HONG KONG, CHINA – Media www.rajawalisiber.com – 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 institutions.
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.
The SHIFT Index reveals several priority areas that may form the basis of policy responses to develop more accessible and inclusive societies for older people:
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.”
About the research
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
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need, and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world, and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.