The Future of Ageing By Gender

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Sally BOULD, University of Delaware, USA
Clary KREKULA, Karlstad University, Sweden
Current trends in population ageing result in higher proportion of women at older ages. Older Women have a higher risk of limitations, e.g. walking, than men even at the same age. Furthermore they are more likely to live alone without help in the home. Pension polices need to recognise the needs of older women, but current austerity efforts in Belgium, Italy, Germany and Sweden are resulting in reducing or eliminating derived pension benefits which support widowed women. Since women predominate at very old ages these measures to cut their benefits can help nations meet budget goals. Should older women be paying a disproportionate price for austerity? Medical care should also be adjusted to older women's needs. Women are more likely to have 2 or more chronic conditions at older ages while men are more likely to have only one. While men's chronic conditions are less likely to be disabling, women are most likely to be disabled with one or more of their chronic conditions. And older men are much more likely to have a wife at home to share tasks or help with post-hospitalisation. What this means is that a gender neutral approach to medical care, post hospital care and help in the home will typically provide sufficient support for older men, but less than sufficient support for older women. The EU principle of assessing "how policies affect the life and position of both women and men" needs to be applied to policy analysis of the ageing of the population. Of course the future may be different in that men will live longer and women will be less disabled so that active life expectancy is more equal. But future planning needs to confront the fact that these changes are not likely to happen , if at all, for several decades.