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Germany and Switzerland amongst best countries to grow old in according to study

New research has revealed that nearly all of the best places to grow old in involve a cooler climate with north European countries and Canada topping the poll. 

The Agewatch Global Index threw up some surprising results, with neither the UK nor the US making the top five.

Who came first?

The study from Global Agewatch ranked 91 countries from around the world, assessing four different types of criteria: health status, employment and education, enabling and income security.

According to the boffins, the country which offers the most to its pensioners is Sweden. It's focus on self-reliance for the elderly, high income and pension rates, and overall quality of life left the Swedish feeling very pleased with themselves.

Its north European neighbours also fared particularly well with Nordic nations taking up three of the top five spots. After Sweden, Norway came in second place whilst Germany secured the final podium position. Completing the top five was the Netherlands and Canada, just pipping Switzerland to the post.

Germany Hamburg

Germany was one of the only countries to rival Sweden in its quality of care for pensioners and scored highly in all four areas. Switzerland was another country to excel in one particular region, scoring top in health status whilst Norway came first in the area of employment and education.

New Zealand, the US, Iceland and Japan made up the rest of the top 10 whilst Pakistan, Tanzania and Afghanistan took up the bottom three slots. The UK came in at 13th place.

The purpose of the study

Although often used as a bit of light-hearted fun, the Agewatch Index actually plays a very important role.

With birth rates around the world dropping and life expectancy increasing, there are more and more senior citizens in every country. In many cases the infrastructure is not in place and with an increased burden, many nations are not yet ready to cope with higher numbers of OAPs.

In 2012, 11% of the world's population was aged over 60, a total of 809 million people. This is expected to continue to rise incrementally, reaching 16%, 1375 million by 2030 and 22% of the global total population, or 2031 million, by the year 2050.

Global Agewatch aims to offer guidance and advice to those countries where help is needed to improve the wellbeing of their older generation to ensure they are better equipped for the future.

How the criteria were used

The study was developed with the individual in mind, with the intention that the person would be put at the centre of economic development going forward.


Sweden, a great place to live in your old age

Income security was defined as not only having a satisfactory level of income but also the chance to exercise monetary freedom and enjoy independent financial power. Health status includes not just the general wellbeing of older individuals but also the risks of developing disability or suffering ill-health.

The criteria around enabling considered how easy it was for older people to be able to enjoy self-reliance, including factors such as transportation. Employment and education assessed the opportunities for senior citizens and their capabilities.

These four main areas were broken down further, with a total of 13 overall indicators used to tot up the final score. Factors such as civic freedom, age expectancy for the over 60s, physical safety and poverty rates were all taken into account.

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