Friday, 12 April 2024
    Rebuilding cities for the ageing

    Rebuilding cities for the ageing

    In a past column, I tried to warn everyone in Australia about the massive impact of the ageing of the population, writes Simon Kuestenmacher in The New Daily.

    The logic was pretty simple: Half of us will live past the age of 85. Yay to that half of us. Half of us who will make it past 85 will need care. By 2035 (that’s only 12 years away) we double the 85+ cohort to reach one million people.

    Australia needs to prepare now!

    In another column, I explained why we currently have a skills shortage  and how demographics suggest it will persist for the next fifteen years or so. Automation is our friend as it can free up workers from all sorts of industries to move into care and medical jobs. Importing labour from overseas also helps but it’s not guaranteed that Australia can forever onwards import workers as I explained a few months ago.

    But we need to do even more than filling care and medical jobs to allow our elderly to have decent quality of life.

    Australian houses will need to be modified. Wider doors to fit a wheelchair, perfectly level slide doors to the garden to minimise tripping hazards, non-slip flooring, larger light switches (Australian light switches are comically small and hard to operate), lifts in private homes, and accessible showers are just some of the common modifications that we will see.

    The individualistically minded Baby Boomer (born 1946-63) generation will be very keen to continue living independently and such home modifications will help a lot. Any business operating in that space will do mighty fine in the next decades.

    We need to do even more than that though. We need to change the built environment at a larger scale; we need to change how our cities operate. That’s a big ask but at least we can look to international case studies to see what modifications allow cities to age in dignity


    ​​The Stats Guy: Rebuilding cities for an ageing population (The New Daily)


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