How should older people’s well-being be measured?



To: 17-10-2013

Online Discussion from 3 until 17 October 2013!

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How Should Older People’s Well-being be Measured?

Allianz – Open Knowledge, HelpAge, Centre for Social Protection, European Network on Measuring Progress, Global Alliance of International Longevity Centres, Institute of Social and Medical Studies, International Council on Social Welfare, OECD – Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, PRO Global, Wikiprogress and World Bankinvite you to participate in this online discussion from 3 – 17 October 2013


The Global AgeWatch Index was launched by the HelpAge Network on 1 October – the UN International Day of Older Persons.It is the first global index to rank countries according to the social and economic well-being of older people.
The index provides a measure of 13 different indicators across four key domains of income security, health status, education and employment, as well as aspects of the enabling environment already identified by older people as being of utmost importance to them.

  • The Index is groundbreaking in that it broadens the way we understand the needs and opportunities of older people, going far beyond the adequacy of pensions and other income support which, though critical, often narrows policy thinking and debate regarding the needs of this age group.
  • It involves a pioneering application of human development methodology to the construction of an index of the well-being of older people.
  • It challenges countries in every part of the world. The report’s ranking of countries in terms of the needs and opportunities of older people shows that a country’s GNP neither guarantees good living for older people nor is an obstacle to improving their situation. Older people in poorer countries often have better lives on average in several key respects than those in somewhat richer ones. The index of older people, thus, serves as a challenge to governments and community groups to raise their sights as to what is possible. As the number and proportion of older people rises in many countries, the importance of these lessons cannot be overstated.

It has been developed and constructed from international data sets drawn from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Bank, World Health Organization, International Labour Organisation and the Gallup World Poll.

It has benefited from a global advisory panel of more than 40 independent experts in ageing, health, social protection and human development. The Index will be developed over time to expand from its current number of 91 countries to all UN Member States.

In the spirit of the global call for the “data revolution” to “leave no one behind” in the post-2015 development framework, it is hoped that the Index will become a central reference point for governments, employers, civil society, communities, families and older people themselves in order to ensure a culture that does not discriminate on the basis of age. A culture in which contributions of older people to their economies and societies are recognised and supported is one which “leaves no one behind”.

Leading questions

  • How can evidence gathering tools such as the Global AgeWatch Index be useful in fostering progress towards ensuring economic and social rights of older people around the world?
  • What are the most important domains of wellbeing of older persons? What specific indicators can you suggest for each of the four domains of wellbeing used in constructing the Global AgeWatch Index?
  • The Global AgeWatch framework offers a composite index, domain-specific indices in four domains of wellbeing of older persons, as well as a full set of individual indicators. What approach is the most effective in your view in engaging policymakers?
  • What public policies and programmes had the most impact on the welfare of older persons? Provide specific examples.
  • What is the best way to ensure collecting data on ageing happens in a systematic way and that this data is reflected in the national and international data sets used in the goals, targets and indicators for the post-2015 framework? What difference would this make both to development and to older people?



Anyone with an Internet connection is invited to participate in the discussion and we encourage you to express your views on this pressing issue. Please note however that comments will be moderated to ensure that there is no spam disrupting the discussion.

Here is the link and the hash tags for Twitter are #OlderPeople and #AgeingIndex.

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