Aging population presents challenges

Update: October, 02/2018 - 15:00
Experts discuss challenges and opportunities of population aging at en event in Hà Nội. — Photo Courtesy of the UNFPA
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Responding to population aging should be a priority issue and require timely measures to prepare for more older people in the coming years.

Experts agreed on these points during a talk titled ‘Responding to population aging in Việt Nam: the way forward’, which was held on Monday afternoon in Hà Nội.

The talk was organised on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons on October 1 to demonstrate the positive side of aging populations. Participants discussed ways of turning challenges into opportunities and strengthening the understanding of the dynamics of an aging society. These aims are also clearly reflected in this year’s global theme ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.’

Addressing the event, Lê Tấn Dũng, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said, “Longevity is the greatest achievement of the country’s socio-economic development, not a social or economic liability. On this International Day of Older Persons, let us pledge to ensure the well-being of older persons and to enlist their meaningful participation in society so we can all benefit from their knowledge and ability.”

Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Lan, Deputy Director General of GOPFP said, "Population aging brings important benefits to society, including investment opportunities, quality of labour and knowledge, and economic benefits.”

But at the same time, it posed tremendous challenges that require new approaches in health care, retirement age, pensions, social interaction and intergenerational relations, she said.

"As we step towards the better future we all want, ‘leaving no one behind’ will mean making space for the contributions of older persons. Let us promote the rights and ensure the full participation of older persons to build better societies for all ages," said Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Việt Nam.  

Experts agreed that the country should continue to implement and review the laws and policies related to the elderly, such as the Law on the Elderly, the Social Insurance Law and the Population Ordinance to effectively address the challenges of population aging.

One more important facet of this is changing communication and creating a friendly environment for the elderly, and raising awareness among young people on ending stigma, discrimination and violence against the elderly.

Việt Nam officially entered an ‘aging phase’ in 2011, and is among the most rapidly aging countries in the world. The proportion of older persons in the total population has increased to 11.9 per cent, and one in six persons was over the age of 60 in 2017. According to projections by the General Statistics Office, in 2038, the number of people over 60 years old is expected to reach 21 million, accounting for 20 per cent of the total population.

The talk was organised by the Việt Nam National Committee on Ageing, in collaboration with the Việt Nam Association of the Elderly, General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and HelpAge International in Việt Nam. — VNS