Ageing without Social Security and the Covid-19 Pandemic in Ghana

Provisioning for the aged remains problematic in developing countries due to absence of reliable social security systems that cater for majority of the population who operate under precarious conditions in the informal sector. How did the aged without social security cope with existential costs before and during the Covid pandemic? This paper discusses insights about how the elderly experienced poverty, their coping mechanisms, and obligations of the state as duty-bearer before and during the pandemic. Methods used for the study include a case study design, involving a cross-sectional survey and qualitative interviews. Findings show that the elderly experienced poverty through lack of income, lack of food and ill-health. Less than a third could meet their living expenses, and over 60 percent of them continue to work in old age for their upkeep, and by relying on family support in difficult times. The state as a duty-bearer was virtually absent in the care of the aged. The Covid pandemic compounded their situation through jeopardised social relations, emotional stress, economic hardship and fear of patronising health facilities for regular care. The paper concludes that there is a lack of reliable social safety-nets for the care of the aged, except those who worked in the formal sector and are therefore covered by the national social security scheme. The paper recommends the establishment of a state-funded social security system to guarantee the welfare of the elderly and the creation of specialised units within the health care delivery system for the elderly.