These days, you can’t surf the web for long without bumping into some article, study, or set of statistics about aging. The latest one, below, opens with the staggering number of old people currently lumbering around the planet, nearly 900 million of us over 60.
And just wait until 2050, although many of us will be serious compost by then.
For now, though, the article offers a ranking of the best and worst countries to grow old in. This is not the usual collection of best countries to retire in—Ecuador, Belize, Panama, etc.—but to just be old in.
The four factors used in the rankings—each deemed important to a good old age—are:
1. supporting income security;
2. fostering good health;
3. employment and education;
4. and overall environment for older residents (whatever "overall" might mean).
The article ranks 10 each—the best and worst. Not surprisingly, the US is in the 10 best, but more toward the bottom, at #8. Though our life expectancy at 60 is nice and high—we can hope to wring 23 more years out of life—the poverty rate is higher than in some other developed countries. No surprise there.
Our nearest neighbor on the list, Canada, comes in at #4. The good news to the north, per the article, is that “[r]esidents over 50 were also just as likely as younger adults to feel their life was meaningful…” Likely a result of Canada’s not having an equivalent to our extreme celebrity culture, where young women begin to have their faces and boobs re-sculpted once they pass thirty.
The remaining eight countries on the best list shouldn’t surprise anyone, or any of the 10 on the worst. Which is to say that each and every day those of us in the First World, old and young, should get down—way down—on our knees in gratitude.
But especially us oldsters. And especially if once down we can still get up.