The prospect of an ageing society is a matter of public concern by governments and businesses alike. Prospects of a smaller younger generation tend to cause UK officials to issue dire forecasts of rising costs for the treasury, and a lack of personnel for the workforce. It is hard for society to dismiss such fears, especially given predictions of increasing longevity and contracting birth rates.
These pessimistic expectations, however, fail to acknowledge that this demographic challenge is in fact a golden opportunity to transform an overpopulated society into a sustainable one. To help achieve this, individuals will need to find productive ways to use the extra years of their lifespan.
Our briefing on managing ageing suggests that focusing on the empowerment of women, the elimination of involuntary unemployment and an attitude change regarding retirement age will drastically ameliorate the projected human resource issues. At the same time, longer careers will lead to a GDP increase that will help to lessen the pressures on the treasury. The government’s spending patterns will change, and while expenses will undoubtedly rise in certain areas, they will just as surely drop in others.
We conclude that we should break free from the idea that each generation of elderly people is inevitably identical to its preceding one. Times have changed, and so have circumstances. There is no fixed path, and the flexibility to alter and adapt will allow us to manage our ageing society successfully.