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Why Our Ageing Population Affects Us All

You may recall that last year the government asked all interested parties to contribute to a report on our ageing population, what was important and what the new strategy for an ageing population should cover. Their recently released summary of submissions highlights the significant themes raise by submitters during the public consultation that occurred between June and August 2018.

The report raised some very interesting statistics in key areas which are revelant to all New Zealanders, regardless of age:

1. Workforce – By 2038 (less than 20 years from now) 1.3 million New Zealanders will be aged 65 years +.  That’s almost double 2018’s figure of 747,900.  What’s more, they are much more likely to remain in the workforce – and to want to continue to work.  Nearly one in four people aged 65+ are currently in some paid employment, with two thirds of this group saying they want to keep working because of the value and satisfaction it brings.

2. Digital – Use of technology among seniors is growing. But while we’re bridging the digital divide for many, some older people may be left behind.  However you may be surprised to know that, to date 90% of people aged 65-74 are online, and so are 75% of people aged 75-84.  Use drops off sharply from here, with half those aged over 85 not using the internet at all.

3. Housing – We need to prepare for an ageing population in this area.  Currently 70% of people aged 65+ own their own home. But home ownership rates among people aged 45 – 64 are dropping, and this will mean more demand for affordable rentals as the next generation of seniors will be less likely to own their own home.

4. Diversity –  Currently there are more than 200 ethnic groups inNew Zealand and collectively, we speak 160 different languages.  Not only is our population getting proportionately older, we are also becoming increasingly diverse.

5. Transport – As our population ages, we will need to be able to get around safely regardless of where we live. Mobility is vital to well-being and to maintain connections in the community.  82% of all New Zealanders’ household travel is by car but as more people remain at work, or choose to live in their home past 65, we’ll see greater demand for safe and accessible transport options.

6. Ageing and Disability – The number of people with a disability is set to rise over the next 20 years.  As our population ages the proportion of people with a disability is increasing, due in large part to age-related impairment.  24% of New Zealanders are disabled, but that rises to nearly 60% for those aged 65+.  Disabled people need housing that is safe, warm and easy to maintain, and they need access to transport and health services.
Click here to read the full report on the Ministry of Social Development website.

 

 

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