Across Latin America and the Caribbean COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising with Brazil, Chile and Ecuador currently experiencing the highest number of deaths.
Like many countries around the globe, most countries have ordered a mandatory quarantine or lock down. Although these measures are necessary they bring additional risks, especially for socially isolated older people living alone or those who depend on others to some degree.
There are even greater risks for older people living on the street, older migrants and others who live in informal settlements such as migrants and internally displaced people.
Our work across the region will focus on raising awareness around particularly vulnerable older people whose specific needs are being ignored. We will build evidence to support and campaign for those at risk at this critical time.
At this early stage of the pandemic in the region, the reinforcement of stereotypes and manifestations of ageism has already been identified, especially in the language of the government and the media and actions of humanitarian actors and health workers.
Ageism is always a challenge, during this specific crisis it runs the risk of resulting in reduced access to healthcare for older people, as well negative and derogatory stigma, among other damaging impacts.
Older people in the poorest parts of the world affected by conflict or living in refugee camps need help urgently to survive the silent threat of COVID-19.