This, at any rate, is the conclusion of HelpAge International – a well-funded global coalition of some sort (I kept digging but am still not sure who these people are). According to their 2014 Global AgeWatch, the top 10 places to deteriorate are:
- United States
- New Zealand
To come up with this ranking, HelpAge evaluated each nation's performance according to four standards:
- Income security, which includes pension income coverage, poverty rate in old age, relative welfare of older people and GDP per capita
- Health status, including life and healthy-life expectancy at 60, plus psychological well-being
- Capability, which covers the employment and educational status of older people
- Enabling environment, meaning social connections, physical safety, access to public transport, and something called “civic freedom” – not sure I want to know what that means
It’s interesting that HelpAge International doesn’t take into consideration a nation’s dominant spiritual beliefs – specifically, what most people believe happens after death, and what that means for self and loved ones. Is the best yet to come or not? HelpAge apparently finds the question irrelevant.
I beg to differ. After nearly 15 years of hanging out at a nursing home, I can confirm that one’s beliefs about the existence and character of God and His revelations about eternity are critical to one’s contentment – especially as the distractions of carnal life fade. No one enjoys greater peace, optimism and indeed joy than the born-again believer in Jesus Christ.
But perhaps HelpAge makes up for that void with a corollary to the “life sucks and then you die” existentialist thinking that’s so popular in Europe – a corollary that says “at least you don’t have to put up with any more old age than you can stomach.” After all, while euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are still illegal in countries like Norway, it’s probably only a matter of time before HelpAge's winning nation follows the example of its Dutch neighbors. Supporters of these practices claim that a clear majority believes firmly in the “right to a dignified death,” so no doubt their fearless leaders will soon give them their wish.