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The European Union to begin a public discourse on active aging

Posted: August 31, 2011

OK, so here’s something I read recently that just blew me away.  The year 2012 has been designated by the European Union as the European Year of Active Ageing* and Solidarity between Generations.  Isn’t that the coolest?  The EU press release says it will provide a chance “for all of us to reflect on how Europeans are living longer and staying healthier than ever before — and to realize (sic) the opportunities that represents.”

I was so enthralled with the notion of showcasing aging—here we do tend to want to push the evidence under the rug with the subconscious logic that in that manner age won’t actually catch up to us.  The Census Bureau in the U.S. predicts that the number of people over 85 years old will double in this country in the first quarter of this century—and yet we do very little to prepare much less publicize.  According to the European Union, however:

“Active ageing can give the baby-boom generation and tomorrow's older adults the opportunity to:

  • stay in the workforce and share their experience
  • keep playing an active role in society
  • live as healthy and fulfilling lives as possible.

It is also key to maintaining solidarity between generations in societies with rapidly increasing numbers of older people. The challenge for politicians and stakeholders will be to improve opportunities for active ageing in general and for living independently, acting in areas as diverse as employment, health care, social services, adult learning, volunteering, housing, IT services or transport.

The European Year seeks to raise awareness of the issues and the best ways of dealing with them. But most of all it seeks to encourage all policymakers and stakeholders to set themselves goals and take action to meet them. 2012 should go beyond debating; it should start bringing tangible results.”

Should we join them?

 

(*Ageing is the correct spelling in British English)

 

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