Sri Lanka is the 36th place in the global index for the best countries for the older people, a study by the Global AgeWatch index shows.
While the enabling environment for older people in Pakistan is perceived as very poor, older Sri Lankans rank their social connections, physical safety and civic freedom highly. This, and Sri Lanka’s overall position in the Index, is consistent with the country’s HDI ranking. We have already noted how Sri Lanka’s current over-60s have benefited from progressive social welfare programmes earlier in their lives, which may also be an important contribution to later life satisfaction.
Accordingly, Sri Lanka’s overall index value of 57.3 means that older people’s wellbeing in Sri Lanka is 57.3 per cent of the ideal (100), giving it a shortfall of 32.6 percentage points below the best-performing country, Sweden (89.9).
"This survey shows that history counts," said Mark Gorman, director of the HelpAge International advocacy group. "The top-ranked countries are what you would expect, but Scandinavian countries were not wealthy when they [introduced] universal pensions.
"The older population in Sri Lanka today is benefiting from good basic education and healthcare – those countries made certain policy choices.
Everybody faces scarce resources, but they should not forget that when they make investment decisions, they should also address issues of old age."
Sweden ranked the number one in the index while Afghanistan is the worst.
The Global AgeWatch Index is the first global index to rank countries according to the social and economic wellbeing of older people.
The US is in eighth place, while the UK fails to make the top 10, residing instead at No 13. Sri Lanka ranks 36, well above Pakistan at 89, despite similar levels of gross domestic product (GDP). Bolivia and Mauritius score higher than the size of their economies may suggest, while the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China are a mixed bag. Brazil and China rank relatively high on the index; India and Russia sit much lower.
The ageing index is calculated using 13 indicators under four headings: income security, healthcare, employment and education, and an enabling environment. All indicators have equal weight, except for pension income coverage, life expectancy at 60, healthy life expectancy at 60, and psychological wellbeing. These categories were given increased weighting because of better data quality, and countries were included only if there was sufficient data.