Norway – the best place to grow old

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Photo: Marius E. Hauge/MFA Norway.

A new barometer by Columbia University assesses how nations are preparing for ageing populations. The Global Aging Index is composed of various social and economic indicators that reflect the status and well-being of older people in a country. Norway was ranked first, followed by Sweden, the US, the Netherlands and Japan.

The researchers believe that a good society for the elders means that they can contribute, feel safe both financially and safety wise, get adequate healthcare, live in harmony with the younger generations and simply enjoy life. The index therefore included indicators such as productivity and engagement, well-being, equity, cohesion and security.

"Now that previously unimagined numbers of older persons are living longer, it is critical that we shift from our prior sole focus on the characteristics of individuals and their immediate environments to one that includes a strategy for the entire society to successfully adapt to an aging population" said Professor John Rowe, who led the inter-disciplinary team of researchers.

Norway scored 65 out of 100 on the ranking of the country’s status and well-being of their older population. However, Norway is not on the top in all categories. The older population of Norway are less satisfied with life than the inhabitants of Japan, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands. In this category, Norway was on the 7th position. The same goes for the indicator measuring cohesion - whether the elderly have a social network, for example relatives or friends they can count on. By contrast, Norway has the highest level of equality in their population, the economic differences are much less prominent than in many other countries.

As we live longer than before, this presents challenges and opportunities for the society. Norway is proud of the achievements so far, but this is an on-going process and the important efforts to improve the well-being of our elders will continue.

Story sourced from forskning.no and Columbia University.