Identifying, documenting, and advocating for the needs of older adults in developing countries

Considering that most of the growth in the older population in the next 30 years will be in developing countries, we must find ways to partner with aging advocates globally and exchange our gerontological expertise. The World Health Organization (WHO) (2008) predicted that rapid population growth in developing countries coupled with socioeconomic problems is likely to increase the vulnerability of elders. In the developing world, including Africa, millions of older people suffer from poverty and lack access to basic necessities; 80% of elders have no regular income and 100 million people earn less than a dollar a day (Sowers & Rowe, 2007; United Nations, 1993). Increased vulnerability may become widespread, considering that of the 2 billion older adults projected globally by 2050, over 80% will be living in developing countries (United Nations, 2008b). As young adults continue to migrate to urban areas, more older adults will be left without their traditional family support systems. Assistance is needed to empower elders worldwide, particularly in developing countries that lack social insurance and health insurance.

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