Overview of the Challenges related with the aging population
There are so many challenges that are linked with the aging population in a country. Aging population leads to unstable fiscal and macroeconomic conditions in a country by increasing the fund requirement in healthcare and pension costs. Another challenge is that aging population impacts the economic growth of country. With the retirement of aged people, the workforce of the country is also reducing (Torp, 2015). Aging population lowers the income tax receipts.
The major challenge that our young generation is facing is reduction in the fund allocated to the education sector by the government because a large part of the funds is distributed by the government to the health care sector. The countries of Asia are also facing the challenge of financial crises due to the aging population (Prettner, 2013). Both the countries i.e. Japan and Singapore are facing the problem of reduction in workforce because the baby boomers have reached the age of retirement so the productivity of labour is getting reduced and other problem is of reduction in the prices of assets because the elder people are selling their assets. The life expectancy is also very high in both the countries, which is another matter of concern for the countries.
In Japan, there is a trend of late marriage and having baby after 30 which is a big challenge for Japan.The aging population is reducing the savings and investments and increasing the government expenditures (International Monetary Fund: Asia and Pacific Dept., 2016).
Sustained Baby Boom:
In both Japan and Singapore, the aging population has increased because almost all the baby boomers have entered the age of 65 or more in the last five years. In 1946, Singapore experienced an increase of 58% in live births as compared to the previous year 1945. It is expected that Singapore’s aging population is expected to increase from 12.4% to 18.7% in 2030. By 2025, the entire baby boomers of Singapore will reach 60 or above.
In case of Japan, in the early 1970s the no. of births was more than 2 million but after that it goes decreasing year by year. In the year 2016, the number of births in Japan reduced by 1 million (Jones, 2015).
Hasty Reduction in Fertility:
Another phenomenon, which impacts the aging population, is the reduction in the fertility rate. The shrinking population of women is a major reason behind the decline in fertility rate. The reduction in fertility rate results in the decline in the economic growth because the aging population is getting retired and the economy is not having much young workers to take their positions (SUZUKI, 2014).
Steady decline in Morality:
The improvement of standard of living results in decline in the morality rates. Morals tell us how to behave in the society and with the elders. Now, the youth doesn’t value morals and ethics because they believe in a high standard of living which takes them to bad habits and thus there is a decline in the morality rates (Caravita et al. 2014).
Changes and Impact on Healthcare services:
Demographic changes give a new direction to the health care system. Ageing population increases the demand of healthcare services. The public and private sectors are collaborating for making healthcare financing better (Yoon et al. 2014). The healthcare system is changing day by day with the introduction of new industries like technology, fitness, wellness, retail, etc. The technological advancement introduced new feature of mobile health (mHealth), which is cost effective. These changes require dynamic models to fit the new health economies. Now the aged population are facing more chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and non- infectious airway diseases (Dall et al. 2013). As the people grow old, they require more health care services.
Trends in Policies:
The first policy to deal with the aging population is make people work longer, which means increasing the retirement age from 65 to 70 years. The firms have to reduce employee turnover ratio. Because if the employees work for a long period then it will result in higher income tax receipts and the pension period will also be reduced. The major drawback of this policy is that it is not convenient for manual labourers but is convenient for office workers. Another policy is increasing the income tax. By increasing the income tax the government can earn sufficient fund to give pensions to the retired people. One more trend in policies is means tested pensions. This policy targets the people with low income. It helps in maintaining the equality. Another trend is encouraging private pensions. The government should make private pensions compulsory. This will reduce the burden of government regarding the pensions.
Significant Changes to limit the impact of the aging population:
Proper fitness and wellness centres should be provided to the aging population so that it will reduce the cost of healthcare for the government. The structure and practices of the organization need to be changed to mould the organization as per the aged population so that the organizations can take the benefit from aged workers (Meyer and Daniele, (2016). The companies should have to make strategies that before 2-3 years of retirement the old workers have to provide training to the new workers of the organization, because the elderly workers of the organization are full of knowledge about how the organizational goals can be achieved and to make effective utilization of available resources. So the organizations have to arrange seminars, in which the workers, who are near their retirement will share their experience with the organization. So the knowledge they have gained from the day they have joined the organization will be useful for the young generation of the organization (Shultz and Adams, 2012). The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is planning to increases the sales tax from 5 % to 10 % because it can increase the revenue. Long distance medical care policy is suggested by international bodies to reduce the impact of aging, in this policy medical care is provided through computers rather than hospitals and nursing homes.
Policies created by the international bodies to assist countries in Asia to cope with the aging population
The international bodies suggested the silver alert programs. Silver alert is a system used in U.S. which identifies the information about missing person’s especially elder persons with any kind of mental disease (Petonito and Muschert, 2015). One international policy to cope with the aging population is gradual retirement scheme, in which the individuals can work for lower hours but they are considered as employed and they will pay tax for an extended period. The international bodies are planning to increases the pension age of women from 60 to 65 and between 2014 to2046. It will further rise from 65 to 68 years for both men and women (Moulaert and Biggs, 2013). Another policy created by international bodies for the problem of aging population is immigration of skilled labour.
