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UK ranked tenth-best place to grow old

Age International have released the results of the third annual Global AgeWatch Index, which ranks the quality of life of older people around the world.

This year the UK is ranked 10th, one place up from last year, while Switzerland moved into the top spot ahead of last year’s number one, Norway. The index looks at a variety of factors that affect wellbeing in old age, including social environment, income security, health, education and employment opportunities. The UK performed poorly in the health category, ranking 27th overall, highlighting the need to make national improvements in this area.

Switzerland, as top-ranked nation, has a range of policies in place to support its aging population – nearly a quarter (24%) of the population are aged 60 or above but it has met their needs well. Meanwhile, Afghanistan, who came last for the third year running, does very little to support people over 60.

At present, 12.3% of the total worldwide population is over 60, a figure that is expected to grow to 21.5% by 2015. Chris Roles, Director of Age International, said: “The Global AgeWatch Index allows us to focus much-needed attention on the importance of responding to the rapidly growing numbers and proportion of older people in the world. These goals provide an excellent opportunity for governments around the world to think ahead and make the commitments that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of those in later life.”

Fiona Lowry, CEO of the Good Care Group, added: “With the growing older population, the UK needs to continue to improve healthcare provisions for older people. We passionately believe that people should enjoy a high quality of life into old age, which is why we train our experienced carers and design our live-in support to help people around the UK live well for longer – providing choice, dignity and independence, in their own homes.”