A UNITED Nations (UN)-backed global study has ranked Sweden as the best place in the world to be old while putting Afghanistan as the worst.

A UNITED Nations (UN)-backed global study has ranked Sweden as the best place in the world to be old while putting Afghanistan as the worst.
The Global AgeWatch Index, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), examined the quality of life of the elderly in 91 countries.
The index, compiled by the HelpAge International advocacy group and the UN Population Fund, ranks 91 countries by comparing data from the World Health Organisation and other agencies on older people’s incomes, health, education, employment and their environments.
Study of the best and worst countries to grow old is the first survey of its kind to collect global data on the wellbeing of the elderly in a rapidly ageing world.
The report warns that many countries do not have adequate support in place for their ageing populations.
It claims that by 2050, older people will outnumber children under 15 for the first time, with most of the elderly in developing countries.
The Global AgeWatch Index was complied by the UN Population Fund and advocacy group, HelpAge International, and released to mark the UN’s Day of Older Persons.
Researchers used 13 different indicators – including income and employment, health provision, education, and environment – in what they said was the first study of kind to be conducted on a global scale.
On the bottom 10 of the rankings are Honduras at 82), Montenegro (83), West Bank and Gaza (84), Nigeria (85), Malawi (86), Rwanda (87), Jordan (88), Pakistan (89), Tanzania (90) and Afghanistan (91).
The study’s authors say countries across the world face an ongoing challenge from the rapidly ageing global population.
“The continual exclusion of ageing from national and global agendas is one of the biggest obstacles to meeting the needs of the world’s ageing population,” Silvia Stefanoni, the interim chief executive of HelpAge International, said.
“By giving us a better understanding of the quality of life of women and men as they age, this new index can help us focus our attention on where things are going well and where we have to make improvements.”
While Sweden came top, and Afghanistan was placed last, the top 20 was dominated by countries from Western Europe and North America, along with Japan, Australia and Chile.
Wealth was not the only factor considered, and countries such as Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Mauritius were ranked above several richer nations.
Some large fast-developing countries fared worse than others, with Russia (78), India (73) and Turkey (70) receiving a low rank, while Brazil (31) and China (35) were regarded more favourably by the researchers.