AARP released its 2018 Aging Readiness and Competitiveness (ARC) research, which examines how prepared nations are for the challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly aging population. This year, the research examined Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Mauritius, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Taiwan.
Based on global research conducted by FP Analytics, 2018 ARC plays out against a dramatic, global demographic shift already underway. By 2030, there will be nearly one billion people ages 65 and older around the world, a group that between 2015 and 2030 will grow at four times the rate of the overall global population.
The inaugural 2017 ARC report established a baseline understanding of the state of global aging policies, with in-depth assessments of a group of 12 countries that are geographically, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse and that, together, represent 61 percent of the global GDP and nearly half of the world’s population of people ages 65 and older. For the 2018 ARC report, the focus shifted to 10 small economies around the world that are leading their regions in responding to demographic change. As in 2017, countries were assessed on four pillars: 1. Community Social Infrastructure, 2. Productive Opportunity, 3. Technological Engagement and 4. Health Care & Wellness.
Among the notable findings in the 2018 ARC: The World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities initiative has been adopted in seven of the 10 2018 ARC nations with Taiwan most strongly embracing the model and deploying it in more than 20 of the nation’s largest cities.
While providing access to affordable, high-quality health care remains a vexing, much-debated challenge in the U.S., it is cited by the majority (54 percent) of respondents from 2018 ARC nations as the area in which their nation is strongest, with nine of 10 ARC nations (all but Lebanon) having instituted universal health care coverage. Additionally, health care and wellness was cited by 38 percent of respondents as the category that has seen the greatest improvement in their nation over the last three to five years.
As countries increasingly digitize government services, the ARC found that the risk of digital exclusion is only growing, making targeted outreach and training for older adults vitally important.
Despite considerable satisfaction among 2018 ARC respondents with progress made in their nation around the provision of health care, dementia is nearly uniformly seen as a hurdle. With lifespans extending and the prevalence of dementia growing dramatically, all 2018 ARC countries except Lebanon and Mauritius have national plans to manage dementia.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and more than 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org.