Older people are generally poor in Myanmar, especially in rural areas, but they remain closely connected to family for support according to results of a 2012 survey of older persons are documented in a report by John Knodel and HelpAge International: The Situation of Older Persons in Myanmar.
In addition, in 2015 HelpAge published Global AgeWatch Index that ranks countries by how well their ageing populations are faring. In 2018, a Global AgeWatch Insight with focus on health and care, and universal health coverage (UHC) was released. Among 12 selected countries, you can find specific country report card for Myanmar.
Situation of older people
The number of older people is growing: Theshare of older people (aged 60+) in Myanmar’s population is anticipated to increase from about 10% today to nearly 18.6% by 2050. About 70% of older people need some assistance with daily living activities. This varies only modestly, according to marital status and gender.
Older people struggle with poverty: In terms of income and assets, older people, especially those in rural areas, can be described as generally poor. A third of older people live in homes without electricity and over half (58%) lack running water, and these situations are particularly common in rural areas. Although the situation has improved over the past decade, on average the homes of older people have few possessions.
Below are the key statistics on Myanmar’s population of older people:
|Population aged 60 and above (total)||5,443,000||62,253,000|
|Population aged 60 and above (% of total population)||10.0||18.6|
|Older women aged 60+ (% of total population)||5.86||10.74|
|Life expectancy (males)||63.67||69.01|
|Life expectancy (females)||69.75||75.62|
|Old-Age Dependency Ratio (Age 65+ / Age 15-64)||9.1||19.5|
|Rural older people (% of total population)||9.2|
|Urban older people (% of total population)||8.64|
|Older persons living alone aged 60 and above (% of total population aged 60+)||5.0|
Government policies related to older people
National Policy for the Elderly: Myanmar’s Action Plan on Ageing 2014 encourages incentives for employers to hire older people, as well as creating incentives to allow older people to gain access to low interest loans for their homes and renovation. It focuses around income security, enhancing access to resources and elderly participation within communities.
Health and care: Community based health care programmes for the elderly have been established by previous national policies, now the government is prioritising preventing, controlling and care of non-communicable diseases and conditions. Health promotion, disease prevention and self-care for the elderly are also of high importance and are being addressed with specialised geriatrics desks and facilities in hospitals, clinics and wards as well as long-stay care facilities.
Older people’s associations: The Plan of Action on Ageing 2014 aims to strengthen cooperation between organisations supporting old people, also promoting activities with older people from NGOs. Forming senior citizens networks with NGOs and government networks to promote elderly participation and inclusion. Programmes include training activities, fundraising for small businesses, agricultural technology and water sanitation. Older People’s Self Help Groups (OPSHGs) are approved by the government. There are currently 63 OPSHGs reaching about 20,000 people.
Social pension: The first national, social pension in Myanmar was introduced in 2017. The Social Protection scheme is administered by the ministry of social welfare, relief and resettlement. The age of edibility is 85, as of 2018. There are special services from civil servants, permanent employees of state boards, armed forces personnel and state corporations and municipal authorities.
More information can be found on the Myanmar Government website: http://www.dsw.gov.mm/en/welfare-category/elderly-care-services
- Ageing network committee
- National Federation of Older People
The following are recent publications and resources related to Myanmar’s older population.
- The situation of older persons in Myanmar
- Reducing economic vulnerability in Myanmar
- Older people in community development
- HelpAge International. 2012. Ageing in the 21st Century: A Celebration and A Challenge. New York: UNFPA.
- HelpAge International. 2015. Policy Mapping on Ageing in Asia and the Pacific Analytical Report, Chiang Mai: HelpAge International East Asia/Pacific Regional Office.
- International Labour Organization. 2018. World Social Protection Report 2017–19. Geneva: ILO.
- Knodel, J. 2013. The Situation of Older Persons in Myanmar: Results from the 2012 Survey of Older Persons. Chiang Mai: HelpAge International.
- Pension Development, 2015. Country Databade: Myanmar. [Online] Available at: http://www.pensiondevelopment.org/165/myanmar.htm [Accessed 5 August 2019]
- UNDESA. 2000. Health and Well-Being in Older Age. New York: United Nations.
- United Nations. 2014. Urban and Rural Population by Age and Sex, 1980-2015. Retrieved from Urban and Rural Population: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/dataset/urban/urbanAndRuralPopulationByAgeAndSex.asp
- United Nations. 2017. Living Arrangements of Older Persons: A Report on an Expanded International Dataset. New York: United Nations.
- United Nations. 2019. World Population Prospects 2019. Retrieved from United Nations Population Division: https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/