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AAA™: In the news August 2016

It's been another great month for stories about rethinking how we age. From commitments to building new age-friendly cities, to simply learning how to talk to your family about getting older – we think they are great examples of the progress being made in this diverse world.

City folk
One story that really stood out was this fantastic, in-depth article from the Guardian looking at global examples of cities already addressing the needs of their ageing populations.

'Improving with age? How city design is adapting to older populations', opens with some big statistics; "According to the UN World Population Prospects report… by 2050, for the first time in human history, there will be more over-65s than children under 15. The number of people over 100 will increase by 1,000%."

To help understand how we might address this critical issue, the article explores a number of solutions by looking at a wide cross-section of current and upcoming innovations such as the NHS England-backed pledge to building 10 new age friendly cities.

It concludes that to ensure our homes and cities are fit for ageing citizens, then we as a society must work together while ensuring that generations remain integrated, and not separated - a belief we share and actively promote in our work as the Agile Ageing Alliance and in particular in our work toward helping establish a European Reference Framework for Age-friendly Housing.

A world without retirement?
One country already living with an older population is Japan, leading to this recent article from The Independent 'Japanese may soon need to work until 80 as population ages'.

According to the article, Japan has; "the largest group of people age 65-and-older in the world; numbering more than 33 million, they represent more than a quarter of Japan's population." Which added to the country's low birth rate, means that the number of people of a working age is shrinking.

The article goes on to outline some of the efforts already made to address the issue such as changes to the rules requiring employers to keep on all workers who want to stay until age 65. "Under that system," it says, "most companies basically have workers retire at 60 and return under a "continuous employment" policy at a lower wage."

According to Florian Kohlbacher however, an adjunct professor at Temple University's Tokyo campus and director of the Economist Corporate Network for North Asia; "If you want to tackle this issue, you can't just have people work longer, you need to rethink the whole HR system in Japan."

What this article seems to prove is that Japan may well act as a test bed for how we can recognise, help and remain integrated older members of society, while reinforcing the need for legislation around these changes. We'll keep watching for more developments, but in the meantime why not enjoy some of these images from Japan's 'best new photographers' – all in their 70s.

We need to talk about getting old

An open and honest discussion about ageing isn't just for employers and governments however, as this recent BBC article highlighted after charity Independent Age published a study on attitudes to discussing ageing. It revealed that; "Two out of three adults aged over 65 in the study said they had never talked to their family about the issue. And one in four over-65s said they were not planning to broach the subject at all."

Despite the majority of respondents to the study recognising the need to talk to older relatives about getting older, the reasons they gave for avoiding doing so were they "didn't want to face up to the issue, didn't know how to start the conversation or didn't want to upset their relatives."

To help address the issue, the charity launched a new online guide to help families to broach the subject, and as Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, said: "These are issues that only get more pressing with time. It is vital that families start talking about these issues now, so they're not left making important decisions at times of crisis or suddenly struggling to cope with significant caring responsibilities."

We love finding and sharing vital and compelling and vital stories like these, and are proud to be part of finding solutions and opportunities for all in the challenges our ageing society presents. If you want to join the growing conversation around this, then why not join the Agile Ageing Alliance LinkedIn group and see what else is happening in this exciting and dynamic world!

Until next month.

Agile Ageing Alliance: 'Connecting digital and social innovators in an ageing society'

info@agileageing.com / @AgileAgeing / #AgileAgeingRoadshow

Image used with permission.