Unique HelpAge survey gives precious insight into ageing around world


By Navdha Malhotra

HelpAge International has published the results of its Insights on Ageing survey – a unique poll that gives a glimpse into what life is like for older people across the globe today.

An older woman is surveyed in Mozambique An older woman is surveyed in Mozambique

1265 older people from 32 countries took part in the survey, carried out last year as part of the HelpAge Network's Age Demands Action campaign.

For the first time, the survey asked older people directly for their views. It includes countries often absent from other global surveys such as Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Mozambique and Jamaica.

Key findings

  • Almost half of all respondents (48%) think the world is becoming a better place for older people, while 29% think it is getting worse.
  • 63% of older people find it hard to access healthcare when they need it.
  • 72% of older people say their income does not pay for basic services such as water, electricity, food and decent housing.

For more findings, download the full Insights on Ageing report.

Positive changes

HelpAge International's Campaigns Assistant Jennifer Williams collated the Insights on Ageing survey results.

She said: "This survey gives us a useful insight into what older people around the world think about ageing, and what they would like to see their governments do to make living in older age better.

"It was carried out during the HelpAge Network's global Age Demands Action campaign in 2010, in which older people worldwide stood up for their rights and called for change from their national governments.

"Results of the survey showed that many older people in developing countries are still finding it difficult to access basic healthcare, water, electricity and decent housing.

"More encouragingly, almost half of the respondents do think the world is starting to get better for older people. This shows that governments in developing countries are beginning to listen to older people and include them in policies and programmes."

The importance of older voices

HelpAge International's Director of Communications Jane Scobie added: "To tackle the challenges of an ageing population, the world needs to see older people not as a problem but as part of the solution.

"Older people are survivors, with lifetimes of experience to contribute. This is why it is so important to consult them directly.

"Their responses to this survey will be used now in our advocacy work, allowing them to be heard publicly and shared with decision makers."

A 69-year-old woman participant, who took part in the Age Demands Action march in Belize, said: "We older people need to get up and let the authorities know how we feel.

"Many times, we keep quiet and suffer in silence. We have to stop that foolishness and get up and let our voices be heard."

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Comments submitted for this page

  • SILVIO FARA (14 June 2013)

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  • Akol Simon (05 April 2012)

    Iam happy with what the old woman said.What I think is that we have to help the aged do that because in some places, they are not paid attention to and may not have the strengh and facilitation to do that.Lets work with the aged and keep raising their concerns.

  • Bakhiet Obey (16 March 2011)

    I think that this survey can change a lot regarding the governments' policies towards the elderly , it is a benefit for the elderly and thanks to HAI .I would like to add a proposal which I think it is better is to conduct dialogue with local communities about the survey results which have been reached through the local partners of HAI regarding the situations of the elderly, this adds a greater awareness of the issues of aging, can be addressed by the media and local communities, and thus finds the elderly sympathy bigger and stronger support from individuals, organizations and communities and governments.
    With my sincere wishes for your success
    Bakhit Obey

  • Biggie Siambede (07 March 2011)

    Really the job you are doing is so important and it has helped even us still in the productive age to realise that oder people are a solution to a wide range of problems we face today for thay them have experiance looking at where they have come from. We need to influence policy makers to take serious consideration.

  • mugema gerald (06 March 2011)

    Really you are doing a fantastic job, God reward u.

  • Higazi Abdelsadig (24 February 2011)

    it's high time for older people issues to addressed and cared for in an ageing world where older people are increasing; at the same time in many communities the older people rights and dignity are not protected. we need to work for and with the older people and support them as they spent their life serving the human being it's our role to enable them life happy and participate with their experience in all fields of life.

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