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Towards Successful Aging in Asia

Countries undergoing population aging today are facing a much different experience than their historical counterparts. One only needs to look at the countries in Asia to see how these trends are unfolding. Demographic aging is happening much faster, at a much earlier stage of economic development, and at a time when public policies and institutions are not ready to meet the long-term healthcare, financial, and daily care needs of its growing elderly population. 

From a public policy standpoint, Asia is not prepared to meet the long-term care needs that its elderly population will require for active and healthy aging. Instead, policies, for the most part, are reactive in nature, plugging gaps as they arise. The concern here, however, is that these policies are often being implemented late and have, directly or indirectly, exclusionary eligibility requirements that leave many out from being covered.

This report explores the state of aging in five countries—South Korea, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam—as well as the avenues to improve the state of aging across Asia. Long-held traditional and cultural elements around the region have the potential to provide the needed long-term care needs and provide the platforms for meaningful and productive activities where public policy is unable to. We explore how the family, the community, and the workplace are spheres of life that can play a role in both supporting the age-related needs of older adults while providing the avenues and activities that fulfill their sense of purpose and productivity in society. By leveraging these spheres, societies will be better positioned to improve the aging experience, one that is more supportive, inclusive, and empowering of the value of the elderly.