19th Oct 2021

Northern Europe best region in the world for elderly

  • Sweden is the best country in the world for elderly people (Photo: Barbro Björnemalm)

Sweden, Norway and Germany are the best places in the world for elderly people when it comes to healthcare, pensions and an environment allowing them to still be active, according to Global Age Watch a first-ever study compiled by the United Nations and published Tuesday (1 October).

At the other end of the scale are Montenegro, Moldova and Russia - ranking poorly among the 91 countries surveyed.

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Within the EU, the worst country is Poland, ranking 62 in the world, below its Baltic neighbours or Albania.

The study shows that while pensions are high and old age poverty low, Poland scores badly in the healthcare domain and only averagely on employment, education and an enabling environment.

The study warns that by 2050, Poland's older population will make up over 35 percent of the total.

The same warning goes for Europe as a whole. Among all regions in the world, Europe has the highest proportion of people over 60 years of age (22%).

And as governments in Europe are slashing budgets and the economy is stagnant, standards of living are dropping, particularly in southern countries like Greece and Cyprus.

"In Greece, this is due not to its income security ranking, but to older people’s limited sense of individual security and civic freedoms," the report says.

"Cyprus does comparatively better with respect to health status indicators and in terms of its enabling environment, whereas Greece scores better than Cyprus with respect to the income security of its current generation of older people," it adds.

By 2050, southern European countries are projected to have the highest share of older people (38%), followed by western Europe (34%), eastern Europe (33%) and northern countries (30%).

"Current austerity programmes mean that, although pensions have been maintained, many other cuts have contributed to rising poverty and fewer services for older people," the study notes.

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