Global Aging A Call To Action That Must Be Heard Around World

“[T]he vast majority of developing countries are seeing their populations age just as America’s is, but their rate of change is often even faster,” John Feather, CEO of Grantmakers In Aging, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Post50” blog, and provides statistics from various countries. “We in the U.S. often wring our hands about the ‘silver tsunami’ that will overwhelm us because the population over 65 will increase by 100 percent before 2040,” he states, and continues, “But now consider Singapore, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Egypt, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Kenya, the Philippines and Morocco …, the countries that will see the greatest change during that period” with “an increase in their older populations of more than 250 percent.”

“While some see this as a problem, Dr. John Beard, director of the [WHO’s] Department of Aging and Life Course, argues that it is a success story and a cause for celebration,” Feather notes. “So, what can we learn from the experience of other countries, and what do we have to teach?” he asks, and discusses the issues of “[w]ell-established networks of services,” a “[f]ocus on chronic rather than acute health care,” “[c]hanging family structures and long-distance caregiving,” and “[g]rowing old alone.” He concludes, “Aging presents formidable challenges” and “is a call to action we need to hear around the world” (6/24).