"By 2050, the number of older persons will be twice the number of children in developed countries, and the number of older persons in developing countries is expected to double. This trend will have profound effects on countries and individuals." ~ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations has designated October 1st International Day of Older Persons. They did this back in 1990 when there weren't so many old people kicking around. Now, world-wide there are about 600 million persons aged 60 years and over. That total will double by 2025 and by 2050 best estimates put the number at two billion, that's a fifth of the world population.
In a first ever index released by Global AgeWatch Index Sweden comes out on top as the best country to be over 60, the United States comes in 8th place. But Sweden has been working on the problem longer, in fact a hundred years to be exact.
When Sweden started a hundred years ago life expectancy was 59 years and retirement age was 67. Now in Sweden one in ten children are expected to live to be 100 years old. The life expectancy today has risen to 81. But it's not going to be a free ride to old age for the Swedes as the Prime Minister contemplates the 'live longer, work longer' approach to aging and under consideration is raising the retirement age to 75.
As the older population increases more and more pressure is put upon the pension and health care systems and it stands to reason the longer that healthy, older members of the population can continue to work, it will lessen the strain on the system.
But the critical component is a 'healthy' aging population. If you are healthy why not continue to work. Many of America's retired senior citizens find themselves as volunteers for a variety of charities and hospitals today. The key will be to stay active and involved, not just whiling away the days sitting on a park bench.