Innovative and Pioneering  Practices for Supporting a Healthy Aging Population Worldwide
Aging Readiness & Competitiveness (ARC) 3.0

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As life expectancy is increasing around the world, the gap between lifespan and healthspan—the years a person lives without disease—is also increasing.

This widening gap is one of the most important trends of our time, and policymakers worldwide are now being challenged to turn the tide on healthy aging.

Examples of innovative and pioneering practices can be found in different communities, states, and countries. But until now there was no effort to collect and share those actionable insights in one repository. So Economist Impact and AARP teamed up to highlight a knowledge base of policy solutions in the Aging Readiness and Competitiveness (ARC) report 3.0.

ARC 3.0 is a rich resource, highlighting innovations from diverse geographic, economic, and social contexts, emblematic of broader trends that promise a healthier and more equitable future for older adults around the world. Economist Impact also conducted Return-on-Investment analysis of five of the innovations in the report.

Download the full report

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Older adults face a variety of structural & societal
barriers to healthy aging.

Global aging is perhaps the most important demographic trend of our time.

By 2050 a sixth of the world’s population will be over 65

People everywhere are living longer

By 2050 an estimated 80% of older adults will be living in low- and middle-income countries

Life expectancy and healthy life expectancy have both increased over the past decades, but the gap in years between the two is growing.

Global life expectancy at birth increased from 67.2 years in 2000 to 73.5 years in 2019 (9.4% growth), while global healthy life expectancy increased from 58.6 years in 2000 to 63.5 years in 2019 (8.4% growth). Forward estimates through 2025 expect this gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy to continue to grow in the near term.

Access to quality care for older adults remains a barrier around the world.

The World Health Organization notes in their Decade of Healthy Ageing Baseline Report that 140 million adults 60 years or older are not able to meet their basic needs. But the countries that address—and improve—healthcare will be able to keep people healthier for longer, both increasing a person’s economic contribution to society and reducing the economic burden of healthcare costs.

Actionable insights are needed for stakeholders to
support healthy aging
Explore case studies by theme
Healthcare Access

Ensuring access to healthcare services for all older adults
  • Reimagining models of care
  • Improving the number and quality of geriatric healthcare specialists
  • Improving access in remote areas
  • Building age-friendly health systems

Long-Term Care

Strengthening long-term care (LTC) provision and support for caregivers
  • Building and improving formal LTC systems
  • Improving the quality of care in LTC facilities
  • Support family caregiving
  • Increasing the workforce of LTC professionals

Aging In Place

Supporting aging in place through community-centered care
  • Building community-driven support networks
  • Utilizing technology to facilitate care provision

Crisis Settings

Caring for older adults in crisis settings
  • Leveraging existing networks and practices
  • Mobilizing volunteers
  • Protecting mental health
  • Employing technology to scale provision of care

View case studies showing models for each pillar
Alpine Space
Case Study

Attracting care providers to new communities: CoNSENSo in the Alpine Space in Europe

Case Study

Integrating ICT-based solutions into care and services: InLife program across Europe

Case Study

Addressing the psychosocial needs of older adults during periods of crisis: Irish Association of Social Workers model of practice during covid-19

Case Study

Improving the quality of long-term care: the Living Lab in the Netherlands

Case Study

Leveraging technology-supported care for chronic conditions: Liverpool telehealth-based self-care program

Case Study

Expanding capacity of caregiving professionals: Asian Development Bank geriatric training program in Liaoning, China

Case Study

Using a whole-of-government approach and reorganizing its healthcare system, Singapore has emerged as a global leader in an integrated, community-centered approach to healthy aging.

Case Study

The Taiwanese government has established an accreditation program for age-friendly healthcare institutions that helps promote effective care for older adults throughout the country.

