Follow active-ageing to save and serve elderly talent

SHINE
The change in the population structure, caused by the increasing proportion of the elderly, with no doubt, will bring about huge influence to the economy.
SHINE


It is estimated that, in Japan the percentage of the elderly population aged 65 and above will increase from 23 percent in 2010 to nearly 40 percent in 2050; the same goes in the European Union that the percentage will rise from 17 percent to 30 percent in 2060.

Such change in the population structure, caused by the increasing proportion of the elderly, with no doubt, will bring about huge influence to the economy.

In both Japan and EU, a topic of “how the elderly, often seen as the non-productive population, can contribute to society” has been heatedly discussed. In this sense, the elderly population should not simply be treated as a burden of society, but need to be redefined as valuable assets to the nation and its society.

Therefore, challenges of propelling healthy ageing, like providing more diversified social activities to the elderly and establishing a system that help the elderly achieve economic independence, will attract much attention in the near future.

In Shanghai, by the end of year 2016, nearly 20 percent of the population is aged 60 and above, which is around the same level with Tokyo 10 years ago. Accordingly, Shanghai is faced with the similar challenge of an ageing society, like Japan and EU.

Firstly, in Japan, especially in Tokyo, the share of elderly population in the cities has been climbing. Thus the government has to keep raising fiscal expenditures on medical treatment and health care, and make vast investments in social infrastructure and services to meet the needs of an ageing society.

It is estimated by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare that if the number of the elderly demanding nursing care of level 2 and above would be reduced by 10 percent between 2011 and 2020, then as much as 2.5 trillion Japanese yen (US$22.9 billion) of public expenditure on medical treatment and health care would be saved, and up to 5.3 trillion yen of the expenditure would be spared in total.

Secondly, Shanghai needs to start take measures in dealing with its ageing society as early as possible by estimating the economic influences as well as building an enabling society for the elderly to contribute, so as to transform the elderly from the burden to the booster of society.

Shanghai should set its goal of building a world leading “Active-Ageing” society where the elderly become a dynamic group in the society and accelerate the process of policy making and planning as well as its execution. Shanghai could obtain experiences and lessons from cities with a higher proportion of elderly population, like Tokyo, so as to facilitate a society with adequate infrastructures and services where “healthy ageing” becomes possible.

Finally, we put forward a proposal of the construction of an “Active-Ageing” platform, which mainly targets at stirring the potential of the elderly and enriching the aid-the-elderly social services carried out continuously by the Shanghai municipal government.

With the help of this platform, the elderly can not only participate in daily activities, like healthy, social, and educational activities, but also, discover a new sense of self-worth to satisfy their mental needs at the same time.

For instance, the elderly who prefer working would be offered with employment guidance. Besides, some new services and new experiences will be provided to tighten the connection between the elderly and the society.

It is hoped that all possible resources from the government, enterprises, and citizens can be put together to build the platform following the “13th Five-Year Plan” of Undertaking of the Elderly in Shanghai.

It is also advisable that the “Active-Ageing” platform be connected to the existing “Citizen Cloud” to raise awareness of it, thus becoming a significant component of the building of smart city.

In the end, we hope that this proposal combined with experiences of the Japanese society would offer reference to Shanghai, which aims to become a global city of excellence.




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