The way we treat our elderly is a reflection of the state of our society. With people living longer than ever before, social and economic measurements for people over 60 are needed to not only gauge this (so that their potential can be fulfilled) but also to help those planning for retirement.
There have been many indexes aiming at localities but they fail to provide an understanding and comparison within a larger framework. Enter the Global AgeWatch Index 2013 which collects data under the 4 categories of Income Status, Health Status, Education and Employment, and Enabling Environment.
The Global AgeWatch Index provides the following definitions:
The aim of the Index is both to capture the multidimensional nature of the quality of life and wellbeing of older people, and to provide a means by which to measure performance and promote improvements. We have chosen 13 different indicators for the four key domains where there is internationally comparable data:
Domain 1: Income Security
Income security describes access to a sufficient amount of income, and the capacity to use it independently, in order to meet basic needs in older age.
Domain 2: Health Status
Advancing age is linked to physical frailty and is also closely associated with risk of the onset of ill-health and disability.
Domain 3: Employment and Education
This domain describes elements of the coping capacity and capability attributes of older people.
Domain 4: Enabling Environment
Older people want to have the freedom of choice
to live independent and self-reliant lives.
Data has so far been collected on “91 countries that include 89 per cent of the world’s population aged 60 and over.” Important to note that the current data excludes most countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Some results are fairly predictable but there are also fascinating countries bucking the trend which makes it important to discover what they are doing better than their neighbours.
The top 3 are Sweden (1), Norway (2) and Germany (3). The bottom 3 are Pakistan (8.3), Tanzania (4.6) and Afghanistan (3.3.). Interesting positions are Chile (19), Uruguay (23), Argentina (26), Costa Rica (28) and Panama (30).
South Africa stands at #65, in between Serbia (64) and Ukraine (66). With a value (sum of the 4 categories) of 39.9, the quality of life for South Africa’s elderly is considerably lower than the ranking suggests e.g. Sweden 89.9, Uruguay 67.6 and India 35.