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Care Guides > The Best Countries for Older Adults to Live - Which Provide the Best Elderly Care?

The Best Countries for Older Adults to Live - Which Provide the Best Elderly Care?

Map of the world with countries labelled

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

As both our quality of life and the medical care available to us improve, human average life expectancy is increasing.

We're therefore seeing greater numbers of older adults in our societies and communities than ever before.

With the number of adults at retirement age expected to grow in all regions of the world, we need high-quality elderly care services to accommodate the world’s ageing population.

Read on to find out which countries have the best elderly care – and where the UK factors in.


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In this article:

  1. Which countries have the best elderly care?
  2. Best elderly care by continent
  3. Health Care Index
  4. Different care systems
  5. Best countries for elderly people to live in



Which Countries Have the Best Elderly Care?

Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and the United States are the countries with the best elderly care. Meanwhile, Great Britain ranks in the top 15.

This is based on factors such as pensions coverage, healthcare systems, care services – including residential and nursing homes – social support and government grants.

When we look at the countries doing it right, it could be said that the UK has some way to go if we want to rank at the top of the list for elderly care.

However, although it’s true that we have some catching up to do, care solutions are being developed and discussed all the time that could have a serious impact on the UK care systems of the future.


Male carer giving a meal to an elderly male resident





The Countries With the Best Elderly Care

As issues like feelings of isolation and health barriers make it even harder to continue living in our own homes, care homes and other care services must step in to help. When it’s time to take care of older adults, these are the countries getting it right:


Norway

With its strong sense of community, 100% pension coverage and financial security for older adults, it’s no wonder that Norway is consistently found in the number one spot. Norway also has the best income and employment rates for older adults.


Sweden

Coming in at a close second, Sweden funds its elderly care with municipal taxes and government grants. These subsidised costs mean that older adults are much happier and more comfortable in their care homes, reporting high rates of satisfaction with safety and civic freedom, as well as public transport.


Switzerland

Swiss healthcare in general is pretty amazing – and this is no exception when it comes to elderly care. Older adults in Switzerland report feeling safe and supported in their own homes and can expect to live into their mid-80s in relatively good health. Switzerland also has an above regional average rate of older people’s feeling of social connectedness and civic freedom satisfaction. Impressive!


Germany

Although it doesn’t yet offer 100% pension coverage, Germany is making waves with its research into new technology that could further improve and empower its care system. Germany also ranks highly for social connectedness and civic freedom for its older population.


Canada

Canadians have the longest life expectancy in the world, so this country is obviously doing a great job caring for older adults! Good pensions, income security and top-notch social support have helped Canada to earn its spot in the top five. In fact, Canada’s capital, Ottawa, has even pledged to invest a large sum of money over the next decade to support its ageing population and home-care programmes.


The US

The United States consistently performs well in care service ratings- and with the spacious care facilities and bright, airy bedrooms available to care seekers, living in an American care home is unsurprisingly a much sought-after luxury. Across the US, older adults consistently score this country highly for safety and social connectedness.


Great Britain

So, where does Great Britain rank? Well, the good news is that GB usually ranks in the top 15 countries – and sometimes in the top ten!

Although we’re not yet in a medal position alongside the Scandinavian countries, we're nonetheless providing a good standard of care for older adults, with high levels of satisfaction for social connectedness, safety and civic freedom.

By taking inspiration from and adopting the most successful methods used by the top-ranking countries, we will be able to provide even better care for older adults in the future.

Other countries that consistently come top of the list of great places for older adults to live include Japan, The Netherlands and Iceland.




Best Elderly Care By Continent

For the 94 countries recorded in the 2023 Health Care Index, scores vary from 85.9 (Taiwan) to Venezuela (39.3).


Here are the countries with the best elderly care in each continent:

Continent Which Country Has the Best Elderly Care? Health Care Index Score
Africa South Africa 63.7
Asia Taiwan 85.9
Europe France 79.4
North and Central America Mexico 72.5
Oceania Australia 75.3
South America Ecuador 69.5



Health Care Index Score

The Health Care Index Score measures the quality of the health care systems in different countries. Overall health care is important to everyone, but especially older adults. Here are the top 30 countries:

