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.
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.
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.