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Asia-Pacific is the most rapidly ageing region in the world.
By 2050, one in four people will be above the age of 60, most of whom will be women. 

Yet, many countries in the region are unprepared to face this rapid demographic shift.

While there is no single comprehensive policy to address population ageing, there is an urgent need to adapt a life-cycle approach with gender equality at its core. It is by investing in each stage of life, starting from before a girl's birth to her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, that women - and entire countries - will be able to enjoy healthy and active ageing. 

This is the rationale behind UNFPA’s regional advocacy campaign 'For Every Age' - underscoring the need for rights-based life-cycle policies to transform perceived demographic challenges into opportunities for all.

This collection of material including technical guidelines, publications, feature stories and videos, provides a snapshot of our work across Asia-Pacific supporting countries to adopt a life-cycle approach to prepare for a future where every age is celebrated and no one is left behind.

What is a life-cycle approach? 

VIDEO: Investing in every stage of a person's life, from childbirth to childhood to adolescence to adulthood, determines the life path towards healthy and active ageing.

Voices from across Asia and the Pacific

I was a high-school math teacher. I felt bored when I retired, so I tried to do something to refresh my knowledge for myself and my neighbours. I registered for a psychology course and mediation skills to resolve family conflicts and heal families.

Viet Nam: As a retired high-school teacher, Nguyen Thanh Ha has always valued education and how it helps change lives. Today, at 80, she continues her own learning, increasing her legal knowledge to be able to help people resolve family conflicts. She is known as the 'operator' among her neighbours and community, as she is often called upon for support and advice. Thanh Ha also enjoys learning about agriculture, bonsai and orchid care. "I have never thought about stopping my studies and research. I think studying is good for myself and for helping others", she says. 

I wish I had gone to work when I was younger. I missed a lot of opportunities. While I had the talent, my husband wouldn’t let me work. Maybe if I did, I would have become someone by now.

Iran: Maryam, 72, wishes she could tell her younger self to have continued her education. Unfortunately, she didn’t have this choice. She lost her father when she was 15 and got married at 17. She didn’t know about family planning, and had her first child soon into her marriage. While she worked briefly at a store before marriage, she couldn’t continue work as her husband didn’t allow for it. While Maryam wishes things could have been different, she hasn’t given up. “Sometimes at home, I study languages”, she says with a smile, hopeful to fulfill her dream of continued learning.

For someone like me who has been at home for almost a year - you know, without a job - and then to go back and give back to the community was very rewarding. Everything just fell back into place. I felt as though I had never retired.


Fiji: Kelera Rabuka is one of ten retired midves from Fiji who were deployed to Samoa to support crucial maternal health services during the devastating measles epidemic in early 2020. Through UNFPA’s support, the qualified and licensed retired midwives operated in  the maternity and labour wards in Samoa’s hospitals for ten weeks. READ MORE

I am lucky that today I have more opportunities because of my parents’ support.

Thailand: As chief advocate for sustainable development at a leading telecommunications company in Thailand, Rasamee says she’s up to the challenge just five months after giving birth to her first child. It’s a far cry from the era of her grandparents, who emigrated to Thailand from China, and believed that school was for boys and home was for girls. “The culture has changed,” she says. “Women can work and take care of themselves and don’t need to rely on their husbands.” READ MORE


Sri Lanka: Having lost both her parents as a teenager, Rupa* was passed around like a ball of burden within her own extended family for many years. Now, at 76, she reminisces about the period where she dreamed of a future, one in which she had a home of her own with a companion and many children who would love her endlessly. READ MORE

There were no doctors available because most of the doctors were employed on COVID-19 duty. People were waiting for advice from somewhere.

India: Dr Usha Vaidya, 84, started her medical career in 1963. Today, she leads rural outreach teams to deliver lifesaving services to older people through a Mobile Health Unit in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Usha says that the pandemic has been a stressful time for older people in the villages. She believes that listening is the most important part of her job. “We have to be very patient with older people. We have to know what we are going to do medically, but psychologically we have to be one with them”, she says. READ MORE


Supporting the elderly during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences pose significant threats to the wellbeing and dignity of older persons across the Asia-Pacific region. The pandemic will have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts in unpredictable ways. Throughout 2020, HelpAge and UNFPA monitored the situation of older people across a sampling of target countries in the region. LEARN MORE

The UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office also developed technical reports on the essential needs of  older persons in the context of COVID-19 to effectively support member states and partners in preparing for and responding to the pandemic regionwide:

In the news

In Iran, we delivered 1,000 oxygen concentrators to the State Welfare Organization for the benefit of the elderly, through a partnership with UNICEF and the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian AID Operations (ECHO).


In Indonesia and Viet Nam, with contributions of over USD 2.8 million to each country from the Government of Japan, we are working to ensure continued care and services for older persons during the pandemic, among other vulnerable populations.

