Aging in the Philippines-A A +A
By Rox Peña
Thursday, October 17, 2013
I KNOW of a few people who have stayed long in the United States or in other countries but chose to return home in the Philippines for their retirement.
One reason is that they don’t want to stay in “home for the aged” a facility which is the norm in other countries. They believe they will be taken cared of better here in the Philippines with their families. It’s part of our culture to take care of our elders.
But how exactly are the Senior Citizens of the Philippines doing compared to other countries? An organization made an objective analysis and ranked countries by how well their ageing populations are faring. The report, released recently by the Global Age Watch Index, listed the Philippines as 44th among the 91 countries surveyed.
The report is based on four domains that are key enablers of older people's well-being: income, health, employment and education, and enabling environment. The full report can be viewed at http://www.helpage.org/global-agewatch/. I summarized the report according to the four indicators.
1. On income security: Income security describes access to a sufficient amount of income, and the capacity to use it independently, in order to meet basic needs in older age. Lack of cash often leads to other forms of deprivation and experiences of discrimination, humiliation and rejection, especially for older people living in urban areas without other household members to support them. The Philippines ranked very poorly at 73rd place in this domain.
2. Health status Advancing age is linked to physical frailty and is also closely associated with risk of the onset of ill-health and disability. Keeping healthy also affects older people’s abilities to achieve other outcomes linked with their wellbeing. This indicator includes life expectancy and psychological well-being. Again, the Philippines ranked poorly at 70th place in this domain.
3. Employment and education. This domain describes elements of the coping capacity and capability attributes of older people. Older people value their capacity to work and to be engaged in the labor market. On the other hand, education enhances older people’s functioning abilities and competencies within the constraints and opportunities of the societies in which they live. The Philippines fared very well at 17th place in this domain, better than the United Kingdom (24th) and Finland (27th).
4. Enabling environment. Older people want to have the freedom of choice to live independent and self-reliant lives. They wish to feel safe in the environment they are living in and have access to good public transport.
These aspects of societies affect individuals but are based on relationships, connected to ideas of social cohesion and inclusion. The Philippines also ranked very well at 21st place in this domain, better than Australia (25th) and Norway (22nd).
Overall, the Philippines ranked 44th over-all, better than Vietnam (53rd), South Korea (67th), Indonesia (71st), India (73rd) and Russia (78th). We ranked lower than Thailand (42nd), Sri Lanka (36th), China (35th) and Japan (10th). Sweden topped the list while the United States was at 8th place.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 18, 2013.