Although the countries of Maghreb still have rather young populations compared to European countries, the share of elderly people is still increasing and they will need to face ageing challenges in the near future.
As a result, the Moroccan Economic, Social and Environmental Council has published a report on the living conditions of elderly people in the country. Today, 10% of the Moroccan population is over 60 years old.
Public spaces are usually ill-adapted to elderly people’s needs
The report states that only a fifth of elderly people in Morocco have medical and social coverage. Few can access care as their physical and financial dependence increases. Additionally, family structures are also changing: households are getting more nuclear, which means elderly people live on their own more often than they used to.
The EESC stresses that urban public spaces are usually ill-adapted to elderly people in terms of public transportation, pavements, public bathrooms, public benches, etc…
Reception centres also lack proper infrastructures and experience to deal with specificities for elderly people.
The EESC’s recommendations to deal with the ageing challenge
With this report, the EESC of Morocco hopes to establish “a public integrated policy to protect elderly people, supported with means of accompanying and evaluation. It has to take their rights into account in terms of human dignity, participation and social inclusiveness”.
The Council first calls for the generalisation of retirement in the context of the current review of the Moroccan retirement system; social security and medical coverage would also need to be extended especially for people with low incomes. The Social Cohesion Fund would therefore need to include a basic pension for older people.
Secondly, the Council suggests that elder people should stay in their families when possible: moving to a long-term care establishment should remain a last resort. Adapted reception centres should also become available and caregivers would have to receive training courses in order to increase the overall well-being of elderly people.
As for accessibility, laws concerning building regulations should be revised to guarantee the access, security and right of movement for elderly people.
The EESC also calls for the support of older people living abroad, in collaboration with the governments of host countries.
Finally, the EESC suggests that the 1st of October, which is the International Day of Older Persons, becomes a day of brainstorming and evaluation of existing measures for older people in Morocco.