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
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.
As you watch, think about the following questions. According to the video:
- a. What is the age at which someone becomes ‘elderly’?
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?
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?
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?
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.