In a new study that was released in this week’s issue of Science Magazine, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) and Stony Brook University (SBU) propose a new tool to measure the impact of ageing that “take[s] changes in disability status and longevity into account”.  The authors hope that this new tool will help policy-makers better estimate the economic costs of ageing, and to determine a more appropriate retirement age.

According to the researchers, current assessments on the impact of ageing populations are most often “based on United Nations aging forecasts that include the proportion of the population that is 65 years and older, and the “old age dependency ratio” (OADR), which considers the number of people dependent on others when they reach age 65”.  They argue, however, that “many people over 65 are not in need of the care of others, and, on the contrary, may be caregivers themselves”.   As a result, “measures [that] are based on fixed chronological ages, … can generate misleading results”.

If accepted by the academic and policy communities, this new tool may have a profound impact on the way governments and organizations enact policy for the world’s ageing community.  Please share your thoughts with IAHSA on this proposal.

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