Press release: <br>Governments across the world should engage more with ageing to make the most of the benefits longevity can yield

Nov 30, 2018 | NEWS

Press release
For release: 29 November 2018, 00:01am

  • Co-president of ILC Global Alliance, Alexandre Kalache argues: “Inequalities kill and lead to premature ageing”
  • Norwegian Minister for the Elderly and Public Health Åse Michaelsen to pledge: “One of our main goals must be to create an age-friendly society”
  • ILC and Age International urge governments to make population ageing a public policy priority

A group of global experts on ageing will today urge governments across the world to engage better with demographic change.

Speaking at the ILC Future of Ageing conference, Norwegian Minister for the Elderly and Public Health, Åse Michaelsen will highlight that longevity not only poses a global challenge but can also offer a global opportunity.

In a video presentation to the conference, UK Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt MP will say that older people in poor countries are too often left behind in development work, and that the Department for International Development is making it a priority to continue working with the international community to ensure that no one is left behind.

ILC research has revealed that an ageing society need not be a drain on economic growth, revealing that with rising life expectancy, output per hour worked, per worker and per capita increases, raising workforce productivity.

However, further ILC research has highlighted that governments are not doing enough to make the most of the longevity dividend. ILC analysis showed that in the UK alone, more than a million people aged between 50 and state pension age leave the workforce involuntarily, as a result of age-related bias and poor understanding among employers of the needs of older workers.

Research commissioned by Age International identifies that increasing numbers of older women and men are having to work. The research also points out that older women are doing a disproportionate share of the work when unpaid domestic and care work are taken into account. This unpaid work is often overlooked, undervalued and unsupported but is hugely important in sustaining families, communities and economies. 

Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt MP will say:

“Around the world, people are living longer – and this should be celebrated. But too often, older people in poor countries are being left behind in development work. We will continue working with the international community to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Co-president of the ILC Global Alliance and president of ILC Brazil., Alexandre Kalache argues:

“Inequalities are on the increase. In some countries, over the last three or four years, life expectancy at birth has been decreasing, thus reversing secular trends. This is particularly worrying in developing countries where the rich are living longer, while the poor are not necessarily doing so. Inequalities kill and lead to premature ageing: those at the bottom of the socio-economic scale are experiencing chronic diseases twenty, thirty years before their more privileged peers. The implications for their families can be catastrophic in the absence of community care services to support them.”

Chris Roles, Managing Director of Age International comments:

 “As life expectancy around the world rises, it is increasingly important that older women and men are given the support and respect they deserve. In developing countries and wealthier countries alike, older people could face a challenging future of age discrimination, poor health, poverty and inequality without appropriate government policies.”

“Today’s conference is a valuable opportunity for government, policy makers and NGOs to recognise the contributions older people make in society and ensure they are given the support they need.”

Norwegian Minister for the Elderly and Public Health, Åse Michaelsen will argue:

“Some people talk about the ageing population in Europe as a grey wave heading our way. But the increase in senior citizens represents new opportunities. Older people are an asset, not a drain. They are valuable contributors in every society. One of our main goals must therefore be to create an age-friendly society”

Chief Executive of the ILC-UK, Baroness Sally Greengross OBE concludes:

“Not enough is being done to recognise the valuable impact older people have and can have on society. Growing inequalities between and within nations are leading to unequal health and welfare outcomes. There should be more support for older people in place globally, including improved and fairer access to healthcare, opportunities for flexible working and lifelong learning to allow all members of the global community to make the most of the benefits longevity can yield.”

About the ILC

The ILC is the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, and what happens next.
We believe society has to adapt now so we can all enjoy the benefits of longevity.
We want a society that works for everyone, regardless of their age.
We know the numbers. We know the challenges. What happens next will define us for generations.

About Age International

Age International is a charity focusing on older people in developing countries. It is a subsidiary charity of Age UK, a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and the UK member of the global HelpAge network.

Age International raises funds in the UK to support the relief and development work of HelpAge in over 30 developing countries. It also raises awareness in the UK about the needs of older people in developing countries. And it engages in influencing and campaigning work in the UK to change policies and approaches towards older people. For further information, please visit our website www.ageinternational.org.uk.

Contact

Lily Parsey, ILC-UK lilyparsey@ilcuk.org.uk +44 207 3400440

Notes

ILC international analysis on life expectancy and productivity:
Towards a Longevity Dividend

ILC analysis on early exits from the workforce:
The Missing Million: Recommendations for Action

Download a copy of Age International’s ‘Who Cares? Why older women’s economic empowerment matters for the Sustainable Development Goals’ .