A report has found that Australia ranks in the top four G20 countries across a range of indicators for supporting longevity and healthy ageing.

The pre-COVID report Shifting demographics, a global study on creating inclusive environments for ageing populations , by the Economist Intelligence Unit, is based on a global benchmarking analysis looking at health and social care, economic opportunity, and inclusive structures and institutions.

It found Australia leads G20 nations in the Asia Pacific in creating an enabling environment for healthy ageing with an overall score of 75.2 out of 100, ranking second behind the US.

Australia was fourth on the overall G20 ladder for adaptive health and social care systems, accessible economic opportunity and inclusive social structures and institutions.

However Australia had the second highest poverty rate for for people aged 66 and over compared to the total population.

More work to be done

The report found as whole, G20 countries in the Asia Pacific aren’t prepared to support healthy, financially secure, socially connected older people against the backdrop of an ageing population.

The priorities identified in the report are now thrown into sharper light and may serve as a wakeup call for governments across the globe for providing adaptable, accessible and inclusive environments in which populations can age.

Jesse Quigley Jones

It says there is still work to do to shift the focus towards building more welcoming societies and more accessible economic opportunities for ageing populations.

“Despite clear progress made, governments have more work to do to make sure their health systems are adaptive to the needs of older adults as they age, while also fostering inclusion and ensuring individual economic security,” the report says.

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

The report’s editor Jesse Quigley Jones says the challenges that ageing populations present for economies and health systems are well unstood, but providing a supporting environment for older people remains a low priority for governments.

“While policies and plans are in place there’s clearly place for more work to be done,” he told a media briefing.

“No country within the G20 reached the highest score (of 100) so there’s room for improvement across the board.”

He said with older people particularly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 it was more important than ever for older people to lead healthy, independent lives for as long as possible and avoid the need for institutional care.

“While our data were collected pre-pandemic, the priorities identified in the report are now thrown into sharper light and may serve as a wakeup call for governments across the globe for providing adaptable, accessible and inclusive environments in which populations can age,” he said.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US were included in the study.

The research was funded by US biotech company Amgen.

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