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Coverage: The Real ‘Old Age Crisis’

PFM, Vol. 5 No. 2, (2005)

This introductory essay discusses the six substantive papers in this symposium,
situating the findings and the proposals of the individual contributions within a
global context that is characterized by the pressing need to respond to the real ‘oldage
crisis’; namely the limited extent to which existing social security and social
welfare programmes provide for the income security of older people, particularly poor
older people, world-wide. This is due to the on-going failure of existing provision to
cover even the most basic needs of the vast majority of the older people in the South
as well as their increasing failure to address the needs of significant segments of the
North’s populations in low paid occupations or with discontinuous work histories.
This coverage crisis is further defined as presenting significant challenges to those
organizations designing, planning and managing social security and social welfare
programs, specifically requiring careful handling if a new, inclusive, global
consensus on appropriate policies to address the coverage crisis is to emerge.

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