Worldwide Coalition Calls for Action to Transform “Aging Crisis” Into Prosperity

Principles Offer Path for Aging Populations to Become an Economic Growth Driver

NEW YORK CITY (June 15, 2011) – Transforming the worldwide “aging crisis” into an opportunity to drive global economic growth requires a fundamental shift in the policies and priorities of governments, corporations, NGOs, and other stakeholders. Recognizing this shift, the Global Coalition on Aging (Global Coalition) today issued a call to action urging the adoption of the “Global Principles on Population Aging,” representing seven core values to guide the necessary changes businesses, governments, communities, and individuals must undertake to maximize the opportunities of population aging.

“Aging populations brought on by increased longevity are a miraculous achievement of 20th-century medical science, offering societies both challenges and opportunities,” said Linda Fried, Dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “These principles provide a platform to build on those accomplishments – but only if they are embraced and acted upon by corporations, NGO stakeholders, and governments.”

Increased longevity and declines in fertility rates are creating the global shift towards aging societies. The 65 and older population in the G-20 countries is projected to increase by 124 percent between 2000 and 2030. Worldwide, this age group is projected to grow to nearly 2 billion, more than doubling its share of the global population between 1950 and 2050, with annual growth rates of 2.4 percent in developed countries and 3 percent in the developing world between 2000 and 2050.

“This unalterable demographic shift is already challenging our traditional institutions that as designed can only accommodate a fraction of the aging community they now serve,” said Michael Hodin, Executive Director of the Global Coalition on Aging. “These principles – the product of collaboration among our member companies – invite all stakeholders to address the demographic realities of our changing society. It is becoming increasingly clear that the governments, companies, and individuals who take action to turn aging from one characterized by dependence and disability to healthy and active will be the winners of the 21st-century competitiveness race.”

The principles include statements advocating public-private cooperation in the development of solutions, as well as the adoption of a holistic, optimistic view of aging. They represent the Global Coalition’s core focus areas:

  • Technology, innovation, and biomedical research;
  • Health and wellness;
  • Education and work; and
  • Financial security.

“Aging populations represent enormous untapped potential that, if effectively utilized, will help to grow the global economy,” said Baroness Sally Greengross, Member of the UK House of Lords, President of the International Longevity Centre United Kingdom and advisor to the Global Coalition. “The guiding principles provide a comprehensive approach to redefining the role aging populations play in society and ensuring longevity that is happy, healthful, and prosperous.”

The Global Coalition’s principles aim to challenge and provoke corporate and global leaders to rethink and reshape their actions to maximize the potential of population aging. By mid-century, the number of people over the age of 60 will outnumber children for the first time in history, vastly altering business strategies and societal norms.

“The world desperately needs a new mindset to address the challenges of aging populations, and widespread adoption of the principles is a critical first step in reshaping the political debate,” said Richard Blewitt, CEO of HelpAge International. “At a time when governments, businesses and individuals around the world must take action, these principles provide a critical framework and guide. This call to action is necessary for our global community and not, as many often presume, just a concern for the wealthy OECD countries. We are excited to help bring these principles to action.”

Click here to view Global Principles on Population Aging.

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