Realizing the potential of living longer

UNECE policy brief on ageing No. 19


Lisa Warth, Vitalija Gaucaite, Bjørn Einar Halvorsen, Dirk Jarré, Aina Strand


UNECE Working Group on Ageing




UNECE Working Group on Ageing (2017) Realizing the potential of living longer, UNECE Policy Brief on Ageing No.19, available at


Policy responses to population ageing to date have primarily focused on adapting welfare systems to the challenges of demographic change. Much less attention is being paid to the opportunities and potentials that living longer holds for individuals, economies and society at large, and to tackling the barriers that currently hinder their full realization. Perceiving longevity mainly as a fiscal pressure and an obstacle to economic growth may trigger reforms that result in rising inequalities. This can occur when the cumulative disadvantages stemming from difficulties in transitions over the life course, ill health and disability and unpaid caregiving are insufficiently addressed. It also feeds into age-based stereotypes and negative attitudes towards older people. To change this, it is essential to better recognize the potentials of ageing populations and to enable people to live active and fulfilling lives as they age.

This UNECE Policy Brief is also available in German.


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