• Today, 8.5% of people (617 million) worldwide are aged 65 and over.
  • Ageing stands to fundamentally affect how families, societies and economies function.
  • These changes are likely to happen sooner than anticipated and we need to prepare now.

Humanity has long been obsessed with how long they would live. In 1513, the Spanish explorer Ponce de León set out in search of the Fountain of Youth, a fabled wellspring thought to give everlasting life to whoever bathed in or drank from it. American writer Mark Twain noted that “life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18”.

The Fountain of Youth, 1546 painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder
The elusive Fountain of Youth by Lucas Cranach the ElderImage: Wikipedia

Nowadays, it is no longer a fantasy that we can live longer. Life expectancy has nearly doubled in the past 100 years. As we look to the future, older populations are expected to increase globally. Today, 8.5% of people (617 million) worldwide are aged 65 and over. By 2050, this is projected to more than double, and the global population of people aged 80 and older is expected to more than triple.

Have you read?

In industrialized and developing countries, the rate of population ageing stands to fundamentally affect how families, communities, societies, industries and economies function.

The shift portends challenges for individuals and society as a whole. For example, increased rates of non-communicable…

This article was sourced from the World Economic Forum.

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