The increase in old persons brings with it a new set of challenges for East Asian governments, requiring all stakeholders to look at ways to prioritize the family in the development planning.
When opening the Fourth East Asian Ministerial Forum on Families here on Tuesday, Malaysian Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said new social complexities were emerging following the improvements in health- related services.
“In 2000, 11.3 percent of the population in East Asia consisted of older persons. By 2050, this number is projected to escalate to 30.7 percent.
“The Southeast Asian region alone will register a rise of 435 percent in its older population by 2050, from 39.5 million to 175. 8 million,” said Shahrizat.
The minister stressed that major areas for concern following the trend included health and long term care; employment and social security; poverty; law; as well as intergenerational relationships.
Shahrizat noted that as the fastest growing region in the world, East Asian countries have made significant advances in education and health, evidenced by the high literacy rates that are above 90 percent, and the drop of maternal and infant mortality rates.