Today, one in ten people is over 65. However, in 30 years’ time, one in six people will be of this age. This problem affects the whole planet in two main ways. First if taxes are not changed there will not be enough taxpayers to fund pension schemes. And secondly there won’t be enough caregivers to look after so many people.

Many people are already working on various creative solutions to solve this problem. One of these solutions are robots working as caregivers. It could be a great way to address the caregivers shortage but it doesn’t help the financial side of the problem – someone has to pay for the purchase and maintenance of the robots. Switzerland on the other hand has come up with a solution that solves both problems and its called time banks.

What is a time bank?

Time banks are a unique and innovative way of exchanging services and resources and have gained popularity in Switzerland in past years. The concept is based on the idea of giving and receiving services without using money as a medium of exchange. Instead participants use time as currency with each hour of volunteer work provided is earning an hour of credit that can be exchanged for services from other members. One service that is gaining increasing popularity is the retirement time bank. Allows volunteers to care for elderly people who need help. The time they spend is then credited to their account.

How does a pension time bank work?

The system operates through the state social security system. This means that the time a person spends as a volunteer is deposited into their social security account. Eventually when that person reaches an age where they need help and support they can opt out of the time they have previously invested and have a volunteer help them.

When did it start?

Time banks have been around for quite a long time. But when it comes to providing care this initiative was launched in St. Gallen in 2015 under the name“Zeitvorsorge“. Since then more than 50,000 hours have been spent helping older people in the area. Currently only people over the age of 50 can become volunteers and caregivers for old people. This makes the generation gap much smaller and leads to better emotional support as people who grew up in a similar period can relate better to each other.

Expansion and growth of pensioners’ banks

The system has met with great interest not only in the regions of Switzerland but also worldwide. From November 2021 the service was also launched in Rapperswil-Jona. Zeitvorsorge is planning further expansion and also offers to share its experience and help any organization interested in doing something similar.

Internationally many countries have some kind of time bank. These include countries such as the USA, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and Singapore. However when it comes to banks that are closely linked to elderly care, only Beijing has a similar system. China’s capital offers one coin for every hour spent helping the elderly. They have even made some improvements to the whole system: time can also be donated to friends or family members who need care. What’s more any person who earns 10,000 coins is entitled to a place in a state care home.

In conclusion time banks are an innovative and efficient way of exchanging care and support. By using time instead of money individuals can provide care and support to others while receiving care and support when they need it. Time banks also help build stronger communities by fostering social connections and mutual support. As the world’s population continues to age, voluntary carebanks are likely to become even more important in providing care and support to those in need.

Have you thought about spending time to relax later? Share with us in the comments.