Health care for older persons in Colombia: a country profile

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Sep;57(9):1692-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02341.x. Epub 2009 Jun 8.


Colombia is a country of approximately 42 million inhabitants, with some 2.5 million being aged 65 and older. Currently, life expectancy in Colombia is 72.3. By 2025, the population life expectancy at birth will be 77.6 for women and 69.8 for men. The quality of care that people receive as they age in Colombia varies according to where they live. Individuals living in the highly urbanized areas of Colombia receive high-quality care, whereas elderly subjects living in rural areas and in the southern and northern regions are exposed to unemployment, low income, inequity of access to health care, drug trafficking, and armed conflict. In spite of these problems, characteristics of aging of older people in terms of functionality and healthcare access are similar to those of people living in developing countries around the world. This article reviews the particular characteristics of the elderly population in Colombia, especially the significant changes that have happened in recent years, when social instability and conflict have determined that health resources be redirected to other budget priorities such as defense and security.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colombia
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Dynamics
  • Rural Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*