How other countries adapt to their older adults
8th March 2018
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
The UK is aware of how the population is changing, largely in the average age increasing and has therefore looked into different ways to support and adapt to these alterations especially with specific mobility aids like a specially designed stairlift. However, the UK is not alone and many countries around the world are facing similar challenges. See the different approaches between the selected countries and decide which is best!
This small landlocked country in Western Europe has a population of about 580,000, although it does have one of the highest population growth rates, which is attributed to immigration. Luxembourg City is one of the three official capitals of the European Union and the city is also the seat of the Court of Justice.
It is expected that Luxembourg will experience slightly less of their population ageing, with 29 percent of the population being over 60 in 2015. This is due to the population growth rate. The average life expectancy is 85 and about 18 of the years after 60 are expected to be in good health.
Pensions in Luxembourg have recently been adapted and since 2016, any residents and workers in Luxembourg must pay 24 percent of their gross income to a government pension scheme. For those looking to retire in Luxembourg, there are alternatives in place such as proof of pension contributions in another EU country.
As one of the Scandinavian countries in Northern Europe known for their enormous commitment to their people, Sweden is thought to be one of the best countries to grow old in. Though it has a population of over 10 million, there are a lot of social structures in place to support every aspect of their society.
With an expected 29.5 percent of the society over 60 in 2050, the average life expectancy is 84 and the incredible work ethic and active lifestyle mean the average age of retirement is 65. The real generosity in Sweden is in social care. The public pension scheme consists of three elements- income based pensions, premium pensions and guaranteed pensions, these all add up to one of the most comprehensive pension schemes on the globe. Swedish healthcare is also publically funded allowing everyone access.
In the western corner of Scandinavia, Norway reaches up to Antarctica and is famed for its natural beauty. It is also known for investing in the social infrastructure and adheres to the Nordic Model. 29.5 percent of the population is expected to be over 60 in 2050 and the average life expectancy is 84. After 60, over 18 of those years are expected to be spent in good health.
The average Norwegian retires aged 67 and the comprehensive pension scheme sees 100 percent of the population over 67 receiving a population. The state pension is available to all Norwegian citizens, even those who have never accrued a pension.
All hospitals in Norway are publicly funded, however citizens must pay a fee that offers them an exemption card and allows them free healthcare for the rest of the year. This is around £245 a year.
Switzerland is known for more than chocolate and cuckoo clocks and that is the high standard of living available in the country. With 34.5 percent of the population over 60 in 2050, it has had to find methods for coping with an ageing population.
The life expectancy is quite high, on average people make it to 85 with 19 years after 60 being in good health. The average age of retirement is a pretty standard 65 and the pension scheme is based on three pillars; a state-run scheme, an employer pension scheme and voluntary pensions.
Swiss healthcare is not publically funded, with all citizens buying private healthcare insurance. The insurers are not allowed to make a profit off the basic insurance and this keeps costs low and competitive.
Spain has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in Europe with 41.1 percent of the population over 60 by 2050. Despite this high percentage, Spain does not have the infrastructure in place like other countries. The average life expectancy is 85 and nearly 19 of these years post 60 are expected to be spent in good health. Despite this, the average age of retirement is low at 62 and with a mere 68 percent of the population over 65 receiving a pension.
They do have an innovative approach to housing, however, which is where older adults cohabitate and share the cost of extra help like cleaners or on-call doctors.
As another country with a population that is ageing at speed, 39.3 percent of Germany will be over 60 by 2050. The average life expectancy is a little lower at 84 and only 17.8 years are expected to be spent in good health. Though the average age of retirement is currently 62, 100 percent of residents over the age of 65 are receiving a pension. The pension scheme is based on a three-pillar system similar to Switzerland.
The healthcare is based on earnings and is compulsory for those who earn under a certain amount. Those over the threshold can opt for private healthcare instead.
The USA is the self-proclaimed land of the free and it has a relatively small percentage of the population over 60 in 2050 at 27.9 percent. The average life expectancy is 83 but with 17.5 years after 60 to be in good health. The average North American retires age 63 with 92 percent of those over 65 receiving a pension. It is common to see older adults working to supplement their pensions.
Unfortunately, there is no uniform health care system or universal health care coverage. This leaves a private system and medical insurance is up to the individual’s discretion.
Perceived as the USA’s friendly neighbours, Canada has a higher percentage of the population reaching 60 in 2050 at 32.5 percent. With a higher life expectancy than the USA at 85, they have more years spent in good health (18.3 years) and a lower retirement age of 62.
With 98 percent of the population over 65 covered by a pension scheme and regional healthcare authorities that deliver publicly funded services to their communities, all Canadian residents have access to free healthcare.
Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world and this is only expected to rise with 42.4 percent of the population over 60 in 2050. This coupled with one of the longest life expectancies at 86 with over 20 years in good health expected after the age of 60, leaves Japan at the forefront of countries adapting to their population ageing.
The average age of retirement is 65, though many older adults wish to continue to work past this age. Over 98 percent of the population receive a pension after the age of 65 and the National pension scheme offers a basic pension depending on how long a person has contributed to it.
The healthcare involves compulsory health insurance that an individual pays a monthly premium, however, this only covers 70 percent of the cost, with the rest of the money coming from the individuals pocket.
The Chinese do not enjoy the same longevity as the Japanese with the average life expectancy currently 79 years and 16.8 of the years after 60 spent in good health. Though less of the population will be over 60 in 2050 than their Japanese counterparts, with 36.5 percent of the population being considered older adults, the Chinese need to put strategies in place.
The average retirement age is the lowest of all the countries looked at with many people retiring at 60, and with only 70.6 percent of the population over 65 receiving pensions. The pension scheme has been under reform and currently is a dual track urban system, with a pay as you go system involving individuals to pay 8 percent of their salaries, while employers put in 20 percent. This can be subsisted with voluntary schemes
The healthcare is now universal after years of reform and is broken into townships in rural areas and sub-districts in urban areas so everyone has access to primary care.