Case Study

Supporting aging in place in middle-income contexts: Thailand’s community-based care program

Case Study

Creating mutual support and volunteer networks: Intergenerational Self-Help Clubs in Vietnam

Costa Rica
Case Study

Community-driven, government-supported care networks: Costa Rica’s Red de Cuido

Case Study

Developing national health information systems for older adults: Mexico’s Strategic Information System in Health, Functional Dependency and Aging (SIESDE)

Case Study

Large-scale government-supported volunteer networks for crisis response: Peru and UN Volunteer program

Case Study

Formalizing integrated care systems for older adults: Uruguay’s National Integrated Care System

Case Study

Expanding the network of trained healthcare professionals: the first geriatric medicine fellowship program in Ghana

Case Study

Utilizing sustainable technology to improve access and equity: Kaaro Health in Uganda

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Covid-19 and older adults: Learning from the pandemic.

Estimated worldwide covid-19 deaths

Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted older adults, who are at greater risk of death or hospitalization if infected with the virus

  • In Europe, over 95% of fatalities due to covid-19 have been people 60 or older.
  • Eight out of ten covid-19 deaths reported in China have been in adults above 60 years old.
  • In the US, covid-19 patients ages 65 years and older are over 35 times more likely than those aged 5-19 years to be hospitalized.

Effective responses to protect and care for older adults during the pandemic

Awareness of older adults’ vulnerability in the pandemic has led to a wave of attempts to use what resources and systems are available to support health and wellbeing, whether it be through community support, mutualism or government resources.

Innovation practices have adopted three main methods:
  1. Adapting existing models or expanding established networks to meet pressing needs
  2. Mobilizing volunteers to care for and support vulnerable populations including older adults
  3. Leveraging technology to facilitate and scale care and service provision

Multi-stakeholder collaboration drives innovation and effective practices

Key stakeholders in innovations for healthy aging

Droup of key stakeholders

The importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration

  • To coordinate action — The healthcare system is fragmented. Many actors have an interest in the wellbeing of older adults, but their agendas are often misaligned or even competing. Finding areas of convergence and increasing coordination can improve outcomes.

  • To share knowledge — The fragmented community of stakeholders scatters knowledge across multiple silos. When stakeholders collaborate, they can share knowledge and increase the likelihood of success. This collaboration also promotes replication and scaling of effective practices.

ARC initiative analyses have consistently found multi-stakeholder collaboration drives innovation and effective practices.

Relevant case studies


Explore the map

Flag of the UK UK

Leveraging technology-supported care for chronic conditions: Liverpool telehealth-based self-care program

Flag of Costa Rica COSTA RICA

Community-driven, government-supported care networks: Costa Rica’s Red de Cuido

Flag of Singapore SINGAPORE

Developing an integrated aging-ready healthcare system: Singapore’s national care system

Return on investment
& Impact Analysis


The impact and return of innovations and effective practices can have a major effect, including the wellbeing of patients, success of medical infrastructures, and the general economic health of a nation.

  1. Hospital-at-home

    63,000-87,000 deaths could be avoided in stroke patients 65+ years old in high-income countries between 2021 and 2030 with the hospital-at-home model, based on Economist Intelligence Unit estimates.

  2. Intergenerational Self-Help Clubs (ISHCs)

    If the ISHC expands to 10% of the age 55+ population in Vietnam by 2035, US$2.8m-3.3m per year could be saved in health costs by promoting physical activity.

  3. Technology-supported self-care for chronic conditions

    At least £2.4m (US$3.4m) could be saved in Liverpool and £218m (US$302m) in England per year by scaling the program up to all individuals over age 60.

  4. Fracture liaison services

    Fracture liaison service (FLS) could provide A $190m (US$147m) per year of cost savings to patients and health systems in Australia.

Read more about these Impact Areas in the full report.

Taking Action:
A Pivotal Moment to Build Momentum

The imperative of a whole-of-society approach
  • Promote a life-course to create better health in old age

  • Focus on the interconnected nature of mental health, physical health, and the social determinants of health to generate the greatest impact

Breaking down the silos between stakeholders
  • Engage older adults to establish innovative practices that meet this population’s needs

  • Align stakeholders to a common vision to promote transformational change, which takes time

Developing the evidence base
  • Establish meaningful, adaptable, and acceptable impact measures to drive a better understanding of successful innovation

  • Prioritize implementation plans to alleviate challenges that arise on the ground

  • Establish clear lines of accountability to support successful impact assessment measures and strong implementation design