Rank Country Health Care Index Score
1 Taiwan 85.9
2 South Korea 83.0
3 Japan 80.3
4 France 79.4
5 Denmark 79.2
6 Spain 77.9
7 Thailand 77.9
8 Austria 77.2
9 Netherlands 77.1
10 Finland 77.1
11 Norway 76.7
12 Czech Republic 75.5
13 Australia 75.3
14 Belgium 75.2
15 Luxembourg 75.0
16 Switzerland 74.5
17 United Kingdom 74.1
18 Estonia 74.1
19 Qatar 73.8
20 Israel 73.5
21 Lithuania 73.2
22 Mexico 72.5
23 Sri Lanka 72.0
24 Germany 71.9
25 Portugal 71.5
26 New Zealand 71.0
27 Turkey 71.0
28 Singapore 70.9
29 Canada 70.4
30 Malaysia 70.0

Source: Health Care Index (2023)





Different Care Systems

Different countries have their own care systems. The following are some examples of different types of care system around the world:


Staggered care systems

The UK follows a ‘staggered care’ system, where older adults are gradually given more support as they age; from initial home help with tasks like cooking and cleaning, to care and medical support from trained carers who either visit their home daily or live there with them, all the way to going into a residential care home or nursing care home permanently.


Liberham Lodge care home


Private care systems

In the US, the care system is largely private. For example, the Medicaid health programme helps older adults with their medical costs, including covering 61% of their nursing home care. If an older adult wants to move into a nursing home, these are often funded by private healthcare too.


Publicly funded care systems

In Belgium, most of the care is publicly funded by social contributions and general taxes. What’s more, in Belgium family members do their best to ensure that their elderly relatives can stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Belgium also offers ‘service flats’ for older adults who want to live independently, but still have access to home help services, assisted living and cooked meals if they need them.


Cohabiting care systems

In countries like Germany, a cohabiting scheme means older adults can live together in a community apartment to better promote independence while also giving them the opportunity to socialise. Germany also has ‘multigeneration’ centres which older adults and young families alike can visit for a spot of socialising or to use the care services available.


Family care systems

Countries like Italy don’t tend to have as many care homes as other countries. This is because in Italy, elderly care is seen to be the responsibility of the family – so the majority of older people will continue to live at home for the duration of their old age, supported and cared for by their family members. If a person has no family members, this is the moment where Italian institutions will step in to help.





