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Ageing – Elder people in the European Community

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Geography Assignment Ageing - Elder people in the European Community Introduction Old age has been described to be one of the largest problems facing modern day society. Improved healthcare, education and lifestyle have all been significant factors in this seeming surge of people who are living to the age of 60+ and far beyond. As can be seen, this influx of older people are having a dramatic effect on the way countries are organising their economic structures, or in most cases they way they are not. When considering the aspects of older people in the community, the term 'old age' must be understood, although presently it cannot be seen that there is a definitive term that can describe it. It could be said that old age is very much a state of mind rather than a set number of years designated by a particular government or organisation. "You are only as old as you feel" would be an excellent phrase to describe this, with most people who according to social rule have been designated as old, do not feel particularly old. Although retirement age is generally seen as the entry point into old age, this differs from country to country, so again this cannot be definitive. For this document, the exact entry point to old age is insignificant, what is important to reaslise is that the numbers of old people are increasing, and they are doing so at an alarming rate. What regions of the world is experiencing increase in old age? Old age or ageing is a recurring problem that is starting to become evident in countries not just confined to the developed countries of Europe, but to countries over the whole world. Massive changes are happening to population structures that are showing huge increases in old age in most developed countries, but even larger ones are being seen in the undeveloped countries. ...read more.


This discrimination that can be seen against older generations is commonly referred to as ageism. Ageism is a severe problem facing modern day society, and can be comparable to other more recognised prejudices such as racism and sexism with the same regard. The younger generations that hold negative attitudes towards older people based on false generations must be challenged, and the reasons will be explained further in this document. Outline the problems/opportunities provided by large percentages of older people to society: Under current conditions and in the light of today's population predictions, it must be said to a certain extent that there is currently an: 'ageing crisis'. As more and more people live longer and their numbers increase both in actual numbers and relative to the general population, there will be fewer people to care for them if and when they need it. The dependency ratio, as it is called, is also affected by the increasing financial pressures put on families, particularly in the Third World who as stated are currently facing the largest problems associated with an ageing population. This dependency ratio is present as when most people reach their pension able age, they retire from work, and are therefore no longer providing for the economy for the country. The simply become reliant on the work of others and the money they have put into the country themselves to ensure that they have a comfortable retired life. They feel that they have served their country, and now it is time for them country to give back to them. With the fact that people are living longer, this in turn means that the dependency ratio of countries is likely to increase. This will place huge burdens on the economies of those countries involved, with the government having to spend more money on pensions and alike that would take money away from what might be considered to be more recognised issues such as healthcare and education. ...read more.


The main aim is to ensure that older people become introduced back into the society and community that they live, rather than just being seen as dependant statistics. In time, the expect that they deserve would be reintroduced, and they would be considered to be much more valuable members of a community rather than the burden that they have been led to believe they are in recent years. In what ways are these needs being met? Are there organisations to help? To a great extent, these needs and challenges are not being met, although the recognition that older people have valuable contributions to make is slowly permeating the thinking of development activists. It can be recognised that in recent years there has been a growing focus on the involvement of older people as active participants in development, but there has not being anything that would make any huge change to the predicament that many countries are finding themselves in. In Britain there has been many organisations set up to help, in a multitude of ways. Examples of this might be Help The Aged and Age Concern. Help The Aged is an organisation designed to help older people in many ways such as community transport and research on ageing. It also campaigns on behalf of old people, to fight for their rights and try to alleviate the prejudices placed upon them by our modern day society. Age Concern acts in a very similar ways to this. Examples of organisations to help abroad might be in Colombia, older people who are part of Pro Vida (For Life) have set up the city's first recycling scheme. In Kenya, a group of middle-aged women got together to tackle the problem of earning income in their later years. They set up schemes for clean water and a successful poultry-keeping project. They called themselves Itambya Yaa Aka Kichakasimba (women of Kichakasimba take a step ahead) ...read more.

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