Ageing Without Social Security and the COVID Pandemic in Ghana
Provisioning for the aged remains problematic in developing countries due to the absence of reliable social security systems that cater for majority of the population who operate under precarious conditions in the informal sector. How did the aged cope with existential costs before and during the COVID pandemic? This paper discusses insights on the care of the elderly, their coping mechanisms, and obligations of the State as a duty bearer. Methods used for the study include a cross-sectional survey and qualitative semi-structured interviews in 2019 and follow up in 2021. Findings show that the elderly experience poverty through lack of income, lack of food and ill-health. Less than a third could meet their living expenses, and over 60 percent of them continued to work in old age for their upkeep, and by relying on family support in challenging times. The State as a duty bearer was absent in the care of the aged. The COVID pandemic compounded their situation through jeopardised social relations, emotional stress, economic hardship, and fear of patronising health facilities for regular care. The paper concludes that there is a lack of reliable social safety net for the care of the aged, except those who worked in the formal sector and are therefore covered by the national social security scheme. However, over 70 percent of the working population operates in the informal sector. The paper recommends establishment of a universal social security system to guarantee the welfare of the elderly and set up specialised units within the health care system for the elderly.