The following question was asked on an IELTS test recently held in Australia. You can spend 40 minutes on this task. You have to write at least 250 words.
The number of older people is increasing. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
Thanks to improved living standards and universal accessibility of medical facilities, more and more people now live to be seventy or eighty. This is an achievement worthy of celebration because longevity is a positive thing. It is an indication that all those social welfare schemes are bearing fruit. But what exactly happens when the number of older people in the society increases? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend? Let’s take a look at both sides of the issue.
Much of medical science is concerned with ways to increase the life span of a person. Longevity is one of the factors that determine the livability of a country. In short, countries where the people enjoy good longevity are thought to be much better than countries that have poor longevity. Part of this is due to the fact that longevity is a measure of the effectiveness of other wellness factors. The fact that more and more people now cross the 60 or 70 milestone is a good indication that living standards have considerably improved. And that is a good thing.
The rise in the older population has other benefits too. Older people are far more experienced and knowledgeable. They have what it takes to guide the younger generation in the right direction.
On the other hand, the older people aren’t necessarily productive. Most of them don’t work or earn. Older people also need special care and medical attention. In most cases they are dependent on their children or other close relatives either due to financial problems or due to physical inabilities.
Looking at both sides of the situation, it is felt that although the rise in the number older people is a positive sign, it is not without its drawbacks. We can’t aspire for a society wherein older people outnumber younger people. The future of a nation, after all, is in its youth.