In Colombia, 14% of the population (more than seven million people) are adults over 60 years of age. Of this percentage, 55.1% are women and 44.9% men.
With the objective of analyzing the current situation of this population group, the Institute of Aging of the Javeriana University and the Intellectus Memory and Cognition Center of the San Ignacio University Hospital joined forces to present the research ‘Colombia: impact of the current crises on the rights of the elderly’.
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In this sense, the report addresses the impact that the food, financial and fuel crisis has had on the fulfillment of the rights of older women and men, as well as the behavior assumed by them and their environment to cushion its effects.
The report also highlights the findings obtained in four categories: economic security and work; supports, housing and family of residence; health and participation, physical, social and cultural environments.
Economic and labor situation
According to the report, in the country only 25.5% of older adults have a pensionwhich has generated that a large part of this population group has to extend their working life.
The results show that this situation is more latent in rural areas and that the jobs with the highest performance are domestic jobs and care work, which generally do not have remuneration or recognition.
For its part, it is highlighted that, according to figures from the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane) with a cutoff to 2021, 1.8 million people aged 60 or over (28.4%) are in a situation of monetary poverty.
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In 2021, 23.1% of older adults received family or government monetary contributions, such as social assistance and conditional transfers.
For that same period of time, the data shows that 60% of older people in urban areas lived in their own home and the majority had public services. However, the payment of these meant, in many cases, constant deprivation in aspects such as nutrition and health.
The findings also show that, according to data from Dane, as households made up of a couple and one-person households are increasing in Colombia, the daily supports of the elderly could be significantly reduced in the long term.
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How is the health outlook?
According to the research, Almost all of the elderly in the country are affiliated to the health system. However, half of these belong to the subsidized regime.
In this regard, the results also indicate that economic and mobility limitations can make it difficult to access health services and the delivery of medicines.
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Regarding the effects generated by the pandemic, among the most serious impacts are: mortality and lethality; isolation; delays in consultations and in the control of other pathologies; and increased emotional distress, such as loneliness, stress, worry, and depression.
Likewise, it is highlighted that during the health emergency there was an increase in social visibility, the receipt of financial and in-kind aid, and prioritization in the National Vaccination Plan.
Other relevant conclusions
The report highlights that the insecurity and hostility of the physical environment, the increase in transportation costs and the perception of discrimination These are some of the factors that have made it difficult for older adults to participate in different social and cultural environments.
On the other hand, the results of the study allowed us to conclude that the country has made progress in considering the rights of this population group. However, this occurs in a context with diverse problems and significant inequality.