Myth Bust Series
While migration can relieve short-term labour market pressures and keep population from declining, it can never be a sustainable long-term approach to managing population ageing.
Public spending on health has been rising in all OECD countries. The COVID-19 pandemic made clear how essential investments in public health are. This after austerity politics in Europe had already shown how harmful it can be to neglect them.
Many people worry about ageing because they associate it with increasing frailty. Let us examine this notion from the perspective of research.
Frailty refers to a state of vulnerability often associated with ageing or chronic illness. Becoming frail means having fewer resources to draw upon – in other words, having less physiological strength, declining cognitive function and a reduced ability to bounce back from illness or injury.
This state of increased vulnerability can further affect the physical, mental and social well-being of the person affected, leading to an increased risk of hospitalisation, poor surgical outcomes and earlier death in older adults.
When asked to point at someone who is ageing, many people will intuitively look around for a person over 60. Yet of course, everyone is ageing.
We often think of different generations almost as different species. This narrative is amplified by media who popularise ever-present labels, like “boomers”, generations X, Y, Z, and so on. This view amplifies differences between younger and older people, when of course individuals differ, for example, in their distinct needs, priorities and political preferences. This “generational view” also exacerbates the idea that older and younger people are in inherent conflict and cannot understand each other.