Old people need love too

With support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), HelpAge International publishes its ratings for senior citizen’s conditions across the world on the eve of Day of Older Persons
By Lyudmila Kirillova

The list includes 91 countries, home to 89 percent of the world’s elderly. Sweden tops the list, followed by Norway and Germany. It is interesting to note that Japan, where the annual event of elderly people honouring became a national holiday half a century ago, only just reaches the top ten. Also, Austria, which in a similar, recent survey by Forbes, was at the top of their list, was not included in this survey at all. Our country occupied 60th position, ahead of Poland, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. The most uncomfortable countries for the elderly to be living are Pakistan, Tanzania and Afghanistan.

The study shows that the indicator of GDP per capita is a poor one for elderly people. For example, poorer countries like Mauritius and Sri Lanka are high up on the list thanks to their progressive social policies, whilst the USA, with all its riches, is only in eighth place. Experts took into account, not only the income of those who are over 60, but also their state of health, education, employment, favourable environment and their social activity.

The number of people of ‘honourable age’ is growing, and by 2050 there will be more than 2 billion of them. According to forecasts, the amount of elderly people in Belarus will reach 28 percent in the next 12 years. Life expectancy is growing; since 2000, there has been an increase of 2 years in life expectancy among both women and men. The United Nations Population Fund also debunked 5 basic myths which sometimes prevent the elderly from remaining in the thick of things: age is not hindrance to health, labour productivity of old people is not lower than amongst their younger counterparts, elderly people do not take jobs from young people and early retirement, for them, is a reason for despondency. And the most important thing according to experts is to not over-dramatise the situation. The aging population is not a catastrophe for the country. There are key points and many positives that should be highlighted, especially if the elderly feel more comfortable.
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