Older woman in a state-subsidised home, Mozambique.
Photo: Eric Miller/World Bank
The UN estimates that, globally, one out of every ten persons is now 60 years or above; by 2050, one out of five will be 60 years or older; and by 2150, one out of three persons will be 60 years or older. The UN celebrates 1 October as the International Day of Older Persons. The 2008 theme is "Rights of Older Persons".
"The theme for 2008 is a reminder that human dignity must be at the centre of our focus," said ISSA Secretary General Hans-Horst Konkolewsky. "Experience shows that there are few instruments that are as effective at ensuring the basic security and dignity of older persons as universal social security health and pension schemes, in both developed and developing countries."
For social security, population ageing is at the heart of the challenge brought by demographic changes. The impact of an ageing population on social security is manifold. It increases the dependency ratio between the non-working and the working population, as well as the demand on the healthcare system. In some contexts, ageing may weaken the sustainability of old-age insurance schemes,and increase needs for long-term care programmes. ISSA research confirms that social security schemes worldwide are adopting proactive policies and measures to invest in people, and to promote health and employment, in order to cope with these developments.
The ISSA has identified demographic change as a priority challenge for social security organizations during its current programmatic triennium, and is working with its members to strengthen the analysis of the impact of ageing and the capacity of social security schemes to plan for, and cope with, these changes.