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In almost every country in the world, average ages are rising fast, putting pressure on city councils, health-care systems, and national economies. And the solution may be the empowerment of older people themselves.
Though their numbers are increasing and their voting bloc powerful, elderly Russians generally lack either the savings or sufficient government pension to finance a comfortable retirement.
Studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness among the elderly are killers; contact with younger people is good for their health. As a result, intergenerational living is catching on around the world.
As Ethiopia has begun to age, its traditional end-of-life insurance groups are adopting a new purpose: helping elderly residents live their daily lives when they no longer have family members nearby.
Grandparents are such an important source of child care and knowledge, that some South African youth centers often offer support for the elderly. Across the continent, though, elder care is not yet seen as a pressing policy issue.
Many Iraqi families still care for grandparents, despite the challenges posed by conflict. But even in nations that set a high priority on caring for older parents, war can push care for the aged to the bottom of the priority list.
By 2050, China will have half a billion elderly citizens, but the country's youth are increasingly unwilling or unable to provide traditional support to their parents. So some are opting for a more 'Western' solution.
As the world's elderly population grows, it is also becoming increasingly urban. But city living poses many challenges to older people. In Manchester, England, they're trying to fix that.
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