The report ranks the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries, with Sweden coming out on top and Afghanistan at the bottom. (Agencies)
It reflects what advocates for the old have been warning, with increasing urgency, for years: Nations are simply not working quickly enough to cope with a population graying faster than ever before.
By the year 2050, for the first time in history, seniors older than 60 will outnumber children younger than 15.
Truong Tien Thao, who runs a small tea shop on the sidewalk near his home in Hanoi, Vietnam, is 65 and acutely aware that he, like millions of others, is plunging into old age without a safety net.
He wishes he could retire, but he and his 61-year-old wife depend on the USD 50 a month they earn from the shop.
"People at my age should have a rest, but I still have to work to make ends meet," he said, while waiting for customers at the shop, which sells green tea, cigarettes and chewing gum.
"My wife and I have no pension, no health insurance. I'm scared of thinking about being sick, I don't know how I would pay for the medical care."
Thao's story reflects a key point in the report, which was released: Ageing is an issue across the world.
Perhaps surprisingly, the report shows that the fastest ageing countries are developing ones, such as Jordan, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Vietnam, where the number of older people will more than triple by 2050. All ranked in the bottom half of the index.
The Global Age Watch Index was created by elder advocacy group Help Age International and the UN Population Fund in part to address a lack of international data on the extent and impact of global ageing.
The world's rising economic powers, the so-called BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, rank lower in the index than some poorer countries such as Uruguay and Panama.
The index, released on the UN's International Day of Older Persons, compiles data from the UN, World Health Organization, World Bank and other global agencies, and analyses income, health, education, employment and age-friendly environment in each country.
The report ranks the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries, with Sweden coming out on top and Afghanistan at the bottom.