The Need For Societies To Prepare For An Aging Boom.

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Rather than the aging boom placing a huge burden on the younger generation, this population brings an ability to transform economies and societies across the world on many different levels. Extended longevity is an opportunity for individuals at every age when they are in good health and living in environments shaped for this new aging demographic, to rethink the ways in which they want to live their longer lives. It also represents a group with increasing economic weight that can provide a “longevity dividend” for future generations.

In the U.S. volunteering and informal care giving contributes an estimated $162 billion to the economy, in South Africa 40% of children are cared for by their grandparents, and employer surveys commonly reveal that workers over 60 are seen as more experienced, knowledgeable, reliable, and loyal than younger employees

While this is good news, N4A and a variety of local government interest groups conducted a survey of 10,000 U.S. cities and counties in 2011, finding that less than half of them had even begun planning for an aging population. With use of transportation by the older generation on the increase (40% by 2010), and a rising housing cost burden (that points to an emerging scenario in which owning or keeping your own home will not be likely), there is an urgent need to create new civic models for the elderly. Many of this new (largest) generation will continue to work past the traditional retirement age and expect to pursue an active lifestyle, making catering to their needs a necessity.

“In designing the organizations of the future, the private sector — with appropriate public-policy support — should anticipate, rather than passively await, this trend toward longer lifespans and older employees. While some adaptations lie on the more distant horizon, others can be undertaken right now, to the benefit of both younger and older employees — and of the company itself.”—David Bloom, HBR

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