Ageing, social protection and socioeconomic challenges

Ageing and social protection

Region countries have Instruments on Ageing and social protection

Policies and instruments

Population ageing is a worldwide phenomenon. In 2015, in Latin America and the Caribbean, the population aged 60 years and over numbered over 70 million, representing 11.2% of the regional total. In another 15 years, this segment will expand to over 119 million, and will represent 16.7% of the total population. The past 50 years have seen notable gains in life expectancy. Never in human history have people lived so long as they do today.

This reality poses some profound questions about the needs and interests of a population segment that is growing steadily and swiftly. The social protection systems that were created in the 1960s in Latin America and the Caribbean still fell short of those achieved in Europe. A longer life brings with it opportunities for people in good health, but the reality shows that the understanding of morbidity is still limited in the region and while people are living longer, they do not always enjoy a high quality of life. As a result, health costs per capita for the over-65 age group are three to five times higher than for young people. Ageing also affects pensions and retirement allowances, as the numbers of beneficiaries increase and benefits are paid over a much longer time.^ Similarly, as the population ages an ever greater proportion of persons can expect to reach an age —75 years or more— at which they are at greater risk of becoming frail and of developing multi-morbidity conditions that require care on a continuing basis.

Priority Measures

  • Quality aging

    Formulate policies with a gender perspective to ensure a good quality of life in old age, not only for urban dwellers, but also for those who live in rural and forest areas.
  • Age structure in policies and programs

    Design and implement public policies, plans and programmes —at all political and administrative levels— that take into account changes in the age structure, in particular population ageing, and the opportunities and challenges associated with these changes over the medium and long term.
  • Quality of life and full participation of older people

    Design policies at the national, federal and local levels to guarantee quality of life, the development of potential and the full participation of older persons, taking account of the need for intellectual, emotional and physical interaction and the different situation of men and women, with emphasis on the groups that are most susceptible to discrimination, such as older persons with disabilities, those without economic resources or pension coverage, or those who live alone or lack a support network.
  • Eradicate discrimination towards the elderly

    Eradicate the multiple forms of discrimination that affect older persons, including all forms of violence against older women and men, taking into account the obligations of States with respect to ageing with dignity and rights.
  • Priority to the elderly

    Give the highest priority to older persons in plans for disaster prevention, mitigation and relief, including disaster preparedness, relief worker training on emergency prevention and response and the availability of goods and services.
  • Intergenerational solidarity

    Formulate policies to take advantage of the unique opportunity provided by the demographic dividend and that include coordinated investments in education and health and the creation of decent work on the basis of intergenerational solidarity.
  • Adequate health policies

    Bring health policies into line with the challenges of the varied and changing epidemiological profile arising from ageing and the epidemiological transition, reinforcing the fight to eradicate communicable diseases and implementing actions for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases traditionally referred to as non-communicable, but now known to be strongly influenced by conditions of social and economic vulnerability in the early years of life, and ensure that these policies take into account gender, age, regional, ethnic and socioeconomic specificities.
  • Public policies with priority on the elderly

    Include older persons as a priority focus of public policy and as fundamental stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of policies aiming to improve the quality of life of older persons.
  • Dignified old age

    Foster policies to encourage individuals to save during their active, productive life so that in the long run they can enjoy a decent old age.
  • Social protection for the elderly

    Promote the development of allowances and services relating to social security, health and education in the social protection systems targeting older persons to improve their quality of life, economic security and social justice.
  • Rights, dignity and well-being for families and the elderly

    Include care in social protection systems, through allowances, social and health-care services and economic benefits that maximize autonomy, in particular for older persons, and guarantee the rights, dignity and well-being of families and older persons, including the right to a dignified death with proper care, without any form of discrimination or violence.