The association representing Swiss cities has called for politicians to better tackle the challenges related to ageing, including increased numbers of old people, dementia, a housing shortage and rising numbers of foreign pensioners.
In 2030, about a quarter of the Swiss population will be over 65 – many of them in urban areas – according to forecasts by the Federal Statistics Officeexternal link. That is why policies on ageing will be one of the largest challenges cities will have to deal with over the coming years, said the city association’s president Kurt Fluri on Monday.
The number of residents aged 65-79 will increase 50% over the next 16 years, while the share of those above 80 will rise by 80%, said Esther Rickenbacher, who presented a study on the structure of the elderly population in Swiss cities.
The researchers found that people increasingly live on their own or in nursing homes once they retire, particularly women above the age of 80. There was a real risk that these women would grow lonely, the association warned.
Other challenges are the number of foreigners among the retired population as well as those with dementia, whose numbers are increasing in line with ageing. The incidence of dementia among those above 80 is already five times higher than among people aged 65-79, the researchers found.
The main problem for people living in cities is finding affordable housing when they grow older and often have a lower income. One of the solutions proposed is projects where people of different generations live together.
About three out of four cities already have committees dealing with the policies of ageing, but the city mayors, including Alexander Tschäppät from Bern, called for a federal commission dealing with issues relating to ageing and for the discussions to be put on the national political agenda. One of the main worries of the cities is to secure the financing of pension plans.
swissinfo.ch and agencies