Globally the number of people aged 80+ is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050. And by 2050, people aged 65 and over will make up 28,5% of the total population in the EU compared to 19,7% in 2018. It’s the first time in history that there will be more elderly people than people younger than 5 years. Life expectancy is likely to increase. However, the speed at which life expectancy can change is uncertain. Due to unexpected causes like a pandemic. This uncertainty challenges for example the affordability of pension provisions but also the required capacity of our health care system. Making the ageing society a very important topic for our society and our client NN Group.
To gain more insight into how people prepare for their longer-lasting lives, or if they are even aware of the fact that they might live longer than previous generations, NN Group conducted a survey among 11,000 people across 11 countries. They surveyed different subjects regarding longevity like, how happy people are today and what their perceptions of their own health or financial assets are. We contextualized the findings of this survey with our socio-cultural trends. This enabled us to provide the human context behind the data, to give a better understanding of what themes NN Group should focus on regarding this ageing society. This resulted in three key themes relevant for living a long, happy & healthy life.
1) Mental well-being
Longevity is not so much about being old longer. A long life is about living longer, growing old later and being young longer, according to Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, authors of The 100-Year Life: Living and working in an age of longevity. Quality of life is key here and this is inextricably linked to health, both physical and mental. There has always been a clear social awareness of the importance of physical health, but only fairly recently has the mental side of health been receiving more attention.
First of all, this increased attention is driven by the prevalence of modern mental disorders such as depression, burn-outs and anxiety disorders. In addition, this increase in awareness is accelerated by a relatively new movement within psychology (the positive psychology) that aims to prevent, rather than cure, mental disorders. On the other hand, younger generations are increasingly breaking taboos around mental well-being and thus encouraging an open conversation.
It is increasingly important to maintain a good mental well-being in order to experience quality of life. Luckily there are many ways brands can actively support people in improving their mental well-being and by doing so, add to the quality of people’s lives.
2) Social ties
Human beings are inherently social creatures. Our need for social connection is a fundamental human trait. People are not designed to be alone. When we feel alone, all alarm systems go off in our bodies. There’s an increase in our blood pressure, and our heart rate and cortisol go up. Besides the physical advantages of experiencing strong social connections with others, it also helps us to cope with adversity, form our identity and give us a sense of belonging.
Although technology makes it easier than ever before to connect with each other, loneliness is only increasing, also before the pandemic. These developments stress the need for qualitative social connections even more and make it a very important topic for brands in which they can support people in the course of their longer-lasting lives.
3) Lifelong learning
As people get older and older, there is also more room to organize life in new ways. Instead of the traditional three phases of life (learning, working, resting), hybrid forms are arising in which different phases alternate with each other. People return to earlier phases or combine several life phases. This has major implications on the way we learn and develop throughout our lives. Now that people around the world are staying fit and active for longer, it is essential to continue to grow, not only for a sense of self-worth and satisfaction but also, for example, to remain relevant and attractive in the labour market.
In order to experience quality of life, it is important to keep developing and learning throughout your life. There are many ways to stimulate (lifelong) learning, leaving many opportunities for brands to add to the quality of people’s lives.
The ageing society brings along many changes in our day to day lives. And therefore it is likely to influence your customers as well. What does your brand do to support people in their longer-lasting lives?