Een nieuw leven voor ouderen

ZÜRICH – Velen van ons hebben onze ouders en grootouders hun onafhankelijkheid zien verliezen. In 2012 kregen meer dan 2,4 miljoen Amerikanen boven de 65 jaar spoedeisende hulp alleen al door valverwondingen. Met bevolkingen die overal ter wereld snel vergrijzen groeit de schaal van dit soort uitdagingen exponentieel, en dit heeft niet alleen invloed op de gezondheidszorg, maar ook op economieën, overheidsbeleid en, natuurlijk, families.

De Verenigde Naties schat dat het aantal mensen dat zestig jaar of ouder is tegen het midden van deze eeuw verdubbeld zal zijn, waarbij er voor het eerst in de geschiedenis meer mensen boven de 65 zullen zijn dan kinderen beneden de vijf. De verklaring voor deze demografische trend is helder: de vruchtbaarheidscijfers zijn wereldwijd sterk gedaald, van gemiddeld vijf kinderen per vrouw in 1950-1955 tot 2,5 kind in 2010-2015.

Natuurlijk moeten ouder wordende burgers niet alleen maar als een economische last worden gezien. Ze kunnen zelfs een rol spelen als actieve consumenten; een potentieel dat veel industrieën al hebben herkend en zijn begonnen af te tappen. Volgens de Bank of America Merrill Lynch zijn mensen van boven de 50 verantwoordelijk voor meer dan 60% van alle consumentenuitgaven in de Verenigde Staten.

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