Ageing Populations by rgamesby
|Think about it|
|Many countries across the world
have what is known as an ageing population. This involves an
increase in the median age of the population, an increasing proportion
of people living to old age (and in many cases extreme old age above 85
years), increasing life expectancies and decreasing numbers of children
as a proportion of the population
Source: guardian.co.uk, click on the image for full size
This ageing process is becoming common in many MEDC, with countries such as Japan, the UK, France and Germany having to deal with the social, economic and political consequences of this phenomenon.
People are living longer because they have had more wealth than ever before, have had better more varied and reliable diets, medical care has improved and medicines have become more advanced.
Of course, the consequences of this can be both positive and negative for a country.
|Use this excel file to
draw a divided bar graph showing the change in the UK's population over 50.
Analyse the results - what does the graph show and what consequences does this have for the UK?
Try the dustbin game at the base of the page
|People are living longer and enjoying longer
fuller, healthier lives - this is a massive benefit.
Older people could be given the choice to work longer. They could then use the benefit of their experience and knowledge to fully benefit society. For far too long older people have been undervalued in modern society.
Younger retired people contribute lots to the economy. They have reasonable amounts of money and lots of leisure time hence are good consumers. We have already seen the rise of the "silver surfer", older people who surf the internet!
Many retired people do voluntary work in schools and for charities that is essential work but done for FREE.
Many retired grandparents are now fulfilling child care roles for their grandchildren as the cost of child care rises. This vital role unifies the extended family and allows parents to work and contribute to the economy.
|The increasing number of very old people has
put a strain on healthcare services and social care services. Very
old people have particular needs (e.g. decreasing mobility, loss of eye
sight etc.) that mean they need other people to do things for them.
Health care is in ever increasing demand in the UK and it is proven that the elderly visit their doctor more often and have more home visits. They also occupy hospital beds for longer. The government of a country has to find money to pay for this care.
Many countries face a pensions crisis whereby there is not enough money to cover the increasing pension demands of a population. In the UK the wages of the current generation pay the pensions of today's OAPs, but with decreasing numbers of young and working age and increasing numbers of elderly it will become more and more expensive to pay for this. Already the UK government has brought women's pensionable age in line with men's at 65, and this will rise to 67 over time. This is directly related to a countries dependency ratio.
The bill for social care is also increasing as the elderly often need care for feeding, bathing, collecting vital items etc.
Maintaining a dignified quality of life for our elderly is also a big moral issue.
Less people of working age means a lower number of workers so the economy shrinks and the Tax base of the country also shrinks.
To what extent do the UK and Newcastle fit the model for ageing populations?