October 1, 2013 - 17:02 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Sweden is the best place in the world to be old and Afghanistan the worst, according to a UN-backed global study, BBC News reported.
The Global AgeWatch Index examined the quality of life of the elderly in 91 countries.
It warns that many countries do not have adequate support in place for their ageing populations. By 2050, older people will outnumber children under 15 for the first time, with most of the elderly in developing countries, it said.
The Global AgeWatch Index was complied by the UN Population Fund and advocacy group HelpAge International, and released to mark the UN's Day of Older Persons.
Researchers used 13 different indicators - including income and employment, health provision, education, and environment - in what they said was the first study of kind to be conducted on a global scale.
The study's authors say countries across the world face an ongoing challenge from the rapidly ageing global population.
"The continual exclusion of ageing from national and global agendas is one of the biggest obstacles to meeting the needs of the world's ageing population," says Silvia Stefanoni, the interim chief executive of HelpAge International.
"By giving us a better understanding of the quality of life of women and men as they age, this new index can help us focus our attention on where things are going well and where we have to make improvements."
While Sweden came top, and Afghanistan was placed last, the top 20 was dominated by countries from Western Europe and North America, along with Japan, Australia and Chile.
But some large fast-developing countries fared worse than others, with Russia (78), India (73) and Turkey (70) receiving a low rank, while Brazil (31) and China (35) were considered more favourably by the researchers.
Out of ex-CIS countries, Estonia did best, taking the 29th spot. Georgia was placed 37th, Latvia, Lithuania took 45th and 50th spot respectively. Researchers ranked Armenia, Tajikistan, Belarus 51st, 62 nd and 60th; Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Moldova were placed 63rd, 66th and 76th respectively.