. The US, Australia, Canada and South Korea ranked highest in our index
with scores in the 70s out of 100 (see table below). Broadly, those countries
with a higher proportion of people aged over 50 -- including the three highest ranking countries plus South Korea,
Germany, France and Japan -- are implementing more
leading practices to enable inclusive environments. Wealthy countries may find
it easier to respond, but wealth is not a prerequisite for providing supportive
environments. The best scoring health systems tend to be high-income countries,
but upper-middle income Brazil, and lower-middle income Indonesia are also
making strides to improve health systems.
As a whole, the G20 countries perform best
in providing adaptive healthcare systems and worst in providing inclusive
social structures and institutions, indicating that countries still have work
to do to shift the focus towards building more welcoming societies for older
adults as they age. Countries also have room to improve in providing more
accessible economic opportunities to older workers.
Despite clear progress made, governments
have more work to do to make sure their health systems are adaptive to the
needs of older adults as they age, while also fostering inclusion and ensuring
individual economic security. A key
barrier to addressing this is lack of robust age-disaggregated data collection
by governments in areas such as dedicated health professionals, the extent of
isolation and loneliness as well as mental health.
Index reveals several priority areas that may form the basis of policy
responses to develop more accessible and inclusive societies for older people:
- Collect better data: Countries
should collect and publish detailed, age-disaggregated health and economic data
annually so policymakers can develop evidence-based programs and policies.
- Address poverty among older
people: Some older adults choose to work longer, others must. Governments can
ensure the financial health and security of older adults by creating more
inclusive work environments. This starts with removing barriers to working
longer that exist in some markets.
- Prevent a care crisis among the
elderly: The provision of care for older adults--both formal and informal--and
the accessibility of, or access to, long-term care is ill-defined and is an
area for further research.
- Enable older people's voices to
be heard: The views and needs of older people are not routinely collected and
they are not represented well in policy consultation.
- Address age-related
discrimination: Few countries categorise age-discrimination as a crime outside
of employment practices. Fighting discrimination as well as physical, emotional
and financial abuse of older adults, will encourage greater social cohesion
- Support training and upskilling
of older people: Supporting older people with the skills and help needed to
navigate increasingly complex and digitised health and social care systems
should be an area of focus.
Jesse Quigley Jones, managing editor at The
Economist Intelligence Unit and editor of the report, said, "The challenges
that ageing populations present for economies and health systems have long-been
understood, yet provision of inclusive, supportive environments for older
people has not been a high-profile policy priority. Although wealth has emerged
as a theme in the Index as a contributing factor towards healthy ageing
indicators, it is not necessarily a prerequisite for providing supportive
environments. Lower-income nations can take low-cost measures that improve
ageing societies, such as enacting inclusive work environment policies and
fostering inclusive and enabling social environments.
With older people particularly vulnerable
to the health and societal impact of the covid-19 pandemic, it is more
important than ever for older people to lead healthy, independent lives for as
long as possible and avoid the need for institutional care. While our data were
collected pre-pandemic, the priorities identified in the report are now thrown
into sharper light and may serve as a wakeup call for governments across the
globe for providing adaptable, accessible and inclusive environments in which
populations can age."
the whitepaper, infographic and index workbook, please visit
About the research
Shifting demographics: a global study on
inclusive ageing is a report by The Economist
Intelligence Unit, supported by Amgen. It considers policy efforts to address
active and inclusive ageing in 19 countries based on a first-of-its-kind index
that benchmarks each country's performance across accessible and affordable
healthcare, social connectivity among older adults, and finance security
practices and policies.
The "Scaling Healthy ageing, Inclusive
environments and Financial security Today" (SHIFT) Index and the related
research programme whose findings form the basis for this report were informed
by extensive research and guided by an international panel of experts from
across academia, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and
international financial institutions.
The following 19 countries (comprising
the G20 and excluding the EU) are included in this analysis: Argentina,
Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy,
Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK
and the US. These were selected to broadly represent the world: covering
roughly 65% of the population and 75% of global GDP.
About The Economist Intelligence Unit
Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is
the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The
Economist newspaper. The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make
better decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on
worldwide market trends and business strategies.
can be found at www.eiu.com or www.twitter.com/theeiu
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