The world’s population is getting older. Within 10 years there will be 1 billion people aged over 60.
The UNFPA and HelpAge International have created a report outlining the challenges and opportunities
presented by a world with a higher proportion of older people. The report, Ageing in the 21st Century is available in its entirety at http://www.unfpa.org/ageingreport/.
The International Day of the Older Person is an occasion that is important to mark for the future of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
In fact in Europe, including Eastern Europe, the proportion of older persons is increasing at a faster rate than you might expect. Currently, there are over 58 million people aged over 60 in Eastern Europe, a figure which accounts for 19.8% of the total population. This number will increase to almost 84 million by 2050, or 32.6% of the total population.
The last two decades of economic and political transition experienced by many of the countries in Eastern Europe have contributed to a pronounced demographic shift through the migration of young people, the growth of life expectancy and the prevalence of lower fertility rates.
In order to accommodate the change taking place, policies tailored towards improving health care, pensions, access to employment, living arrangements and intergenerational relations will have to be implemented. This will certainly be a challenge for the region and one that will leave a lasting social impact.
What has to be kept in mind is that the growth of a proportionally older society is not a negative development. The valuable contributions that older people make through their wisdom, experience and skills benefit society tremendously.
Increased longevity is something that we as a society view as an accomplishment.
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