Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Note the shrinking 0-19 age group and the growing 65+ age group.
(Source: UN World Population Prospects)

Would John Lennon have imagined a world that is rapidly ageing? Given the statistics, it's not that difficult to picture a world where one in every four people is 60 and above. We can expect that to happen as early as 2050. Everyone grows old. That is a fact. With the longer life span now enjoyed by the elderly, and with young people delaying marriage and opting for smaller families, the net result is a world population that is increasingly turning gray. What are the repercussions? How prepared are countries to face the challenges posed by an ageing population?

This video posted by the International Monetary Fund gives a forewarning of the crisis ahead and offers some solutions on what can be done to reduce the adverse impact of global ageing.

Here is another video with the same urgent message. Lifestar Institute believes that the solution lies in biomedical technologies that can "retard, arrest, even reverse the damage of ageing' and at the same time 'make a big difference to the health of the elderly'.

The vision and mission as stated on Lifestar Institute website: "We are dedicated to averting the pending global ageing crisis in the pursuit of personnel, sciences and processes to develop therapies that restore knowledge and productivity. We invoke solutions to the human, social and economic burdens of our ageing population... and advocate open, informed discussion about the challenges and opportunities ahead." (Click here to read more.)

Some countries like Singapore are scrambling to get ready for the rising number of elderly people. Some are blissfully ignorant of the coming silver tsunami. Some are aware but choose to be complacent about it, preferring to give priority to other concerns.

Which category does Malaysia fall into? Which countries are most prepared to meet the challenge? And which countries are least prepared? The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has published the Global Aging Preparedness Index (or GAP Index) that provides the first comprehensive quantitative assessment of the progress that countries worldwide are making in preparing for global aging, and particularly the old-age dependency dimension of the challenge.

You can download all 76 pages of the full report here.

Of the 20 countries covered in the Index, four are in Asia: India, China, Japan and Korea.

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