An ageing population will be an opportunity if the country is well prepared: workshop

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Dr. Bùi Tôn Hiến, director of the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs, and Phương Tiến Minh, CEO of Prudential Vietnam, chaired a technical workshop in Hà Nội on December 14 to announce their initial findings concerning the ageing population in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of the organisers

HÀ NỘI — Ageing populations are a concern in many countries, including in Việt Nam, which, according to demographic projections, is transitioning from an “ageing” population to an “aged” population within a 26-year period (between 2011 and 2036).

At this rate, it is estimated that there will be 29.2 million people over 60 years old by 2050 in the country, with 21.7 million of that number over 65, studies conducted by the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA), in collaboration with the Institute of Social and Medical Studies and Prudential have found.

The studies pointed out that current public awareness on preparedness for senior independent living in Việt Nam remains low and implementation of social security policies for the elderly faces many challenges.

ILSSA and Prudential Vietnam held a technical workshop in Hà Nội on Tuesday to announce their initial findings and have consultations with experts on the national studies “Preparedness for Independent Seniority” and “Ensuring Social Security for the Elderly” concerning the ageing population in Việt Nam.

The studies’ initial key findings were presented and consultations for the full reports were made by policymakers, experts and representatives from relevant stakeholders. All participants discussed proposed measures and solutions to increase awareness about ageing and social security for the elderly.

These studies’ findings on socio-economic and health factors are an important source of insights, particularly for the population entering the elderly stage in the next 20-30 years, enabling them to better prepare for ageing in terms of finances, physical health and mental wellbeing.

Dr. Bùi Tôn Hiến, director of ILSSA, said: “Population ageing is presenting many challenges for Việt Nam. The ageing rate is high, while the country’s economic resources are limited and the social security system is still in its early stages. To date, only 33.2 per cent of the workforce participates in social insurance, and only 45.5 per cent of senior residents receive monthly retirement salary, social insurance or social benefits. Social support mechanisms and policies as well as social care for the elderly have not been developed.

“This could lead to the burden of ‘getting old before getting rich’ if we don’t have measures to tackle population ageing in timely and effective way. This requires a comprehensive policy framework that applies to all population groups to prepare for an aged society in the near future, not just resolving issues for the elderly.”

“The workshop’s results help recognise issues and policy implications to increase Vietnamese people’s preparedness for independent senior life, as well as to ensure social security for the elderly in the context of rapid population ageing. This is important scientific evidence to formulate policies that can adapt to an aging population in Việt Nam in the coming time,” he added.

Phương Tiến Minh, CEO of Prudential Vietnam, said: “If well-prepared, population ageing will be an opportunity, rather than a challenge, for society. By collaborating with experts in such extensive studies at national representative levels, Prudential wants to work together with regulators to resolve issues related to population ageing, so that ageing will not become a burden.

“Prudential wants to establish the foundation to form a community that is informed and enable them to take actions to get the most out of life to enjoy independent seniority. This is one of our long-term projects to demonstrate our corporate responsibility, underscoring our commitment to supporting a healthier and wealthier Việt Nam.”

The “Preparedness for Independent Seniority” study polled 2,019 people aged 30 to 44 residing in six key cities and provinces that represent national economic regions from September to October, providing national data on how Vietnamese aged between 30 and 44 are preparing for old age.

The other study was based on the Active Ageing Index, assessing indicators in four main areas of finances; engagement with family and society; preparedness for physical and mental health; and assessment and expectation on retired and senior life. VNS

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