The Perennials: The Future of Ageing

The Perennials: The Future of Ageing


This report looks at our ageing societies and their challenges and opportunities. The media have obsessed about ‘Millennials’ as disruptors, but in fact ageing – which will affect every generation – is having even larger effects

Rising life expectancy and falling birth rates mean populations around the world are getting older. The shift has been gradual, and because humanity is better at spotting immediate change or danger, rather than noticing steady transformation, our shared understanding about what later life is like is woefully out of date. It is portrayed as a ’narrative of decline’ – not a time of opportunity and change.

The advance made in life expectancy is, surely, one of our greatest achievements – but one for which we need to correctly understand the implications. Without this insight, the risk is that the vast potential of all of us in our later lives goes untapped, and a huge swathe of the global population is misunderstood or ignored by policy makers and marketers – especially foolish for the private sector, as over-50s now command nearly half of all spending power in many countries.

People in their later years are increasingly packing their life to the full. For many, their reality doesn’t necessarily align with the labels they’ve been given. They’re not slowing down, but taking on new challenges, roles and responsibilities. Those with money to spend are smart about spending it. They’re not digital natives, but they’re more connected than we give them credit for. They’re not withdrawing from life, but demanding more from it and us.