Asia’s population is rapidly aging, a trend that predates the ongoing pandemic. As COVID-19 does disproportionate harm to the elderly—particularly those with pre-existing health problems—ensuring the wellbeing of older persons in the region is even more urgent. Asia’s policy makers need to know how seniors in the region are faring in this pandemic, how they can be protected from the worst aspects of the disease, and what can be done to support them. Even as economies return to normal after the pandemic, the region will face the question of how best to promote healthy and active aging.

A panel of experts describes how the pandemic is impacting the physical health, mental health, and economic security of older persons in Asia and the Pacific and discusses the needs of older persons and the extent to which these needs are addressed by country systems in the context of the pandemic. The role of government policy in promoting active and healthy aging in times of the COVID-19 and its aftermath is also examined.