Global Aging: Engine for Growth–or Fiscal Nightmare?

Jan. 9, 2013 / By

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Reporting on Health/New America Media, News Analysis, Eileen Beal, Posted: Jan 09, 2013

Photo: Nile Sprague/HelpAge International 

SAN DIEGO–Keeping older people healthy so they can be independent and productive well into their 70s – and even 80s – isn’t just a medical challenge, it’s also an economic challenge, said Michael W. Hodin, executive director of the Global Coalition on Aging at a recent Gerontological Society of America workshop.

Due to the longevity revolution the world is experiencing, it’s a challenge that even developed nations aren’t addressing well.

Take age of retirement here in the United States, for example. Back in the 1930s, United States, still reeling from the Great Depression, created Social Security for older people (at the same time that other developed nations were creating their cradle-to-grave social insurance programs).

Increasing Vitality Beyond 65

Back in 1935, Social Security’s first actuaries calculated when people could begin collecting their government pensions and were surprisingly accurate in estimating the percentage of seniors in today’s American population. But they assumed that by the time people reached 65, they’d only live a few more years. In 2013, though, someone reaching age 65 in the U.S. can expect to live another 17 years on average.

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