It is expected that there will be a higher proportion of older people than young people in many countries in the future. Do you think it is a positive or negative development?
Population ageing has emerged as a global phenomenon in the wake of the now virtually universal decline in fertility and increases in life expectancy. Many countries are confronted with new demographic realities that spread from the cities to the villages. In my opinion, more problems than benefits will surface with this trend.
Admittedly, older people often have time to offer for the benefit of family and the community. Nowadays, the young tend to rely on the older generation for household chores. It is also reported that time devoted to voluntary work and care is at its height within the age groups over 55. Such devotion adds greatly to the community well-being, if not to the GDP.
Population ageing, however, brings about serious economic and social problems. When the number of workers decreases, the national income goes down. At the same time, as a persons use of health services increases significantly in the later years of their life, an ageing population causes a relative rise in the public resources required for pensions, health and residential care outlays. Moreover, with an ageing population, the problems associated with the “sandwich generation”, people who have both children and parents to look after, have gained increasing prominence. Members of this “in-between” generation are often torn between the needs of raising children, caring for ageing parents and job responsibilities.
To sum up, population ageing is an inevitable prospect, the negative effects of which outweigh the positive. As ageing is a normal part of lifecycle for human beings, we must recognize its challenges to our life and society, and work on effective strategies to minimize its adverse influences.