Best Countries For Elderly People To Live In

Overall Ranking Country Life Expectancy Health Care Index Score World Happiness Report Score Safety Index Score
1 Switzerland 84.3 74.5 7.571 76.4
2 Finland 82.5 77.1 7.804 73.2
3 Denmark 81.4 79.2 7.586 73.4
4 Netherlands 82.8 77.1 7.464 72.7
5 Taiwan 81.0 85.9 6.584 83.8
6 Japan 85.0 80.3 5.94 76.9
7 Austria 82.1 77.2 7.268 72.7
8 Iceland 83.5 67.0 7.53 75.1
9 Norway 82.9 76.7 7.392 66.5
10 Israel 83.5 73.5 7.157 67.4
11 Spain 84.0 77.9 6.491 64.3
12 Luxembourg 82.8 75.0 7.324 64.9
13 South Korea 83.5 83.0 5.845 74.5
14 Czech Republic 79.9 75.5 6.965 73.4
15 Singapore 84.1 70.9 6.377 70.8
16 Australia 83.9 75.3 7.183 54.5
17 Germany 81.9 71.9 7.155 62.4
18 United Arab Emirates 78.5 69.6 6.561 84.9
19 Estonia 79.2 74.1 6.189 74.9
20 Slovenia 81.9 65.3 6.461 75.8
21 Canada 83.0 70.4 7.103 55.7
22 Hong Kong 85.3 65.8 5.477 78.5
23 New Zealand 82.8 71.0 7.277 54.2
24 France 83.1 79.4 6.69 44.7
25 Sweden 83.3 68.6 7.363 51.5
26 Portugal 82.7 71.5 5.929 68.5
27 United Kingdom 81.8 74.1 7.064 53.1
28 Belgium 82.2 75.2 6.834 50.9
29 Italy 84.0 66.3 6.483 53.1
30 Thailand 77.7 77.9 5.985 61.3
31 Croatia 79.0 63.9 5.882 75.4
32 Lithuania 76.4 73.2 6.255 67.0
33 Saudi Arabia 75.7 61.2 6.494 75.4
34 Slovakia 78.0 60.1 6.331 68.6
35 Poland 79.3 57.6 6.166 70.8
36 United States 79.1 68.6 6.951 51.0
37 Cyprus 81.5 54.7 6.223 68.6
38 Malta 83.1 45.4 6.602 57.5
39 Ireland 82.8 51.8 7.085 54.1
40 China 77.5 67.5 5.339 73.7
41 Costa Rica 80.9 63.1 7.069 46.2
42 Panama 79.1 61.0 6.18 56.3
43 Uruguay 78.4 68.4 6.431 47.3
44 Turkey 78.5 71.0 4.948 59.9
45 Kuwait 75.9 59.7 6.106 67.4
46 Romania 76.5 56.5 6.14 68.0
47 Chile 80.7 64.4 6.172 41.9
48 Latvia 75.7 62.4 6.032 62.3
49 Mexico 75.4 72.5 6.317 45.6
50 Sri Lanka 77.6 72.0 4.325 58.6
51 Greece 82.8 .57.5 5.723 53.0
52 Hungary 77.3 54.4 5.992 66.1
53 Colombia 77.9 67.9 6.012 39.8
54 Ecuador 77.7 69.5 5.764 40.6
55 Guatemala 75.1 67.5 6.435 40.3
56 Philippines 71.7 67.8 5.88 57.3
57 Serbia 76.5 52.2 6.078 61.8
58 Bosnia and Herzegovina 77.9 54.9 5.813 57.1
59 Malaysia 76.7 70.0 5.384 47.1
60 Argentina 77.2 68.9 5.929 35.7
61 Lebanon 79.3 63.2 4.584 53.8
62 Georgia 74.2 54.8 4.891 74.1
63 Russia 73.0 59.7 5.477 60.7
64 Bulgaria 75.5 56.7 5.266 62.0
65 Vietnam 75.8 59.3 5.411 55.5
66 Brazil 76.6 58.2 6.33 33.4
67 Albania 79.0 49.6 5.117 54.3
68 Kazakhstan 73.9 59.9 6.152 47.3
69 North Macedonia 76.3 55.3 5.101 59.1
70 Jordan 75.0 64.9 4.395 59.0
71 Nepal 71.7 57.0 5.269 62.4
72 Azerbaijan 73.3 46.8 5.171 68.2
73 Tunisia 77.4 57.1 4.596 55.4
74 Indonesia 72.3 60.5 5.345 54.1
75 Peru 77.4 55.9 5.84 32.4
76 Pakistan 67.8 59.5 4.934 57.7
77 India 70.4 65.1 3.819 55.4
78 Morocco 77.4 45.8 4.918 53.2
79 Algeria 77.5 53.6 4.887 47.4
80 Iran 77.3 52.3 4.721 50.1
81 Dominican Republic 74.7 55.5 5.545 38.8
82 Belarus 75.2 47.1 5.534 43.6
83 Ukraine 72.5 55.2 4.875 53.3
84 South Africa 64.9 63.7 4.956 24.6
85 Kenya 67.5 61.8 4.607 43.0
86 Iraq 71.1 43.5 4.854 53.9
87 Egypt 72.5 47.6 4.283 52.8
88 Bangladesh 73.6 42.3 5.025 37.4
89 Venezuela 72.3 39.3 4.892 17.4
90 Nigeria 55.8 48.5 4.759 34.5

Our findings show that the best country for older adults to live in is Switzerland. Switzerland has the 3rd highest life expectancy, the 16th highest Health Care Index score, the 3rd highest score on the World Happiness Report and the 5th highest Safety Index score.

The other countries which make up the top five are Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom ranks all the way down at No. 27. The United Kingdom has the 27th highest life expectancy, the 17th highest Health Care Index score, the 17th highest score on the World Happiness Report and the 62nd highest Safety Index score.

From the countries we collected data on, our findings show that the worst country for older adults to live in is Nigeria. The other countries in the bottom five are Venezuela, Bangladesh, Egypt and Iraq.


Sources:

Life expectancy (2020)

Health Care Index (2023)

World Happiness Report (2023)

Safety Index (2023)





Other sources

https://www.cbsnews.com/media/the-10-best-countries-to-live-in-for-people-over-60/

https://healthcare-digital.com/digital-healthcare/what-do-care-systems-look-around-world

https://melrosecare.co.uk/2020/02/10/which-countries-are-the-best-when-it-comes-to-elderly-care/ https://arosacare.com/senior-care-around-the-world/






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