Older people face many barriers to financial security. Life in low- and middle-income countries is full of risks and shocks, such as natural disasters, civil conflict, or the sudden death of a loved one. In older age, people are also at greater risk of falling into poverty because they have fewer opportunities to earn a living.
“ Where poverty is endemic, persons who survive a lifetime of poverty often face an old age of deepening poverty.”
-Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging
Many people who have worked hard all their lives are unable to support themselves in old age. Those employed in informal work such as manual labor or caregiving are paid little and excluded from entitlements such as pensions and health insurance.
In some countries, older people are denied access to credit or passed over for employment because of their age, even though they are qualified. Older people may also experience violence and abuse, a growing but underreported problem.
Data on important development indicators such as income security and health are missing for older people. When these incomplete data sets are used for global policy making, they can perpetuate age-discrimination and exclusion.
Supporting older people is a worthwhile investment in the future. When older people have an income, they invest in their families and communities. Older people support their adult children and pay for their grandchildren’s school fees. They also start businesses that drive local economies.
HelpAge develops pathways for older people to earn a living. Our network of close to 8,000 older people’s associations (OPAs) provide a range of resources including low-interest loans and skills training.
Social protection systems such as pensions are critical to preventing and reducing poverty. HelpAge advocates for cash transfers and universal pensions that help older people meet their basic needs and live with dignity.
HelpAge educates older people about their rights and entitlements. We also advocate for financial institutions to end discriminatory lending practices and local governments to increase investment in livelihood programs and trainings.
See our work in action
Learn how HelpAge India is working through older people's self-help groups to improve access to loans.
Learn how we're working with network member COSE to improve how pensions are delivered in the Philippines.
Learn how HelpAge is working to expand a pension program in Uganda to help older people meet their basic needs.