The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), was created in May 1961 to provide tools and guidance to its members-states to stimulate world economic progress and trade. Over the years, the Organization has grown to include 34 of the most industrialized states and has been seen as both navigator and pilot of fundamental economic changes.  Coinciding with its 50th anniversary, the Organization published a report earlier this week which highlights that, to ensure continued economic growth,  member-states must tackle the challenges of elder care.

According to the report’s findings, “spending on long-term care in OECD countries is set to double, even triple, by 2050.”  This rise will be driven by ageing populations around the world (see graph below).  As a result, the OECD calls on its members to take steps to ensure that elder care is provided with increasing quality and at lower costs.  OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría says: “[w]ith costs rising fast, countries must get better value for money from their spending on long-term care.”  He adds: “[t]he piecemeal policies in place in many countries must be overhauled in order to boost productivity and support family carers who are the backbone of long-term care systems.”

% of population over 80 years old, from OECD

The report also finds  that, as they are today, elder care costs can be unaffordable, even for “relatively wealthy people,” for whom “average long-term care expenditure can represent as much as 60% of disposable income.” It thus concludes that, as they enact reforms, “[c]ountries have to spread the burden of [the] high costs [of elder care], either by targeting universal benefits to those most in need of care or via public-private partnerships.”  To achieve this, the Organization explores a number of policy solutions including: improving pay and working conditions of the long-term care workforce, attracting more migrants, providing a basic ‘universal floor’ of financial help for elders,  supporting family members who are carers, and private insurance schemes.

Take a few minutes to read these great summaries of the report by CityWire and the OECD, and share your thoughts with IAHSA.  What steps is your country taking to meet this challenge?

Full report available here.

For more information:

BBC News



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