Thailand, a country that has developed rapidly in recent decades, faces the serious challenges of an aging population in a single generation: those over 60 years of age will be 28 percent of the country in 2031.
According to recent data from the Department of the Elderly of the Thai Ministry of Social Development, the population over 60 years of age now stands at 18.3 percent (12.11 million people), which is a relatively high percentage for a developing country. .
In 2000, the elderly population was over 585,000 (9.5 percent of the total population), while in 2010 it was over 1,093,000 (13.2 percent).
Thailand has developed rapidly in recent decades, averaging 7.5 percent annual growth between 1960 and 1996, according to the World Bank, which has reduced poverty and grown the middle class, but in these years has also aged the population to forced marches.
This has caused more elderly people to live in residences in a country where families traditionally care for their elders in homes with up to three generations under the same roof.
"I have no children, my husband died and I used to work as a seamstress. I have no relatives so I live here"explains Aom, at the Ban Bang Khae residence in Bangkok.
Another resident, known as Grandma Lek indicates: "I have children, but I understand that they have to work and don’t have time to take care of me. So they left me here. I understand".
"Don’t abandon your mother. please take good care of her"Add.
Currently, more families live in smaller homes and the number of older people living with their children has decreased by 20 percent in the last 21 years, according to data cited by the residence itself.
According to 2020 data from the World Bank, Thailand has one of the oldest populations in Asia, with 13 percent of the population over the age of 65, compared to Japan (28 percent), South Korea (16 percent), China (12 percent), Vietnam (8 percent), and India (7 percent).
In other regions of the world, the percentage rises to 20 percent in Spain, 12 percent in Chile and 8 percent in Mexico.
In Thailand, the authorities encourage retirees, who normally receive very low pensions, to continue working.
Thus, at least 1,000 retirees have been hired by the Lotus supermarket chain within a collaboration program with the Government called 60 Young Jaew ("still cool at 60").
Since 2015, the Bangkok School for the Elderly has provided physical education and health classes for the elderly, while at the Senior Games Club also in the capital they can learn about new technologies.
The oldest student is Yongyuth Napasab, 94, who is learning photo-editing software and uses social media to stay connected with his family so he can plan his next birthday.