READ MORE: Indonesia |  Viet Nam

In Thailand, we released a pioneering report on COVID-19 and older persons based on a UNFPA-supported survey conducted by Chulalongkorn University. The report served to inform decision-makers on the needs of older persons’ during the COVID-19 lockdown period.


Partnerships and innovation for increased impact

For the world, not just Nepal, putting action on ageing in front and centre – across the whole of government and civil society – is vital to ensure the security and quality of life we, and our children, will need one day.  We will all grow old, but we can prepare better for it.

Nepal: A year after Krishna’s mother passed away in 2003, his father began to age rapidly - becoming forgetful, mixing words up, and losing the ability to carry out basic daily activities. It was only when Krishna took him to the hospital that he heard the words ‘incurable dementia’ for the first time. Shocked by the total lack of awareness in society around dementia and other issues related to ageing, Krishna founded the non-governmental organization, Ageing Nepal. READ MORE


Sri Lanka: As an island nation increasingly vulnerable to the rapid effects of climate change and extreme weather conditions, the needs of older persons in Sri Lanka require focused attention. Through a partnership with HelpAge Sri Lanka, UNFPA is ensuring the needs of older persons are included in emergency preparedness and response efforts across the country. READ MORE


Indonesia: When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated Central Sulawesi in September 2018, Dewi Rana was on the frontlines, responding to the aftermath. Working with vulnerable groups such as new mothers, she soon found that older people were also at risk. The innovations for the elderly that Dewi helped lead are now being woven into the region’s COVID-19 response. READ MORE


Viet Nam: Engaging young people to help address the needs of older persons in Viet Nam, UNFPA, together with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, established a student start-up innovation competition. Students from some 2,000 vocational education and training institutions across the country are sharing digital transformation ideas to provide continued,  dedicated and uninterrupted care and social security for older people and persons with disabilities during the pandemic. READ MORE

In increasing awareness of the needs of older persons during the COVID-19 pandemic, UNFPA Viet Nam also developed a series of informational videos. The videos were developed in partnership with the Ministry of Health, HelpAge International, and the Viet Nam Association of the Elderly.



Regional Technical Guidance

Related Country Publications from the Region

More country publications, reports, and policy papers

India: Report; Caring for our Elders: Early Responses (2017)

India: Survey Report; Innovative practices for care of elderly women in India- Stree Shakti (2016)

India: Survey Report; Older Women in India: Economic, Social and Health Concerns (2015) 

India: Survey Report; Social Security for the Elderly in India (2015)

India: Working Paper; Good Care Leads to Healthy Life: A Study of Differential in the Care and Support and its Impact on Wellbeing of Elderly - Series II (2014)

India: Working Paper; Household context, social capital and wellbeing of older adults in India-Series II (2014) 

Indonesia: Report; Indonesia on the Threshold of Population Ageing (2015)

Iran: Report; Ageing Report (2017)

Malaysia: Policy Brief; UNFPA & University Putra Malaysia: Social Protection for the Elderly and Unpaid Care Work 

Maldives: Report; Future of Work in Maldives through National Transfer Accounts (2020)

Nepal: National Action Plan; Unofficial English translation of National Action Plan for Senior Citizens (2005)

Nepal: Policy; Senior Citizen's Act (2006)

Nepal: Policy; Senior Citizen's Guidelines (2008) 

Pacific Island: Report; Population Ageing in the Pacific Islands: A Situational Analysis (2014)

Sri Lanka: Policy Dialogue; Feminization of Ageing (2019) 

Sri Lanka: Policy Dialogue; Making Active Ageing a Reality (2018) 

Sri Lanka: Policy Dialogue; Population Ageing and its Policy Implications (2017)

Sri Lanka: Census Report; Ageing population in Sri Lanka: Emerging issues, needs and policy implications (2017)

Sri Lanka: Policy Brief; Features, Challenges and Opportunities of Population Ageing: Sri Lankan Perspective (2016) 

Thailand: Report; The State of Thailand’s Population 2015: Thai Families in the Era of Low Fertility and Longevity (2015) 

Thailand: Infographic; Infographics summarizing the State of Thailand’s Population Report 2015 (2017)

Thailand: Report; Impact of Demographic Change in Thailand (2011) 

Viet Nam: Census Report; Population Ageing and Older Persons in Viet Nam (2021) 

Viet Nam: Working Paper; Disabilities among Older Persons and Care Needs of Older Persons Living with Disabilities (2019) 

Download campaign assets

Advocating for a rights-based life-cycle approach to address population ageing across Asia-Pacific requires a collective effort from multiple stakeholders, including partners, civil society, and individuals.

Download the #ForEveryAge campaign social media cards, key messages, and other assets here


The regional advocacy campaign titled ‘For Every Age’ delivered by the UNFPA Asia-Pacific Regional Office, together with partners, aims to raise awareness on the rights-based life-cycle approach towards population ageing across Asia-Pacific. The campaign is underpinned by the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) and aims to encourage all countries within the region to actively adopt national policies and systems that enhance the livelihoods of older women and men, through investments throughout their life-cycle.