2014-10-01 15:42:00

Int. Day of Older Persons: a global index points the way

(Vatican Radio) October 1st marks the United Nations International Day of Older Persons.

To coincide with the occasion HelpAge International, the global network that helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, has launched the Global AgeWatch Index 2014 which provides Governments with important data and information so they can make better policy decision in an increasingly aging society.

Linda Bordoni spoke to HelpAge International's Chief Executive, Toby Porter, about the increasingly relevant issue and trend.

Listen to the interview

Porter says that population aging is a wonderful thing, a triumph of national and global development processes. “It means the proportion of the total population aged 60 or over is increasing, thanks to the fact that people are living longer, more children are surviving childhood, more women are surviving childbirth, etc” he said.

But - he says - it is a triumph that requires foresight and planning.

He points out that in terms of figures, today it is estimated that just under 12% of the world’s population is aged 60 or over. By 2050, that is projected to rise to 21% of the world's population." 

“So the world’s population is not just aging more than it has ever aged before, it is also aging quicker” he said.   

Porter speaks about the just launched Global AgeWatch Index 2014 which has ranked Norway at the top of the list as far as the best country to grow old in, and analysis the good example of many Latin American nations that have legislated new pension policies to the benefit of the whole of society.

Although – he says – life expectancy continues to rise, a significant proportion of developing countries trail behind, with Afghanistan indicated as the worse place on earth to grow old due to lack of security and health infra-structures.

All in all, 96 countries have been ranked according to the social and economic wellbeing of older people.

To read the report go to HelpAge International.

Porter also speaks of the huge boost Pope Francis has indirectly given HelpAge  as time and time again he condemns the abuse of the elderly and speaks of their value in society.



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