Latin American countries (LAC), with their culturally and ethnically diverse populations, form a region that is difficult to define and to understand. The region’s health systems are deeply fragmented, which poses great challenges to overall equity levels in health. This is also one of the fastest ageing regions in the world, with increasing demands as well for acute and long-term care (LTC). Demographic and epidemiological transitions across the region are heterogeneous. In this context, health systems are in general, largely unprepared to face the challenge of promoting healthy ageing. This unpreparedness has been magnified by the Coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic. Here, we analyse the burden of disease in the older population and identify priorities to improve the care and quality of life for people living in LAC. Besides an adequately prepared workforce, we must remediate disparities and inequities; develop and implement integrated care; achieve patient-centred care and further develop palliative and end-of-life care; simultaneously, we must develop the structure and financing of LTC services and strengthen the role of public health making healthy ageing an essential component.