The Culture of Japan and Singapore:
The Japanese culture is very much different than other countries. In Japan, harmony is the key value. In Japan, the kids are educated not to become independent but they are raised to work together. They think universally not as an individual. Japanese people rely on working in a group, so they rely more on non- verbal communication channels rather than words because each word have different meanings. There is also a book known as ‘gaijins’, which explains the interpretation of signs (Commisceo Global, 2014). The Japanese people give very much respect to elder people. In schools, they call ‘senpai’ to senior students and ‘kohai’ to junior students. The oldest people in a group will be honoured by the juniors and in any get together the juniors will serve him first. Singapore’s culture is a mixture of Asian and European cultures. Singapore is a city of diverse cultures like Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. Discrimination is still a problem in Singapore (InterNations connecting Global minds, 2017). Singapore is known as a fine city. The government of Singapore emphasises on the respect for different cultures.
Effects of Cultures on Healthcare:
Culture has a vast impact on healthcare. The cultural competence in healthcare includes individual’s values, beliefs and behaviours about health, which are affected by race, tradition, religion, physical and mental ability, occupation etc. A patient’s culture influences his treatment and recovery. The language of communication with the patients affects the outcome. Around 32 million people are using the language other than English. So the health care centres are required to appoint language translators for successful outcomes. To achieve the desired outcomes, providers must be aware of religion, culture, tradition, gender roles and responsibilities etc. People that are facing the chronic diseases are at higher risk of negative outcome with the lack of cultural competence. If patients feel a culturally competent environment in hospitals or nursing homes, then chances of recovery increases.
Solutions to limit the impact of the ageing population:
One of the solutions for the aging population problem is extending the retirement age. Increase in the tax rates is also a solution for aging population. More tax revenue means the government can allocate more funds in the healthcare services. Creation of business opportunities for elder people and the long- term insurance are the initiatives to limit the impact of aging population (Fong, Ng and Yuen, 2017). Another solution invented by Japan is Robots. For example, Japan introduced a robotic seal known as Paro. These robots can replace the need of human beings in the organization. These robots reduce the stress, depression, anxiety etc, which are the major reasons of aging. The government should give pensions only to those, who are having low incomes. This will result in income equality. Instead of pension people are required to spend money on insurance.
Recommendations to limit the impact of the ageing population:
By providing better health care system and early screening of diseases before it can become serious, can help the countries to cope up with the problem of aging population by supporting the policies made for the betterment of old age people. Another recommendation is opening of centres for physical activities for aged people (King and King, 2017). Physical activities help the people to stay active and healthy and this will avoid illness.
This essay is based on the problem of aging population of two countries i.e. Japan and Singapore. Some of the challenges of both the countries are same like reduction in fertility rate, reduction in morality, decline in the prices of assets, decline in economic growth etc. This essay has also discussed solution for these challenges and some of the recommendations are also given. By adoption these recommendations the countries can cope up with this problem of aging population. This essay includes the culture and the beliefs of two different countries. This essay also includes the policies adopted by international bodies like silver alert system. This essay concludes that both the countries are facing the problem of aging but with the solutions and recommendations given it can be resolved.
Prettner, K. (2013). ‘Population aging and endogenous economic growth’, Journal of population economics, 26(2), 811-834.
Yoon, J.W., Kim, J. Lee, J. (2014). Impact of Demographic Changes on Inflation and the Macroeconomy. USA: International Monetary Fund.
SUZUKI, T. (2014). Lowest-Low Fertility and Its Demographic Impact in Japan. Spain: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca.
Torp, C. (2015). Challenges of Aging: Pensions, Retirement and Generational Justice. Germany: Springer.
Meyer, M.H. and Daniele, E.A. (2016). Gerontology: Changes, Challenges, and Solutions. California: ABC-CLIO.
King, A.C. and King, D.K. (2017). ‘Physical activity for an aging population’, Public Health Reviews, 32(2), 401.
Shultz, K.S. and Adams, G.A. (2012). Aging and work in the 21st century. USA: Psychology Press.
Commisceo Global (2014). Culture of Japan. Retrieved from: https://www.commisceo-global.com/country-guides/japan-guide
Inter-nations connecting (2017). Local Customs and Culture in Singapore. Retrieved from: https://www.internations.org/singapore-expats/guide/16085-culture-shopping-recreation/local-customs-and-culture-in-singapore
Moulaert, T. and Biggs, S. (2013). ‘International policy on work and retirement: Reinventing critical perspectives on active ageing and mature subjectivity’, Human Relations, 66(1), 23-43.
Dall, T.M., Gallo, P.D., Chakrabarti, R., West, T., Semilla, A.P. and Storm, M.V. (2013). ‘An aging population and growing disease burden will require alarge and specialized health care workforce by 2025’, Health Affairs, 32(11).
International Monetary Fund (2016). Japan: Selected Issues. USA: International Monetary Fund.
Jones, O. (2015). Baby Boomers. UK: Owen Jones.
Caravita, S.C., Sijtsema, J.J., Rambaran, J.A. and Gini, G. (2014). ‘Peer influences on moral disengagement in late childhood and early adolescence’, Journal of youth and adolescence, 43(2), 193-207.
Fong, B. N. A., and Yuen, P. (2017). Sustainable Health and Long-term Care Solutions for an Aging Population. USA: IGI Global.
Petonito, G. and Muschert, G.W. (2015). ‘Silver alert programs: An exploration of community sentiment regarding a policy solution to address the critical wandering problem in an aging population’, In Handbook of community sentiment, 253-266.