Social protection for the elderly can improve welfare of an entire population

Daniel Horn, HelpAge International’s economic adviser for social protection.

Countries that passed and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals last year are keen on one principle: Leave no one behind. That includes the welfare and social protection of the world’s fast-growing elderly population.

Investing in social protection and welfare programs targeting and empowering the elderly makes economic — and social — sense, according to Daniel Horn, HelpAge International’s economic advisor for social protection.

“One thing to conceive of when that question is asked is to understand that old age is not a category you’re born into,” he told Devex. “We [all] get there. This isn't a stagnant, static population.”

The number of people aged 60 and up has doubled since 1980 and is seen to rise to 2 billion by 2050 — and will comprise 22 percent of the global population by then. This is due in part by previous development advocacies including the Millennium Development Goals to extend life expectancy.

“We protect each other, and that's how we survive and that's how species have survived,” Horn said. “By improving the lives of the elderly, you're not just improving lives of the elder. You're improving the lives of your parents, of your grandparents, of your family unit, of the community is protected.”

Watch the video clip above to hear more of Horn’s insights on aging, social protection and how investing on the welfare of the elderly can improve the welfare of an entire population.

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About the author

  • Lean 2

    Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.