December 24, 2012

Latin America is facing a demographic earthquake, and older adults are at the epicentre.

The traditionally young population on the continent is aging and fertility rates are plummeting.

“The population is aging at a rapid rate. What took 50 or 80 years in Europe is taking just a few years here,” said Dorothea Schreck of Caritas Germany.

Although Schreck points out that aging is not necessarily synonymous with poor health, most Latin American countries lack sufficient specialized health services for older adults.

In addition, many of those people also face the last decades of their lives with no steady source of income.

Only 23 per cent of Peruvians over age 65 have pensions, according to the International Labour Organization.

The highest figure in the region is in Brazil which has 71 per cent of its elderly residents on pensions.