When it comes to the quality of life and wellbeing of older people, the UK doesn’t even make it into the top 10 countries in the world.
The alarming statistic from the Global Age Watch Index comes as the International Day of Older Persons is observed worldwide.
Established by the United Nations in 1990, the annual October 1 holiday celebrates the contributions that the older generation makes to society.
But in the UK it appears the wellbeing of older people is somewhat neglected, with the country placed 13th in the global index.
The UK finished behind Ireland in 12th but ahead of France, which was 18th, and Australia in 14th.
Sweden came top, while Afghanistan was last. And several major European countries failed to make the top 20 including Italy in 27th, Belgium in 24th and Spain in 22nd.
‘The Global AgeWatch Index is the beginning of a process in which we are gathering all the available evidence of the lives of older people around the world,’ said Professor Asghar Zaidi, a consultant for the project commissioned by HelpAge International.
‘It follows the footsteps of the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and presents, in an accessible and engaging way, a ‘dashboard’ of indicators that measure the multidimensional quality of life and wellbeing of older people in a range of different socio-economic contexts.’
The number of older people in the world will have risen to more than two billion by 2050, placing a greater strain on the care system.
Experts claim the global index is essential to developing new ways to tackle the challenge of population ageing and to enable older people to have a voice.
The latest reports suggests that the figures could allow the older generation to more effectively lobby their governments and hold them to account over policies.
The top 10 countries were:
7. New Zealand