Age UK and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing are to host a one-day event on how financial services can better respond to an ageing population.
The event will take place on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 and is one of a series being held around the world.
With the numbers of people aged 60 and over set to increase globally from an estimated 931 million today to 1.4 billion by 2030, and nearly one in four people in the UK (24.3%) expected to be aged 65 or over by 2040, the symposium will address the profound implications for financial services.
Age UK’s research suggests that in terms of the current situation, while the majority of older people remain fit, active and cognitively alert:
- 130,000 older people are likely to be victims of financial abuse
- 4.5million older people (65 and over) are not online, and are therefore likely to remain dependent on traditional methods of banking
- 300,000 older people are dependent on other people for support with banking services.
The rise in life expectancy is a great achievement, but while demographic change is moving up the financial services agenda, many older people still feel excluded. Alzheimer’s Society reports for example that 76% of people living with dementia in the UK say they have experienced difficulties in managing their finances.
The number of people living with dementia worldwide is estimated at 46.8 million and set to rise to 74.7 million in 2030 so it is vital that financial service are inclusive of those experiencing cognitive decline or with care-giving responsibilities.
Is the financial services sector ready for the ‘super-ageing’ world?
Sessions during the symposium will look at 'changing technologies in financial services', ‘how to financially plan for an uncertain future' and 'can people living with cognitive impairment remain financially included.' A report with recommendations from the symposium will be published in late February.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, said: 'We need to ask if the financial services sector is ready for the growth of the older population and if these services really work for people experiencing cognitive decline. It is vital that we develop age friendly financial services – which are an essential part of daily living.
'While we welcome the steps made by some banks to become more age friendly, Age UK believes that too many older people find their options limited, with a risk they fall back onto unsafe banking practices. Many have been hit hard by the reduction of traditional bank services, such as galloping branch closures.
'When older people find it difficult to engage with the financial services available they can be pushed into increased dependency on others to access cash, pay bills or buy gifts. This can mean more reliance on cash and/or to disclosing security details, increasing their vulnerability to crime and scams.'
Dr Derek Yach, Chief Health Officer, The Vitality Group and from World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on ageing, said: 'During the WEF’s annual meeting in Davos last week we heard arguments that, in Charles Dicken’s words- “these are the best of times and the worst of times” in terms of prospects for ageing societies.
'This meeting will be successful if it contributes to finding ways of augmenting the needs of older people and their carers in all societies to use emerging technologies to support people maintain key functions with age.'