Last year, for the first time, there were more people on this planet over age fifty than under age five. According to the World Health Organization, between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over sixty years old will nearly double from 12% to 22%.
Birth rates have fallen because people no longer need to have a lot of kids to have a few survive. And the cost of raising even a few is daunting. On the other end of life, people are living longer which is mostly a good thing but it leaves us with more old folks.
At a recent symposium on “Preparing Health Systems for an Aging Global Population”, we heard some frightening statistics about a future with an increasing number of people suffering from dementia and other diseases of the aging, accompanied by a declining number of young people to look after them.
We have to prepare to meet the housing and healthcare needs of the old without depleting the resources we need to meet the needs of the young.
And we’re not going to get that done that if we don’t work on it.