The Colombian Pension Administrator (Administradora Colombiana de Pensiones – Colpensiones) carried out a study with the support of academics and international experts, looking to build closer and more direct relationships with older people and develop a deeper understanding of their needs. In addition, the study looked to assess the economic dynamics of the different resources and income sources of the silver market, which represents an estimated 12 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The research enriches the understanding of this economic sector, and is also a tool and source of information to create new opportunities, given that this population group has been the focal point of little research but has enormous potential.
Understanding the dynamics of this group means creating public policies that are more focused on the long term and strategies to improve national economies and citizens’ quality of life in general, given that the issue does not just impact older people, as everyone will fall into this category at some point.
The vast majority of countries around the world have ageing populations. A combination of different factors has led to this unquestionable reality, including lower birth rates and improved health which increases life expectancy. According to European Union (EU) estimates, one in three EU citizens will be over 65 by 2060.
In the case of Colombia, according to the National Statistics Institute (Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística – DANE), for the period covering 1985–2050 the total population will double from 31 million to 61 million people, and trends suggest the population is ageing.
In 1985 there were 2.2 million people in Colombia over 60 years of age. By 2015, this figure rose to 5.2 million and by 2050, that number is expected to reach 14.1 million. The drop in birth rates and, in particular, the increase in life expectancy are factors that have gradually contributed to the ageing population.
Colpensiones is responsible for correctly administrating and paying the Average Premium Scheme (Régimen de Prima Media – RPM), as well as the complementary social service scheme of Periodic Financial Benefits (Beneficios Económicos Periódicos – BEPS), which provide quality care and build trust with citizens. However, for the organization, this alone is not sufficient. It is also committed to offering well-being alternatives for older people.
For this reason, since 2017, a “value-added services” process has been implemented as part of the Colpensiones value chain. This includes a “well-being and life quality management” (Gestión de Bienestar y Calidad de Vida) model that promotes the development of an innovative and inclusive range of services aimed at older people. These services help improve well-being and, above all, allow older people to reconnect with their purpose in life. This improves the quality of life of not only those who directly receive support from Colpensiones (pensioners and BEPS scheme beneficiaries), but also the population of older people as a whole, thanks to a broad coverage model that can be easily scaled up by other public and private entities.
The well-being model was built on an approach of subjective well-being and based on innovative research processes, combining techniques that focus on “being” and co-creation. In 2019, this model came to fruition and 12 products and programmes were implemented, contributing to a better quality of life for older people. Through different lines of action, this initiative develops programmes, workshops, alliances and other activities that at the same time become opportunities for the economic development of Colombia. Based on all this knowledge and experience with pensioners and beneficiaries, Colpensiones carried out the first silver economy study in Colombia, with the aim of analysing the well-being, evolution, habits and opportunities of this population.