UK makes top 10 in list of best places for older people to live

The UK has entered the top 10 best places in the world for older people to live, according to a new index measuring living standards around the world.

Switzerland comes out top in the report created by HelpAge International working with the University of Southampton, with Norway, Sweden, Germany and Canada making up the top five.

The rest of the top 10 are the Netherlands in sixth place followed by Iceland, Japan, United States and the United Kingdom. Bottom of the 96 countries included in the study is Afghanistan.

The Global AgeWatch Index measures the lives of older people in the four key areas of income, health, education and employment and the enabling environment.

It assesses the social and economic wellbeing of the older population and represents 91% of the world’s population aged 60 and over, amounting to 901 million people.

The report shows that apart from Japan in eighth place, all the top 10 countries are advanced countries in Western Europe and North America.

People aged 60 in Japan have the highest life expectancy and live on average an additional 26 years, while people aged 60 in Afghanistan, live on average an additional 16 years.

Average life expectancy at 60 across all featured countries is 21 years.

Poverty rates among older people also vary dramatically with the Republic of (South) Korea currently having the highest poverty rate among older people at 48.5%, followed by Venezuela at 38%, Australia at 33.4%, Bolivia at 30.3% and Honduras at 28.9%, despite significant variations in gross national income per capita.

All the world’s regions are represented in the lowest quarter, showing that improvements in lives of older people are required in countries across the world.

African countries make up half of those with low income security rankings and poor health results – requiring more research and policy interventions in this region than any other.

Greece (79), Venezuela (76) and Turkey (75) are in a similar position to sub-Saharan African and Asian countries.

Professor Asghar Zaidi, of the Centre for Research on Ageing at the University of Southampton, said: “This index is vital in representing the lives of older people in countries around the world as it enables us to compare not just their pension income and health but also the age friendly environments in which they live.

“The index has also shown that a number of countries still lack vital statistics of older people and we would like to see them feature in the report in the future.”

Toby Porter, chief executive of HelpAge International, said: “The Index is a step on the road to people fulfilling their potential at every stage of life.

“Today, in all countries of the world, the proportion of older people is growing. By 2050, 46 of the 96 countries in the index will have 30% or more of their populations aged 60 and over. We have just 35 years to prepare.”

Chris Roles, director of Age International, said: “The Global AgeWatch Index allows us to focus much-needed attention on the importance of responding to the rapidly growing numbers and proportion of older people in the world.

“It shows us which countries are preparing well for this unprecedented demographic change and demonstrates that when governments plan ahead and invest in their ageing populations, society as a whole benefits.”

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