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Our world is about to be turned upside down. In less than three years, the number of people 65 and older will outnumber children under 5. Is the world ready for an aging population?
AARP has been on a mission to change the conversation about growing older. We're working to get rid of the outdated beliefs and stereotypes about aging and spark new solutions so more of us can choose how we want to live as we age — what I call "disrupt aging."
Around the world, countries are preparing to meet this change. Technology continues to advance, driving entrepreneurs and innovators to create products and services to help older people live and age well.
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We recently teamed with FP Analytics to take an in-depth look at how 12 countries are adapting their societies to an aging population.
The resulting "Aging Readiness and Competitiveness Report" identified creative programs to promote volunteerism and entrepreneurship, lifelong learning in finance and technology, support for caregivers and intergenerational communities. The above chart shows some examples.
These innovations demonstrate that when we adapt to our aging population, all members of society benefit. The challenge is to take advantage of the information, research and knowledge we have to create policies and programs that will help us live well every day.
In Canada an initiative called Connecting Older Adults With Mobile Technology ensures that older people can use technologies such as tablets, mobile phones, Skype, Microsoft Office and Facebook.
In the United Kingdom, the New Enterprise Allowance program helps unemployed, low-income or disabled individuals start their own business by matching applicants with a business mentor.
Turkey's Caregiver Service program subsidizes caregiving for low-income older adults by compensating family members for the cost associated with leaving a job to care for an aging relative.
In Brazil the Financial Education to Older Adults program is aimed at helping older adults whose financial literacy has not kept pace with Brazil's rapid expansion of credit and access to finance.
Israel's intergenerational program Here We Live is connecting old and young people by matching college students with older adults who live independently and have a spare bedroom.
China's Silver Age Action Initiative taps into the knowledge and experience of retired professionals to advance economic and social development in regions of the country that are less developed.
Go to aarpinternational.org/arc to read the full "Aging Readiness and Competitiveness Report."
Jo Ann Jenkins is CEO of AARP.
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