International Experts Explore Benefits of “The Senior Boom” in Helsinki

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne on Tuesday called “healthy aging” to be put at the center of social policies world wide.

Opening the two-day Silver Economy Forum in Helsinki, Rinne said Finland looks forward to a global action plan for healthy lives for everyone. Rinne said that aging population trend will bring together countries, businesses and NGOs.

“Our desire is that aging is taken into account in all societal and business planning,” Rinne said.

He described the Silver Economy Forum as a unique joint effort of political decision-makers, non-governmental organizations and academia. The forum is arranged by the Finnish government and the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA).

Some 600 people from 45 countries are participating. The event in Helsinki claims to be the first global high level forum on aging with special focus on digitization and new technologies.

Specifically concerning Finland, Rinne said the future of the welfare state must be secured by doing things better and more effectively. He admitted there is considerable uncertainty about how age-related public expenditure will evolve.

Rinne noted that during the next 50 years, the size of the labor force in the European Union is projected to fall by almost 10 per cent, even though positive net migration is estimated to be more than one million people annually.

The Finnish prime minister said, though, that the diminishing labor supply could also “act as a spur to boost innovation to achieve even higher levels of wellbeing”.

As part of its current Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Finland stresses the role of the EU in promoting the wellbeing of its citizens. He said Finland wants a new approach on how people’s well being increases productivity and generates economic growth.

The Economy of Wellbeing emphasizes the importance of investment in efficient policy measures. These will ensure access to social protection, to high-quality, affordable and sustainable health and social services, and better labor market policy measures, he elaborated.

Michael W Hodin, the CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, said that governments and businesses alike should combat the assumption that aging populations are drains on society. Instead, old people could become drivers of economic growth.

Rinne said that even though new technology and digitization offer great opportunities, “we must make sure that everyone has access to these new services and that they are easy enough to use”. He said “digital exclusion” is a phenomenon of the modern world, and something that be avoided.

Source: Xinhua Net

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