31 January 2020 - Newsletter

SAME PHENOMENON, DIFFERENT DECLINATIONS

The internationalization of reflections on old age leads us to identify the points of convergence but also the specificities that we find in certain countries. First overview with three observations.

Europe is inevitably aging … The phenomenon is major on a continental scale and its impact will be massive in the decades to come. The cause is twofold: not only does life expectancy increase significantly, but the birth rate remains at an historically low level. Thus, the demographic structure slides structurally towards an increased aging which becomes a capital society matter as much in the necessary answers as in the financing of the system.

… BUT NOT HOMOGENEOUSLY

If the trend is valid everywhere, its magnitude differs from one place to another. Weaker in Belgium for example (in 2020 people aged 65 and older represent 19% of the population and will represent 26% in 2050), the situation is alarming in countries where the birth rate is low, such as Germany or even more Italy which has a particularly low proportion of young people (in 2020, 13% of the population is 0 – 14 y. old and 64% is 15 – 64 y. old) and a particularly high share of the elderly population (people aged 65 and older will increase from 23% of the population today to 34% in 2050). With fewer caregivers and fewer contributors, caring for the elderly will be an even greater challenge in these countries.

CHINA : ANOTHER CONTINENT, ANOTHER SITUATION

The middle kingdom is a world apart in many ways. Including in terms of aging? Yes and no, because if its demographic evolution is shifted in time compared to the West, the transition takes place in an accelerated way. And gigantism gives the subject a scale with no comparison. Nearly a billion and a half inhabitants, and a population aged 65 or older which should increase from 10% in 2016 to 25% in 2050. Almost 400 million seniors in 2050 in a single country…

A demographic wall for which the country must therefore prepare at high speed, especially since family, with the policy of the single child, will not be able to constitute the main caregivers reserve. Hence, there is an urgent need to benefit from the expertise of hardened professionals of the old age from Europe, while respecting Chinese cultural specificities.

This international newsletter gives us the obvious opportunity to focus every month on these countries – especially those where COLISEE is implanted (Belgium, Spain, Italy, China) – on the specificities of the aging of their population or on their relevant and innovative initiatives.