In Thailand, more people are living longer than ever before with an elderly population of 10.8 million. The equivalent to 16.5 per cent of the total population, according to official figures.
The statistics compiled by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) showed out of the total elderly people, there are about 7,000 persons who are over 100 years old.
Most of them or 187 persons live in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Local officials have visited eight elderly people in Tha Sala district to raise awareness among their children to look after them to ensure they have a good quality of life.
The Number of Older Elderly People is Growing
Thailand is currently ranked the third most rapidly ageing population in the world. The number of people aged 60 and over in Thailand now stands at about 13 million. Accounting for almost 20% of the population.
Population ageing is a relatively new occurrence for Thailand; it was just in 2001 that Thailand became an ageing population with more than 7% of the population over 65. By 2050, Thailand’s aging population is expected to increase to 20 million, accounting for 35.8% of the population. This means that out of every three Thais, one will be a senior citizen.
Care Support for Elderly People
In practical terms, this demographic transition translates to challenges with care and support of older people. Data collected for The Situation of Older People in Thailand report in 2007 and again in 2011 show that the well-being of Thai older people has continued to improve.
Overall only 15% of persons 60 and older indicated that they need some assistance with their daily living activities. This increases relatively slowly with age until 75, and quickly after that. As a generalisation, as older people reach 75 and beyond, many require some care and support.
However, there is a shift to low fertility and an increase in migration of adult children to find employment. This lowers the ratio of working age adults who are able to support older people in their family.
About 50% of older people do not have a child living in the same village and 16% have no living children. All of these changes mean that adult children cannot always meet the care and support needs of elderly people.
The future role of older persons in providing care to young dependent grandchildren is also subject to change. As a result of demographic trends and perhaps normative change in the view of parenthood as well. Although the latter is very difficult to predict.
Elderly People and Poverty
While 75% of older Thais report that they are satisfied with their financial status. Older people face a higher risk of poverty than average because of being unable to work and earning a lower income.
An additional 7.1% of older people are near poor; vulnerable to become poor in the event of even a small economic shock like a medical bill. The National Statistical Office report on Survey for working in Old Age (2011) show that about 33% of older people still work daily and 90.3% of them are working in informal sectors.
Other key sources of income come from intergenerational exchanges or other family support and government pension or old age allowance. According to the latest World Social Protection Report 2017-19, 83% of people older than the statutory pensionable age in Thailand receiving an old-age pension (contributory, noncontributory or both).