Ageing in the 21st Century: Chapter 4: The voices of older persons

“You are talking of a Second World Assembly on Ageing. What happened to the first? We were never consulted, yet you tell us a Plan of Action to address our situation emerged. Who made it?”

Older woman, Zimbabwe


(c) HelpAge International

Age Demands Action campaigners in Haiti.

Chapter 4 is the heart of the Ageing in the 21st Century report.

It summarises findings from consultations with 1,300 older men and women in 36 countries from all regions of the world and from a survey completed by the participants.

Older persons themselves share their experiences and describe how their lives have changed and what they expect from policymakers.

The Madrid Plan explicitly asks for consultation with older women and men to assess its implementation and impact.

This report is the first such comprehensive assessment of older person’s experiences using primarily qualitative, but also quantitative methods.

In addition to the consultations 1,150 of the participants completed a questionnaire, the results of which are included in Chapter 4 of the report.

The consultations reveal age discrimination is still pervasive around the world. Two thirds of those surveyed said they believe age discrimination exists in their everyday lives.

Over half said it is difficult to pay for essential services and almost a half also worry about their financial situation.

While a third of the respondents worked in paid employment in the last month, two thirds wish they had the opportunity to work for money.

Two thirds of the respondents also rate their current health status either as fair, bad or very bad. One third find it very hard to access healthcare.

Chapter 4: Contents

  • One process
  • Global survey on ageing
  • Highlights of the consultations
  • The findings in detail
  • Recommendations and key lessons

Download Chapter 4: Voices of older persons. (758kb)