This City is Being Dubbed Chile’s Best Place to Grow Old

Lucy Pierce

New proposals have been made to make Valdivia, a picturesque coastal city in the south of Chile, a more liveable city for the ageing population. Octavia Vegara, the director of Fundación Oportunidad Mayor, says, “The idea is to create an age-friendly city that offers elderly people opportunities for real participation, and then extend the scheme to the rest of the country.”

The issue

Chile is already struggling to look after its ageing population, many of whom have shockingly low pensions, some living on as little as 104,000 pesos a month (£125), which leads many to work well over the retirement age. With three million over-60s representing 17 percent of Chile’s 17.5 million inhabitants, the call for a Gerontological Hub has been heard. In Valdivia, the statistics are higher, with 20 percent of a 150,000 population, which is set to rise to 25 percent in the next decade. Considering this, it seems strange that the main public hospital in Valdivia doesn’t even have a geriatric unit.


The plan

The idea is to create a city that looks after the ageing population, keeping them healthy, socially engaged, and productive, because the harsh reality on the flipside would see the increase in illness, disability, and dependency. The first port of call is to create apartment complexes with supervisors to provide support, organise workshops and social gatherings in the communal rooms, offer affordable transport adapted to their needs, and help those with pensions that are too low to live off in finding work to help support themselves. Once the ball is rolling, the city would offer higher standards of living for the older generation, which is a goal that not only Valdivia should strive to have.


A step in the right direction

Valdivia’s first supervised residence was opened in May 2013, providing bungalows for 20 seniors, which since last June has a new, proactive supervisor who helps with the running of the place. In addition, a newly-built Padre Pío nursing home caters for 100 seniors, and street repairs have been made in two neighbourhoods where the majority of residents are elderly. In the following years, the city will have a fully staffed rehabilitation centre that treats 80 patients a day, a local government-funded spa and recreation centre, and a hospital geriatric unit with 10 beds.


Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article