Local Governments Meet to Create Friendly Sites for Older Adults in Costa Rica

    Meeting five months after the Ministry of Labor and Social Security suspended the transfer of funds to the gerontological association

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    Estimates from the United Nations (UN) indicate that 31% of the Costa Rican population in 2050 will be older adults. Against this background, more than 400 people from the Costa Rican municipal regime met at the Costa Rica Convention Center (CCCR) to participate in the First National Congress of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities, supported by institutions such as the Ministry of Health, Board of Pensions and Retirement of the National Teaching (JUPEMA), among others.

    The main purpose of the meeting was to learn about the latest proposals on topics such as: healthy aging, friendly urban planning with older adults and local public policies focused on the care of this population.

    Jorge Ocampo, executive president of the Municipal Development and Advisory Institute (IFAM), stated: “Population aging is a challenge, but at the same time, an opportunity that requires adaptation by local governments, for example, in the design of local public policies that promote aging and a healthy lifestyle, and prevent the proliferation of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or depression in these generations”.

    One of the conclusions of the congress is that the research and contribution of the academy is important for the territories to understand and apply local public policies, projects and programs that collaborate so that citizens face aging in a dignified manner.

    AGECO has not received financial aid from the Government for five months

    This first congress takes place five months after the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS), suspended the transfer of funds to the Costa Rican Gerontological Association (AGECO).

    According to the association, on May 24th, they received notification of an internal audit report from the Ministry, which indicated that they could not transfer the resources due to a “determination of aspects of improvement.”

    “Transparency and accountability have always guided the work of AGECO, which is why we do not understand this unjustified measure taken by the ministry and which is affecting thousands of older people who benefit from the association’s social programs,” said Fabián. Trejos, general manager of the association. According to Trejos, this suspension means the closure of programs in human rights, community networks and training for older people to find employment.

    Some of the programs that use these resources, according to the association, are:

    • Actively Aging in My Community Program: More than 85 organized community groups nationwide with 2,678 older members.
    • Gerontological Training Institute Program (IGEF): more than 3,400 elderly people benefited per year, with a projection of 650 courses in 2022.
    • I’m Still In Force + 45 Project (employment and entrepreneurship): more than 500 unemployed people over 45 years of age registered to receive training and 30 companies involved in age management processes.
    • Human Rights, Political Advocacy and Social Projection Program: provides specialized knowledge on the human rights of older persons through technological platforms (specialized website and videoconferences) and 20 communities in the country organized into Human Rights Observatories and Local Advocacy Commissions. By 2023, AGECO estimates that its shares could be reduced by 40%, compared to 2022.
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