Ageing population a time bomb, take urgent action, warns UN report

      The world needs to take urgent action to cope with the impact of a rapidly ageing population, as the number of older than the age of 60 would possibly surpass one billion within a decade, a new United Nations (UN) report has warned. The report warned that the growing numbers of the elderly presented significant challenges to welfare, pension and health care systems in both developing and developed nations.

"We must commit to ending the widespread mismanagement of ageing, and that the vast majority of people will live into old age. By revolutionising our approach and investing in people as they age we can build stronger, wealthier societies," The Telegraph quoted Richard Blewitt, chief executive of HelpAge International, which collaborated on the report, Ageing in the 21st Century, as saying. The report also bemoans the fact that skills and knowledge that older people have acquired are going to waste in societies rather than being used to their full.

According to the paper, calling the ageing demographic a "megatrend that is transforming economies and societies around the world", the report estimated that one in nine people of the world's population of seven million are over 60. The report forecasts that the size of the elderly population is expected to swell by 200 million within 10 years past the one billion mark and soar to two billion by 2050. "The expected growth of the population of older persons should not be an excuse not to act but rather seen as a call to action. A well supported old age is in the interest of all generations," the 192-page report stated.

The report said that the most serious impact of ageing populations would be in developing countries without safety nets or adequate legal protection in place for older people. The also report expressed concern "about the multiple discrimination experienced by older persons, particularly older women, including access to jobs and health care, subjection to abuse, denial of the right to own and inherit property and lack of basic minimum income and social security," the paper said.

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