By 2050, the number of people in Brazil over the age of 60 will more than double, jumping from the present 15 million to around 32 million. That is something public policy will have to deal with so the issue will be discussed at a Mercosur meeting that begins tomorrow in BrasÀlia.
Minister of Social Development and Hunger Combat, Partus Ananias, calls the problem a permanent challenge.
He says the question is how to provide quality of life to an aging population.
Ananias points out that at the moment the Brazilian government provides direct aid of one kind or another to some one million senior citizens.
The Lula administration has also made the Senior Citizen Statute a reality. Among other things, it pays needy older people a minimum wage per month.
The Senior Citizen Statute bill which consolidates existing legislation and adds new benefits for elderly persons was approved last year by the
Among the benefits brought by the statute are discounts of at least 50% for cultural and sports events.
The bill also reduces the age at which a person can receive payment of a minimum wage under the Social Assistance Statute to 65.
The bill ensures access to free medication under certain conditions, along with first-served privileges in court cases and government housing programs.
A recently-released book called “The New Brazilian Elderly: Way Beyond Their Sixties?,” by Ana Amélia Camarano, shows that approximately 9% of the Brazilian population is composed of people over 60 and that at least 25% of Brazilian families includes an elderly person who contributes 54% of the family’s budget.
Another fact presented in the book is that 87.1% of male senior citizens are heads of families and only 12.7% of them receive less than a minimum wage (US$ 91.10) per month.
The book also reveals that the life expectancy of senior citizens of both sexes in the coming years has increased over 14 years, excluding deaths due to causes that are considered avoidable, such as violence.