Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting the ageing population theme, as identified by GlobalData.

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed further stress on health care delivery systems worldwide, exposing the structural ageism that led to high rates of morbidity and mortality among older populations. These circumstances have prompted the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), World Economic Forum (WEF), and Global Age-Watch to call for the prioritising of medical, scientific, social, and financial preparedness for the ageing population as a global imperative.


The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the fragility of health and social care systems worldwide, particularly for marginalised groups such as older people, particularly those living in long-term care facilities. Older adults faced substantially higher mortality rates from the virus, with their health status before the pandemic determining their susceptibility to severe illness, recovery, and longer-term health and well-being. Governments and healthcare organisations spent billions on providing services for the healthcare sector.

Increasing healthcare costs

Globally, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket, driven by medical care spending devoted to the elderly. An ageing population leads to increased cost pressures through increases in health and social care costs, as well as expenditure on pensions. There is a need to reduce waste, become more efficient, and streamline processes to save money, while at the same time providing patients with a higher level of care.

A decade of healthy ageing

Public health policies that focus on preventative measures are crucial as effective prevention slows down the demand for healthcare resources and decreases costs. The UN has proclaimed 2021-2030 as the ‘Decade of Healthy Ageing’, with the WHO leading international action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and communities.

The initiative sets out a framework for healthy ageing where health and wellbeing in later life are not just about maintaining physical and mental health but also about creating an environment that enables the elderly population to live their lives to the full. The ‘Decade of Healthy Ageing’ aims to promote this action globally to combat ageism, create more age-friendly cities and communities, and secure integrated healthcare and long-term care so that more people can live more healthy and active lives.

Value-based care programmes

In January 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing (HHVBP) model. The HHVBP is a Medicare project that aims to tie reimbursement to quality of care. Under the model, home health providers are paid based on how well they keep their patients healthy and out of the hospital.

The model became a significant step towards the acceptance of patient and caregiver protocols for remote care management for American seniors, regardless of geography. CMS has recently proposed an expansion of HHVBP by approximately $310m, planned to take effect in 2022.

DATA initiative

The WHO is launching a new initiative to reflect the increasing role of technology in everyday life. The Digital and Assistive Technologies for Ageing (DATA) initiative encourages the development, synthesis, and use of solutions that promote access to affordable, quality, digital, and assistive technologies for older people.

Working with service providers and users, industries, and civil society, DATA will span boundaries to produce more integrated and cohesive services for older people. The initiative builds healthy ageing initiatives and will be applicable in low, middle, and high-income contexts.

This is an edited extract from the Aging Population and Medical Devices – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.