NGOs Functioning as Social Service Providers: The Elderly Problem in Cuba

Population studies predict that the percentage of Cuba’s population over the age of 60 will rise to 25% of the population by the year 2025, and ominously, to 33.6% of the population by the year 2050, at which time Cuba will be perhaps the ‘oldest’ nation in Latin America and the Caribbean. Meeting the challenges of a graying population now and in the future includes issues of economics, health, environment, and policies and programs designed to enable older adults to live out their days with dignity and quality of life. Acknowledging their inability to meet the needs of the island’s elders even at today’s level, the Cuban government has called upon faith-based NGOs to provide health and social services to the island’s older adults. This article looks at services NGOs provide to the elderly homeless in Cuba.