Berlin Demography Forum takes place at the Allianz Forum (March 18) and at the ESMT (March 19 and 20)

  • The surprising results of the “Demography-Compass”, presented for the first time at the Berlin Demography-Forum (BDF)
  • 300 international experts from the fields of politics, business, and academia gather at the BDF to discuss the “activity, health, participation” of older people
  • Among the participants: German Minister for the Interior Dr. Thomas de Maizière and Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe

BERLIN, 20-3-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — “Ageing societies can in fact be innovative. A country’s competitiveness can even be positively influenced by ageing. For this reason, we need to do more to reshape the 60+ life phase: important elements here are a more flexible approach to work, entry into retirement and involvement in society”, says Professor Norbert F. Schneider, Director of the German Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB).

This is the core message of the new “Demography Compass”, which BiB developed on behalf of the BDF. According to the data, a new population group is currently emerging in Germany, consisting of highly active older citizens aged between 60 and 79: these agile seniors are healthy, enjoying life, and are set to continue their involvement in society. Many of them are wealthy, active consumers and in this sense are a new source of demand and therefore profit for a number of industries. The population of Germany has aged rapidly over the last few decades, a development that is still to come in many other countries. Germany could therefore use its experience to its advantage, possibly even as an export model.

The academic’s thesis is based on the 18 indicators of the “Demography-Compass”, which will be presented today at the BDF and allows for a differentiated comparison of nine countries for the first time (Germany, Italy, Spain, France, UK, USA, Korea, Japan, China). The indicator ” Share of population between 65-79 years in need of care”, for example, shows that only a small portion of this population requires long-term care, between 3% and 6% depending on the country. The way the respective society deals with voluntary work and social commitment in general is demonstrated by the “Civic involvement of 50 year olds and older“ indicator. For instance, 41% of US citizens aged 50+ are involved in some kind of social work, but only 2% of the Chinese. The BDF booklet (attached) provides a comprehensive overview.

Politics and business: basic conditions must be fulfilled 

The potential of an ageing society is also recognized by policymakers and business representatives, although, in their contributions to the BDF, they also stress the urgent need for new basic conditions. As German Minister for the Interior, Dr. Thomas de Maizière, states: “The aim is to offer every individual the chance to develop their potential and abilities over the course of a long and healthy life, in a way that corresponds to their living situation and age. We will only achieve this if politics, businesses and citizens work hand in hand to develop ways of shaping our lives together in keeping with the demands of demographic change.” Federal Minister for Health, Hermann Gröhe, emphasizes how important it is “that, everywhere in Germany, people in urban and rural regions can continue to rely on a modern healthcare system that works well and is financially feasible in the long-term.”

Dr. Maximilian Zimmerer, member of the Allianz SE Board of Management, highlighted the challenges of demographic aging: “The rapid rise in the number of pensioners and the strong decline in the labor force is placing pay-as-you-go systems under increasing pressure. This includes state pensions, health and long-term care. At the same time, we need to modernize the funded occupational and private pensions systems which are being affected by extremely low interest rates.”

Dr. Mark Speich, managing director of the German Vodafone Foundation, reminds politics and society not forget the young generation when talking about the demographic change: “We can only overcome the challenges posed by demographic change if our young people understand the requirements of the future and can rely on basic conditions that allow their potential to unfold.”

The BDF is taking place at the Allianz Forum (March 18), Pariser Platz 6, and at the ESMT (March 19 and 20), Schlossplatz 1.

You can find further information and the program at www.berlinerdemografieforum.org

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