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Old age is a period of life that has its own specifics,

but it doesn’t have any less importance and meaning

as any other period of life.

“Europe is facing today unprecedented demographic change.” These words begin the European Commission's green paper Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations, a document which responds to the current aging-related demographic changes and to the urgent tasks that this new social phenomenon imposes. It is all about the following facts:

  1. the fertility rate is much too low for a natural renewal of the aging population;
  2. the young generation finds it difficult to enter gainful employment and start a family;
  3. the middle generation tends to retire early – paradoxically, the old generation has never in the history of mankind been more self-supporting financially and healthier physically, yet at the same time more dependent on the middle generation systemically (through their pensions), more marginalized socially and more isolated personally;
  4. the proportion of old-generation individuals that require a great deal of care and nursing is rapidly growing, particularly among the oldest;
  5. the young, middle and older generations are prevented by modern life style from interconnecting to the point where they could get to know one another well enough to feel themselves mutually complementary and, on the basis of this, develop intergenerational solidarity – a human essential for the survival of both the individual and society;
  6. it is getting increasingly difficult for a family to look after their incapacitated elderly members;
  7. a man or woman from the European culture does not feel that old age is an equally meaningful and valuable period of human life as youth and middle age, but often sinks into a sense of life’s pointlessness or an existential vacuum.

© 2010 - Inštitut Antona Trstenjaka za gerontologijo in medgeneracijsko sožitje