Ageing, social protection and socioeconomic challenges

Ageing and social protection

Region countries have Instruments on C. Ageing and social protection

Policies and instruments

Population aging is a global phenomenon. In 2022, there were 91 million older people in Latin America and the Caribbean, representing 14% of the regional population (which stood at 665 million). The number of older individuals is expected to increase in the coming years. In 2030, the older population is projected to reach 118 million, making up 16.7% of the total population. In 2050, as aging becomes a prevalent feature in almost all countries within the region, it's estimated that there will be approximately 190 million older individuals, accounting for a quarter of the regional population.

Advances in life expectancy over the past 50 years have been remarkable. Longer life brings opportunities when enjoying good health; nonetheless the regional reality reveals that the understanding of morbidity is still limited, and that even if people are living longer, it is not always with a good quality of life. As a result, the per capita health costs of the population aged 65 and over are three to five times higher than those for the younger population. Aging also presents challenges for pension and retirement systems, as there will be more beneficiaries, and benefits will have to be distributed over a much longer period.

The adaptation of social protection systems involves the integration of three fundamental pillars: pensions, basic healthcare and social services for autonomy. These three components act together to close protection gaps and develop capabilities. The pension and healthcare pillars correspond to social minimums that must function as a floor of social protection; guaranteeing this floor is the direct responsibility of the State. Social services for autonomy, on the other hand, operate at the levels of prevention and care, and they must be recognized as a public responsibility, sustained through a network of support that connects the minimum social protection and healthcare to other services designed to enhance elderly care.

Priority Measures

  • C.18 - 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.
  • C.19 - 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.
  • C.20 - 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.
  • C.22 - 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.
  • C.24 - 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.
  • C.25 - 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.
  • C.26 - 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.
  • C.28 - 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.
  • C.30 - 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.
  • C.31 - 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.