Aging around the world poses a global challenge in eldercare. This challenge is particularly felt in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where population aging outpaces the development of aged care policies and services. This Perspective highlights the phenomenon of global convergence in several unsettling trends and challenges shared across LMICs. These include the weakening of informal family care systems for the elderly, growing need for formal long-term care of the frail and disabled who can no longer be adequately supported by family members, and mounting pressures for policy responses to tackle these societal challenges. It is argued that policymakers should take a proactive stance. That is, when family care for the elderly falls short and family caregivers are increasingly under strain, the government should step in and step up support to fill in the gap by developing appropriate policies and a continuum of long-term care services that are accessible and affordable for the majority of older people in need. Three general principles are then suggested with regard to long-term care provision, financing, and quality assurance, which transcend national borders and can be used to guide long-term care policymaking across LMICs.
Aging and long-term care policy challenges in the developing world