UN Paper: Older Persons and the Post-Covid-19 Agenda

SUMMARY


• The Covid-19 pandemic has been a multidimensional shock affecting the lives of billions of people. It has exerted a disproportionate impact on the health, lives, rights, and welfare of older people. 

• Covid-19 has acted as an accelerant and a stress test concerning how prepared individuals and countries are for an ageing society. 

• The rights and needs of older persons need to be protected in a post-pandemic world of fewer resources. With an estimated ninety million people (many of them old) pushed into extreme deprivation the need to protect the vulnerable has increased.

 • Post pandemic policies aimed at ‘building back better’ are an opportunity to bring about the deep-seated social and economic adjustments that a rising number of older people require. 

• The pandemic has revealed a number of policy and institutional weaknesses that need to be corrected. The diversity in outcomes for older people across countries creates an opportunity to identify best practice in a range of ageing related issues. 

• The pandemic represents an opportunity to change the narrative around ageing by reducing ageism, raising awareness of diversity in ageing, redefining ‘old’ and informing people of longevity trends and the importance of healthy ageing. 

• Governments have adopted policies that have led to substantial falls in economic growth in order to save lives. This reveals how much they value older lives. Consistency requires they continue to invest financially in the needs of older people post-pandemic. 

• The pandemic has shown that in the context of an ageing society a healthy economy requires a healthy population. Focusing on a life cycle perspective to ensure that the current young become the healthiest and most productive future old is crucial. 

• That requires investing in healthy ageing and tackling the socio-economic inequalities that have been revealed by the crisis. 

• Post pandemic governments will need to invest in pro-growth policies to bolster a weakened economy. Given the growing proportion of older people, this will require integrating ageing into economic development. 

• Employment policies aimed at older workers are needed in order to produce growth and to minimise the long-term consequences of Covid-19 on older people. 

• The contribution of older people extends substantially beyond the economy which needs to be incorporated into responses to rebuild after the crisis.

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