The risk of poverty among older women is related to inequities in previous life stages, including the gender wage gap, which has a significant impact on pensions and opportunities to realize full health potential. Women living in single households have the highest poverty risk in most countries. This is mainly because they are often less able to afford long-term care out of their own pocket, and at the same time they have an increased need for formal care due to lack of support from close relatives.

Older women's higher risk of poverty is linked to inequities in earlier life stages. Systems and services need to be designed to ensure accessibility, availability, acceptability and quality for women to give them opportunities to lead a healthy and fulfilling old age.