BEIRUT: Lebanon’s elderly people will make up over a fifth of the country’s population by 2035, a joint study by the Social Affairs Ministry and Saint Joseph University has found.
Lebanon’s population of individuals over 60 currently sits at 11.5 percent and is expected to grow to 21.1 percent by 2035, the study said. It examined early detection of memory loss and mental abilities among the elderly, sampling 1,342 women and men aged 55 and over from all educational backgrounds from across the country.
The Social Affairs Ministry Tuesday launched a report on the study, which was run by the ministry’s Development Services Center in collaboration with Rita al-Hayek from USJ. In his opening speech at the launch, caretaker Social Affairs Minister Pierre Bou Assi stressed the importance of caring for the country’s elderly population.
According to Abla Mehio Sibai, co-founder and president of the NGO Center for Studies on Aging, around 3 percent of elderly women and some 6 percent of elderly men in Lebanon live alone. Those numbers are sure to rise as the broader elderly population is expected to increase over the next several years.
In 2014, Lebanon’s elderly made up 7.3 percent of the population. By 2030, Sibai predicts it will rise to 12 percent, as a result of decreased mortality rates and youth emigration. - Additional reporting by Victoria Yan
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 23, 2019, on page 3.