The ‘double ageing’ process (combination of decreased fertility and increased life expectancy) is challenging post-industrial societies and welfare systems. However, from a bioethical point of view, ageing is much more than a mere biological or allocative problem. Frailty in elderly people involves loneliness, social isolation, loss of autonomy, no less than physical and psychological decline. Moreover, there is a direct link between elderly frailty and human vulnerability: the more a society is willing to accept pain, dependency, illness, and death, the better it will approach the problems of ageing. This reflection, in particular, concerns two bioethical issues arising from Covid-19: elderly institutionalization and age-based health care rationing.
Keywords: Ageing, frailty, elderly institutionalization, care