San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Aging in Costa Rica: A Troubling Process?

PROJECTIONS in populationgrowth show that in coming years, CostaRica’s senior citizen population coulddouble, a situation that draws attention tothe quality of the aging process in thecountry.According to a recent study compiledby the Institute of Social Studies inPopulation (IDESPO) of the UniversidadNacional (UNA), approximately 300,000seniors resided in Costa Rica in the year2000. By 2025, their number willapproach 900,000.The study also examined CostaRicans’ perceptions of the elderly. Surveyresults, revealed Monday at a press conference,showed that 55% of Costa Ricansperceive seniors as experienced and wise.However, of the 28% of interviewees whosaid they reside with seniors, 15% said theseniors “feel sad because they depend onothers.”According to the study, the idea thatsons and daughters or other family membersare seniors’ main source of income isa myth. Approximately 56% of seniorsreceive most of their income from retirementfunds.However, their problems are not strictlyfinancial. More than 1,000 senior citizenshave been abandoned in SocialSecurity System (Caja) hospitals by theirfamilies, according to the daily La Nación.Besides the emotional damage resultingfrom these patients’ abandonment, theirhospitalizations represent a daily investmentof ¢250,000 (approximately $500)to the Caja, the daily reported.

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