Costa Rica ranked 28 out of 91 countries on well being of its older citizens

An index of the well being of older people puts Costa Rica in 28th place globally and fourth in Latin America.

The index is called the Global AgeWatch, and it was set up by an advocacy group, HelpAge International, which says it helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives.

Costa Rica has about 10 percent of its population over 60, the index report noted, and the county was scored high in the health status domain, with a long life expectancy at age 60 of 23 years, with 18.4 of which expected to be in good health, the report said.

Some 93 percent of those over the age of 50 report feeling happy with the freedom of choice in their lives, but only 49 percent of the same group say they feel safe walking alone at night where they live, the report said.

Costa Rica scores lowest for income security at 60, with a high rate of old age poverty, the study said, noting that 31.6 percent of people aged 60 and over have an income of less than half the country’s median income.

The country scored lower than Chile, Uruguay and Argentina on the index, but it is the highest in Central America, where Honduras was at the bottom.

HelpAge said that the index used different indicators for the four key domains of income security, health status, education and employment, and enabling environment.  The index is a tool to measure progress and aims to improve the impact of policy and practice on aging populations, the organization said.

The index contains reports on 91 countries where enough data was available. Among other sources, the index incorporations date from the Gallup World View surveys, the organization said.

“The structure of our world is changing,” said Jane Scobie, HelpAge director of communications and advocacy. “Today there are more people over 60 than children under 5, in just two generations there will be more people over 60 than under 15. Some countries are simply aging, others are grappling with spiraling youth and aging populations.”

“Today Japan is the only country where 30 percent of the population is over 60. By 2050, 64 countries will join this club including Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Jordan and Nicaragua. In other countries such as Eritrea, Kenya and Cameroon the population of younger people (under 15) will decline between 2012 and 2050, but still remain high (around 30 percent) at the same time the proportion over 60 years will also grow to around 8 to 9 percent.”

The country that earned the top score is Sweden, followed by Norway and Germany. They were followed by The Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, The United States and Iceland. Japan was in 10th position.

“New plans, laws and budgets are needed,: said Ms. Scobie. “Today, around 100,000, older men and women in 58 countries are meeting with their governments to take forward these issues as part of Age Demands Action. This growing global movement of action has achieved policy changes with the potential to help over 10 million older adults in the last five years.”

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