By Robyn Fieser
With 18 percent of its 11 million people over the age of 60, Cuba is the country in Latin America with the second largest concentration of elderly people.
That is due in part to the country’s health care system and longer life expectancies, low birth rates, and a good amount of emigration without the counterbalancing immigration. In other words, while plenty of people leave Cuba, most of them younger. There isn’t a lot of immigration into the country to take their place. Meanwhile, the population is getting older and living longer.
For more than 20 years, Caritas Cubana has made it a priority to help care for Cuba’s elderly, who tend to be poor and marginalized. Some 7,000 volunteers throughout the country’s 11 dioceses work together to make life a little easier for older people, many of whom live alone and struggle to make ends meet on the small pensions they receive.