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Best Countries To Grow Old In

It is going to happen to all of us – we are going to grow old!

And with many people upping sticks and deciding there are better places to move to once they retire, a recent report on the quality of life for the over 60s in nearly 100 countries around the world makes really interesting reading.

In fact, according to HelpAge International’s Global AgeWatch Index, growing old in the UK isn’t too bad after all.

We are just out of the top ten at number 11, surprisingly one point behind Denmark recognised for its orderly happy society and two points behind Australia, a magnet for many retired people who dream of spending their older lives in sunny beachside communities. Spain, another retirement hotspot, was ranked 21st.

The research was done alongside their reports that predict that by 2050, 21% of the world’s population will be over 60.

The index was based on four key areas – income security, health, personal capability and an “enabling“ environment.

Australia, which can offer so much, lost quite a few points because it ranked 61st in its region for income security, measuring older people’s access to money and their capacity to spend it independently. Their pension coverage of 83 per cent and welfare rates of 65 per were both below average.


Norway – the best place for people over 60.

At the top end of the scale, Norway was definitely the best place to spend one’s later years. This is because it offers a generous oil-funded pension scheme, good employment opportunities for the over 60s and a well funded health system. It also has a National Council for Senior Citizens which gives a political voice for older people.

The top ten countries to grow old in, apart from Japan and New Zealand, were all in Western Europe or North America:

  1. Norway
  2. Sweden
  3. Switzerland
  4. Canada
  5. Germany
  6. Netherlands
  7. Iceland
  8. United States
  9. Japan
  10. New Zealand
  11. United Kingdom
  12. Denmark

In the mid range several Latin American countries have scored much more highly than in past similar surveys, especially due to new commitments in ensuring social pensions for the poorest older people – tax financed non contributory pensions that ensure a basic income for everyone. In Mexico, for instance, eight out of 10 people aged over 65 receive a social pension.

African countries scored badly because of low income security and poor health results but the very worst country to grow old in was Afghanistan, ranked low in all areas and coming in at number 96.

Not all countries were included as data for nations such as Cuba, Oman. Egypt and Madagascar were unavailable. Obviously there are many individual personal factors and other aspects that affect what is right for individuals, but as an overall picture of the world’s ageing population, this was indeed an interesting survey.


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