A few days ago (October 1), marking the International Day of Older People, HelpAge International released the Global Index of Aging. This index, called “AgeWatch,” is the first to measure the quality of life and well-being of older people worldwide.

This study, funded by the United Nations Fund for Population and Development (UNFPA), includes 91 countries and covers 89 percent of the world population. It highlights those countries with policies meeting the needs of its aging population and draws attention to countries where older adults face harsh conditions and detriment to their quality of life.

The study evaluates comparable information available in the 91 countries on four specific aspects considered important for older adults: income status, health status, education and employment, and enabling environment. The study recognizes these as key factors in the lifetime of an individual that affect the welfare of individuals in the final stages of their life. After analyzing the policies and strategies of each of the countries considered, the study establishes an index that shows that older people are faring best in Nordic, Western European, North American, and some East Asian and Latin American countries.

Sweden is at the top of the ranking because of high scores in all four domains. Other countries in the top five of the ranking are Norway (2), Germany (3), the Netherlands (4), and Canada (5). At the other end of the ranking are countries in Africa and East Asia where older people fare less well: Rwanda (87), Jordan (88), Pakistan (89), Tanzania (90) and Afghanistan (91).

United States is in eighth place in the ranking, while Japan is ranked tenth, and the UK is in thirteenth place. In Latin America the best places in the ranking are occupied by Chile (19), followed by Uruguay (23) and Argentina (26).

Silvia Stefanoni, Executive Director of HelpAge Internationalsaid:“The world is rapidly aging: people older than 60 years now outnumber children under five years, and by 2050 they will outnumber children under 15 years. Yet the permanent exclusion of the aging in national and global agendas is one of the biggest obstacles to meeting the needs of older people. This index helps us have a better understanding of the quality of life for people as they age, and leads us to focus on the successes, but especially on what has to improve.”To review details about the issues involved in the analysis, the “report card” and place of your country in the ranking, and comparisons between countries using interesting interactive features, check this link and this link.

source: http://www.digitaljournal.com