Population ageing: a global health crisis?
Population ageing: a global health crisis?

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Population ageing: a global health crisis?

1 Introducing population ageing

You are going to begin by looking at some important facts and ideas about population ageing that are central to this course.

Activity 1 Global population ageing: the issues

Allow about 30 minutes

The video below is about global population ageing. It also addresses the impacts, opportunities and challenges of global population ageing together with ways to overcome these challenges globally.

Skip transcript: Video 1 Global aging

Transcript: Video 1 Global aging

[MUSIC PLAYING]

TEXT ON SCREEN:

Rheinhart and Kirkegaard: Retiring Government Debt

Doug Irwin: Trade and Exchange Policy

Nobelist George Akerlof Profiled

Jobs for Middle East Youth

F&D Finance and Development

 

Global ageing

Throughout the world and throughout history the young have always outnumbered the elderly.

Over the next 40 years this will change. The population over 60 will grow by 1 billion to a total of 2 billion. For the first time in human history, there will be more people over 60 than under 15. 1 in every 5 people will be elderly.

In 1950 there were 12 working people for every elderly person.

Today: 9.

2050: 4.

More money out, less money in.

Economic impact:

Growth, Savings, Debt, Investment, Consumption, Labor markets, Pensions, Taxation

Social impact:

Family composition, Living arrangements, Housing demand, Migration trends, Health care

Political impact:

Voting patterns, Political representation

The elderly bring:

Inspiration – values, Work ethic – culture, Leadership – tradition, Wisdom – legacy

But with age comes:

Health concerns, Vulnerability, Uncertainty

But with less money how can countries afford looking after the elderly and how will we afford to look after our own health, our education … afford to spend on technology, arts, science? Afford to spend on our children and their futures?

We could consider these steps:

Integrating aging into all aspects of development, Involving the elderly more in major policy decisions, Fundamental reforms in existing pension systems, Making health care affordable to all

And we can do this not just because we care for them, because we also care for those to come.

Read more about aging in the June 2011 issue of Finance and Development, a publication of the International Monetary Fund. www.imf.org/fandd

Produced by Babar Ahmed for The International Monetary Fund

Original music composed by Kenneth Lampl

Animation and graphic design: Junko Nagano

Thanks to Luke Ditommaso and Charles Esser

End transcript: Video 1 Global aging
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(International Monetary Fund)
Video 1 Global aging
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As you watch, think about the following questions. According to the video:

  • a. What is the age at which someone becomes ‘elderly’?
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Discussion

In this video, the ‘elderly’ are those who are 60+. What do you think about this way of classifying people as ‘old’? Is it fair? Using this classification, the video then goes onto show how for the first time, there will be more older people than there of working age people in societies across the globe.

  • b.What are the benefits of having older people in a population?
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Discussion

Some of the benefits of having older people are highlighted – inspiration, work ethic, leadership, wisdom, values, culture, tradition and legacy. Other sources have also identified contributions that older people make to society, for example, caring for those who have a long-term illness or disability, childcare for grandchildren and voluntary work (HelpAge International, n.d).

  • c.What are the ‘challenges’ of having older people in a population?
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Discussion

The video gives an overview of the economic, political and social impacts of population ageing and gives several examples of each. These examples include the challenges this global societal transformation brings, such as less money into the economy and more money out, and the way that older people’s vulnerability and poorer health cause an increase in the costs of meeting their health needs and caring for them. Some of the implications of these impacts – in terms of housing demand, taxation, growth, investment, pensions and migration – may also prove to be challenging. They is because they are not only challenging in themselves, but also because of the extent to which addressing them means there are fewer resources for other essential services for the rest of the population.

  • d.How can the challenges be addressed?
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Discussion

The final part of the video presents some ‘steps’ that can be taken to address these sorts of challenges – integrating ageing into all aspects of development, involving the elderly in major policy decisions, making fundamental reforms to the pension systems, and making healthcare affordable to all.

You will be looking into the issues and questions this video raises in more depth and will be referring back to it throughout this course.

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