Denmark isn’t as good as its Nordic neighbours when it comes to looking after the elderly if the results of the recently published Global Agewatch Index is anything to go by.
Norway and Sweden came in second and third place (trailing the undisputed champion of the elderly, Switzerland), while Denmark straggled behind in 11th place.
Asghar Zaidi – a professor at the centre for research on ageing at the University of Southampton, who created the index – stresses the importance of measuring the well-being of society’s older members.
“This index is vital for representing the lives of older people in countries around the world as it enables us to compare not just their pension income and health, but also the age-friendly environments in which they live,” he said.
In arriving at the rankings, the study considered the following four indicators: income security, health status, capability, and enabling environment.
Bent Greve, a professor at the department of society and globalisation at Roskilde University, told the scientific publication Videnskab.dk that he approved of looking at both subjective and objective indicators when it comes to comparing elderly people’s quality of life.
“When we look at welfare advancement, we should try to combine some subjective notions of how the individuals are doing and some objective facts,” he said.
“To ask about people’s well-being is a subjective indicator, but life expectancy and disability-free years are objective indicators. So I think that’s a very sensible way to do it, because we then get the whole angle or what welfare means in reality for a group of citizens – in this case for the elderly.”
Greve sees Denmark’s ranking as a wake-up call when it comes to elderly welfare.
“Considering that we are normally in the four to five best in the happiness index, it’s a sign we aren’t doing as well in the elderly area as we are in other areas,” he said.
“Therefore it can be a reason to do more in the elderly area.”