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Women's Health: Speed and Nature of Ageing

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Geographically, the republic of Chile is located along the western seaboard of South America which has a very unusual and famous ribbon like shape which is one of the longest and narrowest countries on the planet with 4,300 (2,700 mi) km of coastline .

According to UNData(2019) in 2019 the top three ranked countries for population size in South America consist of Brazil (population: 211,050,000 mill), Columbia (50,339,000 mill) and Argentina(44,781,000 mill); whereas Chile with a population of only 18,952,038 mill makes up a very small percentage of South Americans population yet has one of the highest life expectancy rates in South America National institute of statistics(2020). The World health organisation(2020) states in 2016 life expectancy at birth in Chile was m/f 76/82 years old making an average of 79 years old. As shown in figure 1 as of 2019 Chile’s average life expectancy exceeded over to 80 years old to 80.2 claiming its place in the highest life expectancy category alongside other few westernised countries such as Canada and the UK (Roser et al, 2019).

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In 1970 newly elected president Salvador Allende tried to implement Marxist ideology but economic policies were failing as raised salaries and fixed prices created shortages therefore in 1973 he is deposed. Augusto Pichnoet(1973-1990 disagreed with and saw himself as commander in chief where Chile was ran by military junta (Government military dictatorship). He is tyrant were whoever opposed him were killed. He was a Capitalist and encouraged free markets therefore Chile’s economy did well though his reign and is economically developed and prospering. This is why Economic welfare will not be considered when analysing wellbeing of elders in Chile as Chile is economically stable. From a macro perspective Chile is one South Americas most stable countries despite all the coups and arbitrary governments that have plagued South America throughout its history.

This report will analyse secondary data from three key aspects of life that are most relevant to Chile. This includes looking into the elders enabling environment, health and healthcare and contribution of older people in Chile through the Life course perspective as Analysing wellbeing through the life course perspective theory is vital as you can’t understand old age unless you take into account and understand all the aspects of life (culturally, socially etc.) in order to come to firm valid conclusions of wellbeing Katz et al (2011) .

 Rationale for analysis of ageing

Research in this report will cover major social and political constructs that contribute or affect an individual’s wellbeing in Chile. (Greenstein and Holland, 2015) look at elders through a more positive perspective of that “Older adults constitute the only increasing natural resource in the entire world”. Elderly people are valuable contributors to society if they have the tools around them to do so. Through this report there will be an understanding of ageing in Chile and the aspects of society that are failing more than others at giving elders the opportunity of being contributing members to society. It’s important especially for Chile to understand how they can prosper from an ageing population as they are leading the example for all other South American countries that will be in their position in the demographic transition model in 30 years to come.

 Aim and structure of report

• To reveal if any Chilean polices are not benefiting the elderly’s wellbeing.

• Key challenges the Health system and health care are facing with an ageing population. Much of the emphasis of the report will be on this due to when gathering secondary research this was the area that Chile needs to work on as is becoming overwhelmed.

 Drivers of ageing

The fertility boom that followed the end of WW11 the baby boom also occurred in most Latin American countries (with the exception of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay). Latinos constituted 10% of the 80 million boomers in the mid-twentieth century. As TheWorldBank(2019) data demonstrates fertility rates in Chile dropped dramatically from 4.6% in 1960 to 1.6% in 2018. Reher and Requena (2014) with the baby boom spanning from the 1940’s to 1960’s it means presently country’s “baby boom” generation is turning grey driving the expansion of the elderly population in Chile. Chile are now feeling the effects of the baby boom as they could face a future crisis of social care and pension payments.

Chile’s changed social attitudes and accessibility to contraception has contributed to lower fertility rates which is driving the ageing population. In Chile Contraception is free on prescription therefore making accessible to all women and men in the country. With less children being born parents can give their one or two children the best quality of life which equates to increased longevity of their lives due better all-round wellbeing. A study by Díaz showed both Chile and in Mexico, changes were detected in perceptions towards emergency contraception as each discussion group evolved and participants had the chance to think about the population’s reproductive health situation, particularly among low-income adolescents and women. The participants in the study all came to a collective conclusion that it was the way forward to help problems like poverty in the country.

Women in Chile are also breaking through many barriers and focusing more on careers than starting a family. Planning to have children then comes later in their lives where at an older age their fertility is lower equating to them having children. As figure 2 demonstrates women’s participation in the labour market has increased significantly since 1990.

Speed of ageing

UN (2020) countries that are experiencing large immigration flows like Chile, international migration can slow the ageing process temporarily as migrants tend to be in the young working ages. However as seen in Chiles case this can turn into a permanent change to the population structure as some migrants stay therefore will age into the older population. Chile was a major exporter of migrant but today is the top destination for Latin Americans due it be the most economically and politically stable country in South America.

Doña-Reveco, Levinson (2004) Pinochet regime(1973-1990) discouraged most migrants from settling in Chile for its duration. 500,000 Chileans voluntarily left or were forced to flee the country. The 1975 Immigration Act, which defined the various immigrant categories, and as well as the functions of the office that regulated the entrance, residence, control, and expulsion of foreigners. As a result, the numbers of foreign born in Chile reached a historic low in 1982, when there were few more than 84,000 foreign born, or only 0.75 percent of the country’s total population. Bonnefoy (2011) From 2002 to 2009, immigration jumped by 91 percent which is only counting the legal immigrants. The dramatic increase is shown in the positive correlation demonstrated in figure 4. Chileans are now realising the demographics changing in their country due to seeing people of different ethnic backgrounds in the cities. Chileans have even given this demographic shift the “New Immigration”. A 2008 government survey on immigrants in three regions of the country, 70 percent of immigrants come to Chile in search of work. When Pinochet issued Chile’s immigration law in 1975, in the early years of military rule, he had one thing in mind: keeping out potential subversives, “undesirables” and the exiles he had expelled from the country. The Bachelet government (2006-2010) had practically finished drafting a bill to reform Chile’s immigration law and ensure migrant rights. Doña-Reveco, Levinson (2012) In October 2008, Bachelet developed the Instructivo Presidencial No. 9 (Presidential Instructive No. 9), a nonbinding document that attempted to position Chile as a country open to immigration and sought to manage migration flows without discriminating against migrants.

 Nature of ageing

The approach the Chilean government are taking to the ageing issue is controlled ‘active ageing’. The Definition according to WHO(pg.12,2002) is “Active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.” Chileans are adapting to this new framework but a study by Meersohn. and Yang (2019) revealed that ‘active ageing’ is being accepted slowly by elders but they are interpreting in their own way. They are having to do this due to lack of guidance from the government and lack of community programs to educate them on ways to be active members of society. A study by Velastín(2019) found that Chilean ageing policies have promoted shifting age norms between 1996 and 2012 .Different ways of defining ageing as a social problem led to completely different prescriptions regarding the ways in which individuals should age. Chilean Policy in (1996): The need for a cultural change suggests that to “make ageing visible” is the first step to encourage a positive perception of older adults. During the late 1990s, there was no public institution exclusively focussed on ageing and aged care in Chile. This could be an opportunity for an institute to create social awareness about the importance of population ageing and to promote a positive image of older adults.  

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