According to AAL (Ambient Assisted Living) conference programme, in Europe today, the median age of the population of Europe is 40 years old. This will increase to 50 years old by 2050.
Today, 20–64 year olds constitute 64% of the whole population of Europe and over 65 year olds account for 17% of it. Estimates for 2050 suggest that the numbers of 20–64 year olds will decrease to 55%, while the over 65 year olds' numbers will swell by half as much again, to 28%.
These figures are less surprising now, as increasing numbers of pundits and ageing organsiations have cottoned on to what some of us have been saying for a while. What is a little surprising is the enormous buying power of the over 50s age group today – estimated to be approximately half of the whole buying power of the industrialised world.
Assuming that the retirement age is maintained at 65 years, the 4 employees to 1 pensioner ratio will drop to 2 employees to 1 pensioner. No one seems to have any idea of what strategies are needed or might be developed and put in place to cope with this in economic terms.
I've been going on about such things to anyone with the patience to listen for a decade now. What are the changes likely to mean to us? Well, new policies, new regulations, new laws, new tax systems, for a kick-off. But also a change in outlook and attitudes towards age and ageing is vital and we are beginning to see the very early seeds of this now.
Changes to our ethos and attitudes towards our society, our communities and our families are pressing and we need some really new and innovative thinking around these issues as there will be a huge demand for new products and services. Some, and certainly I, might say that this thinking is way overdue.