Sunday 4 December 2016

We will live to count the cost of failing to prepare for the greying of society

Published 11/06/2015 | 02:30

Pensioners protesting outside the Dáil after the Budget in October, 2013. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins
Pensioners protesting outside the Dáil after the Budget in October, 2013. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins

Last year the number of people aged over 64 living in the republic exceeded the number of twenty-somethings. This is an astonishing state of affairs. Not since the exodus of the 1950s have the aged outnumbered the young.

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As the accompanying chart shows, the reason for the incredible shift in the balance between the youngest and the oldest adults is twofold. First - and very positively - people are living healthier and longer lives. As a result, the numbers in traditional retirement age (65 and over) have soared. In the past decade alone it has increased by almost one-third.

Although discussion on the increase in older folk is often focused on the challenges it presents, it is, first and foremost, something to be celebrated. Life is precious, and it is a wonderful thing that more people are enjoying more of it.

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