An aging population isn’t a great problem

There are more than 3.5 million over-65s living in the Netherlands. That’s about 20% of the population.

In 1990, 12.8% of the population was over 65. In other words: the Dutch population is aging.

That leads to higher pension costs and a greater demand for care.

A problem…

If you read my emails more often, you probably know that problems are important for storytelling. Problems give urgency to a story and create tension.

Is aging therefore storytelling gold?


In a good story, the central problem is (usually) solved. For example, a movie about evil aliens is most satisfying if the aliens are defeated at the end. That completes the story.

If aging is your central problem, you won’t be able to complete your story in a similar way. After all, you can’t solve the aging problem (without introducing radical plans).

It’s therefore better to focus on (smaller) problems that can be solved.

For instance:

Problem                                                                              Solution
Not all people receive the care they need.E-health (all people receive the care they need)
There are too few workers to bear the pension costs.A higher retirement age (enough workers to cover pension costs)

So yes, problems in your story are important. But you should always ask yourself the question: can I (partially) solve this problem?