GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Age with Care: Long-term Care in Latin America and the Caribbean

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In Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 8 million older people are unable to independently complete at least one basic activity of daily living, such as eating, bathing or showering, or getting in and out of bed. This situation, called care dependence, affects 12% of people over age 60 and nearly 27% of people over age 80 in the region. The demand for long-term care services will more than triple in the next 30 years, due primarily to population aging and the epidemiological transition. The region will also see a drop in the traditional supply of long-term care services, which are based mainly on the unpaid work of women in families. Given this outlook, societies and governments must ready themselves to support care-dependent people and their caregivers, while at the same time advancing gender equity. Countries need to design long-term care systems, and they need to do so now. This publication addresses five key questions for countries in the region that wish to start this process: 1) Why is long-term care an issue that cannot wait?; 2) How do countries design a long-term care system?; 3) What are the countries in the region doing?; 4) How much would a long-term care system cost?; 5) Where should we start?