Securing access to long-term care without hardship as an integral part of universal social protection systems

The demographic context is changing and societies will need to adapt. While population ageing is more advanced in certain countries, the transition will affect all countries, and the future pace of this demographic transition is projected to be faster in those countries whose populations are currently relatively younger and where resources are also comparatively scarcer. In many cases, these are low- and middle-income countries that lack universal social protection systems. This brief uses available statistics that take the threshold for old age as being either 60 years, 65 years or the official national retirement age and endeavours to highlight the practical challenges of threshold definition in the context of social protection policies. Focusing on long-term care (LTC) in the context of ageing, one of the objectives of social protection policies should be to ensure that efforts are made to prevent the need for LTC across the life cycle while also ensuring that all older persons in need of LTC can access it without suffering hardship and that those who provide it can enjoy continuous social protection coverage. This brief focuses specifically on the need to access LTC services without suffering financial hardship.