Swedes over 60 have better lives than people that age in any other place in the world. Sweden takes first place in a unique international ranking which compares living conditions of older people. October 1 is the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, which was why Help Age International was publishing its very first Global Age Watch Index in Tokyo and Bangkok.
The index compares the quality of life as well as the living conditions of older folks around the world. Comparative statistics have been gathered from some 90 countries, based on 13 parameters. The information comes from several different United Nations’ agencies, as well as the World Bank and the World Health Organization. The report shows Sweden on top, followed by Norway in second and Germany in third place. Though Europe is still the best place to grow old, Canada and the U.S. are also among the ten best countries. South America, Asia and Africa all have much poorer results, but it should be acknowledged that it was difficult to collect some relevant information from many African countries.

economy, health, work, senior-friendly
The 13 parameters have been divided into four main categories dealing with issues such as economy, health, work and education as well as so-called senior-friendly environments. Sweden does not rank highest in any of the main categories but falls high in each of them. When it comes to economy, Luxembourg is on top, whereas Switzerland is first in health, Norway for work and the Netherlands for a senior-friendly environment. The overall favorable total for Sweden is explained by its long history of investing in building a welfare society. For example, it is noted that Sweden was first in the world to introduce a pension scheme. Also, older Swedes have a good opportunity to assert themselves, since many of them are well organized. Half of all those 1.6 million Swedes who are 65 years or older are members of an organization for retired people. ”As a Swede I’m happy for Sweden being on top, and that the living conditions are as good as they are,” says Ola Johansson, from PRO Global, previously known as Pensionärer utan gränser (Senior Without Borders). ”It shows that it’s worth it to invest in a social safety net and to work at fighting poverty.”
More information: Global Age Watch 2013