Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, has published an article describing how Cuba is seeking to meet the needs of its aging population.
The country’s Older Adult Attention program focuses on specialized care with medical coverage provided in hospitals, seniors’ community circles, older adult centers, and retirement homes, which aim to strengthen links between this demographic and the rest of the population, while promoting the role of the family as key to their longevity.
The 274 Older Adult Centers with capacity for 9,393 people, as well as 3,310 daily spots offered in retirement homes, are open daily from 8am to 5pm, to individuals whose families are unable to take care of them during the day, returning to their homes in the evening. These people are responsible for themselves and carrying out their usual daily activities.
The 148 retirement homes with capacity for 11, 771 provide full-time care with subsidized food and medicine; physiotherapy and rehabilitation services; periodic specialized consultations to treat various pathologies; plus nightwear, clothing, and footwear.
The program also has 250 Caregivers Training Centers which prepare those responsible for helping and supporting older adults in need of personalized care, due to some kind of impairment.
Now an estimated 19% of the population is age 60 or older. This is due to Cuba’s good health care, declining birth rate and emigration, resulting in a shrinking work force. This article, however, did not address the economic challenges of these phenomena.
President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive—United States-Cuba Normalization mentioned Cuba’s aging and declining population due, in part, to emigration.
[1 Barbosa, Healthy longevity for Cuba’s older adults, Granma (Oct. 13, 2016).
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Cuba’s Birth Rate Declined in 2016
In 2016 there were 116,872 births in Cuba, which was 8,192 fewer than 2015 years ago. This decline has been attributed to several factors such as the emigration of women of reproductive age and the postponement of childbirth through professional life or housing problems.
The Cuban government has recognized the problems created by a low birth rate and aging population. It passed two decrees and four resolutions that extend the benefits of maternity.
Birth rate declines even more in Cuba, with 8,000 fewer births than in 2015, Diario de Cuba (May 27, 2017), http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1495920059_31456.html.