Anxiety about the so-called ‘demographic time bomb’ resulting from rising life expectancy is having a perverse effect on society and on public policy. Instead of welcoming the social and medical developments that have led to people having healthier and longer lives, demographic trends have become a pretext for encouraging restraint and lowered expectations. Many businesses are being influenced by these demographic concerns.
Current fears about the ‘economic burden’ of an ageing population are misplaced and risk squandering the social and business opportunities from an ageing population. People do not necessarily become dependent at a particular chronological age. Older people are remaining active much longer than previous generations, enabling them to enjoy work and leisure pursuits into much later years.
How can businesses benefit as employers and as producers? What adaptations should they make to their culture, their operations and their products to take advantage of this demographic shift?