Sri Lanka is the best country in South Asia for older people, according to a new global index that was released Wednesday to coincide with the UN International Day of Older Persons.
The index measures how well 96 countries in the world are supporting their older populations of over age 60.
Sri Lanka ranks moderately at 43 on the HelpAge International's Global AgeWatch Index which ranks countries by how well their ageing populations are faring in four domains that are key to older people's wellbeing- income, health, employment and education, and their "enabling environment".
Sri Lanka performed best in the enabling environment domain placing at 25the, with values above regional averages for three out of four indicators- social connectedness, safety, and civic freedom.
It ranks high on the capability domain at 32 with values well above the regional average for educational attainment among older people. However, it ranks below average on the employment indicator.
Sri Lanka ranked at 54th in the health domain, with values below the regional average on only one indicator - psychological wellbeing. It ranks lowest in the income security domain at 79, with low pension income coverage though it has a high relative welfare rate compared to other countries in this region.
Age Demands Action campaigners in Sri Lanka are demanding policy changes such as separate hospital wards for older people and gerontology training for health workers, the HelpAge report said.
Elsewhere in the region, India ranked at 69th, Pakistan at 91st, Bangladesh at 59th and Nepal at 70th.
Norway is the best country for people over age 60 while Afghanistan is the worst.