Social Studies 10

Aging Populations

Listen to the following radio program about the issues associated with an aging population and summarize a main point using just 140 characters.

The aging population is creating economic difficulty. Aged care remains as an unresolved issue because most young people are unwilling to give the great amount of care that old people need.

Define the following terms:

Aging population: a shift in the distribution of a country’s population towards older ages.

Population policy: measures taken by a state to influence the way its population is changing.

Pro-natalist: advocating or supporting a high birth rate.

Pension: a regular payment made by the government to people of or above the official retirement age and to some widows and disabled people.

Taxes: a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.

Retirement: the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.

Name four European countries that are projected to experience population decline by 2031.

Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Estonia.

Name four European countries that are predicted to have population growth over 20%.

Malta, Ireland, Luxembourg, Cyprus.

List as many impacts as you can of a country having an aging population. Try to categorise the impacts as being social, economic or political. Try to list both positive and negative impacts.

Social Impacts

-Hospitals, care-homes, etc. will need many young workers (negative), but this creates jobs (positive)

-Everybody will depend on the young, working-age adults to care for old people, even if they are not willing to (negative)

Economic Impacts

-Old people will spend money on health care and health goods, so the health product economy will grow (positive)

-There will be no young people that can contribute to the economy (negative)

Political Impacts

-The government will need to provide more pensions and care-homes for the elderly (negative)

-The government will need to provide more medical care for the elderly because many people become ill as they grow older (negative)

-Workers will need to pay higher taxes (negative)

Describe and explain four steps that a country’s government could take to manage an aging population.

1. Create incentives for more people to have children. These could include tax and/or transportation breaks for people with more than a certain number of children, offering child and health care benefits for parents, and allowing mothers to have long maternity leaves from work.

2. Raise the retirement age so that old people can still work and contribute to the economy. Many people are still able to work after their set retirement age, so this should be higher.

3. Find a way to keep people healthier so that they will not need to receive care from hospitals/care-homes and be able to care for themselves when they grow old. Requiring yearly check-ups for middle and older aged people could be one way.

4. Encourage people to carefully plan for life after retirement, and urge people to save money as much as possible.

How are the Japanese using technology to deal with their aging population?

Article: “Solving Japan’s age-old problem”

Japan’s population is aging extremely fast, and it is predicted that by the end of this decade, one in six people will be over 80 years old! To deal with this problem, the Japanese have developed interesting new technologies for old people. These include robot pets that display emotions like happiness and anger to help stimulate responses from those with dementia, cars that monitor brain activity in the elderly for safety, and even toilets with special sensors that measure blood pressure body fat and blood-sugar levels based on the urine. Technology is helping Japan deal with the aging population problem, and when people buy these products, it will help the economy as well. However, there are some opportunity costs when this alternative is chosen. Even though it is important to care for old people, it is just as or even more important to worry about the lack of children. Instead of investing millions of yen in developing new technologies for old people, more money should be spent on creating different incentives for more people to have children (in my opinion).




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