“As we get older, our rights do not change. As we get older, we are no less human and should not become invisible,” says Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.
Tutu, now 83, is concerned that national statistics and development policies often ignore the needs and conditions of older people. The United Nations defines this as those over 60 years.
In a message to the Global AgeWatch Index 2015, the champion of human rights and icon of anti-Apartheid struggle adds: “I want to tell the world that I count, that older people everywhere count, and that people of all ages should be included in the Sustainable Development Goals.”
This year’s Global AgeWatch Index is the third in a series prepared by the advocacy group HelpAge International with inputs from scholars and partner organisations. It was released on 9 September 2015.
The report ranks 96 countries according to the social and economic wellbeing of older people. Even though this covers over 90% of the world’s older people, 98 more countries are left out of the Index — because they don’t have enough information specific to this age group.
“Millions of older people are invisible, living their lives in countries where information on the quality of older age is missing from international data sets,” said Toby Porter, Chief Executive of HelpAge International.
The new report has crunched data about 901 million older people, measuring their wellbeing in four key areas: income security, health, personal capability, and whether they live in countries that provide an enabling environment for the aged.
When assessed on all these factors, Switzerland comes on top as the best place for older people to live, closely followed by Norway. The top 10 countries are all in Western Europe or North America, except for Japan (which is No 8).
(This article was originally published in www.kiyanna.lk. That site is now changed to www.ivoice.lk owned by SDJF and supported by UNFPA)