Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Addresses Aging During 50th Anniversary Conference

Global Coalition on Aging Presents Keynote Address on Aging, Health and Innovation

PARIS, FRANCE (June 22, 2011) – Today the Global Coalition on Aging in partnership with the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), took a leading role in addressing the critical issue of aging populations in the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). During today’s OECD Conference on Health Reform, Michael Hodin, Executive Director of the Global Coalition discussed the impact of aging on OECD nations and cited examples of policy reforms and innovative business solutions to promote healthy and active aging in OECD countries.

A paper titled, “Ageing, Health and Innovation: Policy Reforms to Facilitate Healthy and Active Ageing in OECD Countries,” authored by Rebecca Taylor, Senior Researcher for the ILC-UK, reports, “A larger older population and a comparatively smaller working age population can put a strain on publicly funded health and social services including healthcare, social care, and pensions, which demands a policy response from OECD governments.” The ILC-UK is led by Baroness Sally Greengross, one of the leading and innovative voices on population aging in the UK and across all OECD countries.

The increase in life expectancy combined with the decline in fertility rates is leading to a dramatic shift in the size of the working population requiring OECD nations to find and adapt innovative solutions beyond reducing benefits and increasing taxes and social security contributions. For instance, in the EU it is predicted that the working population could decline from 277 million in 2005 to 183 million in 2040. This societal shift is demonstrated in the OECD dependency ratio (the ratio of working-age people to people of non-working age), which will fall on average from 7.21 in 1950 to 3.34 in 2020 to 2.08 in 2050.

“OECD nations should look at the rise in aging populations as a means for opportunity and wealth creation, rather than one of disability and dependence. By viewing aging with a life-course approach in which all members of society contribute throughout their lives and older people are a source of knowledge and experience, these countries will position themselves to make the most of the gift that 20th-century longevity has bestowed on us and be the winners of the 21st-century competitiveness race,” said Hodin.

The paper also highlights some of the most exciting innovative policies and market solutions that are being deployed across OECD nations to keep people healthier longer and out of hospitals and in their communities. New policies that consider aging holistically will mitigate the strain that demographic change might have on OECD nations and ensure that older people are active and productive – whether as workers, consumers, volunteers, or caregivers.

OECD nations include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.

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