contribution of older people to social and economic ... - Imserso

contribution of older people to social and economic ... - Imserso

Colección Documentos

Serie Documentos Encuentros


International Seminar on

The contribution

of older persons

to the social and

economic development

Madrid, 16-17-18 November 2005

Colección Documentos

Serie Documentos Encuentros


International Seminar on

The contribution

of older persons

to the social and

economic development

Madrid, 16-17-18 November 2005

Colección Documentos

Serie Documentos Encuentros

N.º 23002


Mrs. Carmen Díaz Gómez

The Institute of the Older Persons and Social Services

does not necessarily share the opinions and concepts

that may be stated and in no case assume responsibilities

derived from the authorship of the papers that it publishes.


Onoff Imagen y Comunicación

First edition, 2006

© Institute of the Older Persons and Social Services (IMSERSO)


Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Secretary of State of Social Services, Families and Disability

Institute of the Older Persons and Social Services (IMSERSO)

Avda. de la Ilustración, s/n. - 28029 Madrid

Telephone 91 363 85 26 - Fax 91 363 89 42


NIPO: 216-06-039-X

D.L.: BI-2.318-06





Madrid, 16-17-18 November 2005



1. PRESENTATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

2.1. “The contribution of older people to social and economic development: equity and social integration”

Mr. Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, University of East Anglia United Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

2.2. “The different forms of activity all throughout life and intergenerational relations”

Mr. Juan Díez-Nicolás, Complutense University of Madrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

3. CONFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

“Review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing”

Mr. Robert Venne, UN Programme on Ageing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

“Population ageing in the ECE region”

Mr. Andres Vikat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

3.1. Workshop 1

“Analysis of discrimination based on age and multiple discrimination situations. Adopted

measures and assessment of results. The influence of positive images on ageing”

Moderator: Mrs. Eveline Hönigsperger,

Ministry for Social Security, Generations and Consumer Protection in Austria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55


“Envejecimiento, desarrollo y protección social: mitos, estereotipos y concepciones erróneas”

Mr. Lloyd-Sherlock, University of East Anglia, UK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

“Age discrimination in the field of health from a gender perspective”

Mr. A. Kalache, WHO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

“Multiple discrimination”

Mrs. Anne Sophie Parent, (AGE), European Older Persons' Platform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

“Measures and results in the implementation of the Berlin Strategy”

Mrs. Eveline Hönigsperger,

Ministry for Social Security, Generations and Consumer Protection in Austria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

“Ageing in a positive way”

Mrs. Inés González, IMSERSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

“Transfer of knowledge”

Mr. André Zawaski, FIAPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

“How the elderly live through their own situation in the social context ”

Mrs. Herminia Lozano, Member of the Board of Directors of the State Council for Older Persons . . 73

3.1.1. Conclusions Workshop 1:

Relator: Mrs. M.ª Carmen Díaz Gómez, International Affairs, IMSERSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77



3.2. Workshop 2

“Active life extension. Active measures and the suppression of poverty traps. Employment

creation and other ways of active participation”

Moderator: Mr. Aurelio Fernández, Adviser of the Secretary of State for Social Security . . . . . . . . . . 83


“The labour market situation of older workers in Europe. Promoting employment and participation”

Mrs. Mariàngels Fortuny, ILO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

“Can reducing active life or age exclusion be stopped if not reversed?”

Mr. Bernd Marin, Vienna European Centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

“Older people in EU strategies: Lisbon Strategy and Green Paper”

Mr. Antero Kiviniemi, European Commission D.G. of Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93


“Contribution of older people to social and economic development”

Mr. Mark Keese, OECD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

“Active life extension: a perspective on the ageing workforce in the EU”

Mr. Robert Anderson, Dublin Foundation, European Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101

“The protection of persons in situations of dependency”

Mr. Pablo Cobo Gálvez, Vice Director General of Planning, Organisation and Assessment at

IMSERSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

3.2.1. Conclusions Workshop 2:

Relator: Mrs. María Eugenia Bolaños, International Affairs, IMSERSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

3.3. Workshop 3

“Exchange of good practices in the field of older persons' integration from the perspective of

civil society and its possibility of transferability”

Moderator: Mrs. Mala Kapur Shankardass, Maitreyi College, India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119


“Participation of older persons in the European Institutions”

Mrs. Gertraud Dayé, EURAG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121

“Presentation of the Programme on preretired persons in the Asturian coalmining Decisive yesterday,

essential today”

Mrs. Teresa Martínez Rodríguez, Principado de Asturias Regional Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125

“The SHARE project and some preliminary descriptive results”

Mr. Pedro Mira, Share Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

“How can the Committee of Regions suppress discrimination on the basis of age?

Proposals and solutions”

Mr. Peter Moore, Committee of Regions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

“Older people’s participation from an international perspective”

Mrs. Angela Haynes, HelpAge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139

3.3.1. Conclusions Workshop 3:

Relator: Mr. Antonio Martínez Maroto, General Subdirection of Planning and Evaluation,

IMSERSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143

3.3. Workshop 4

“What is it to be understood under solidarity and how does it take place in the relationships

among younger generations and the older persons?”

Moderator: Mr. Juan Díez-Nicolás, Complutense University of Madrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151


“Life span and solidarity: promoting well-being”

Mrs. Rocío Fernández Ballesteros, Autónoma University of Madrid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153

“Young people and intergenerational solidarity ”

Mr. Francisco Alonso, REPER Brussels, Representative of the European Youth Forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

“Old age and autonomy: the role of social services system and intergenerational solidarity”

Mrs. María Teresa Bazo, Proyecto Oasis en España . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167

“Women and intergenerational solidarity ”

Mrs. M. Luisa Marrugat, MERI Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169

“Older persons, new challenges”

Mrs. Helen Hamlin, I.F.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175

“Cooperative participation of the elderly in modern society”

Mr. Jesús Vizcaíno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

3.4.1. Conclusions Workshop 4:

Relator: Mr. Miguel Gil Montalbo, General Subdirection of Planning and Evaluation,

IMSERSO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181






Since the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing that was held in Madrid in April 2002, the IMSERSO

has been organising international seminars to debate and examine the recommendations made at the Second

Assembly, in order to propose specific actions in the field of policies for the older persons. The hosting of these

seminars or technical meetings is the response to the commitment that Spain undertook at the Commission for

Social Development of the United Nations to contribute to the implementation and follow-up of the Madrid

International Plan of Action on Ageing.

The International event on “the Contribution of the Older Persons to Economic and Social Development” is the third

edition of the annual international technical meetings and was preceded by the seminars “Old age as a stage of

personal development” (Cartagena 2003) and “Making progress in implementing the International Plan of Action

on ageing: training professionals” (Madrid 2004).

In collaboration with the United Nations, the issues to be dealt with at each seminar are chosen according to the

priorities that are indicated at international level as a follow-up to the Madrid Plan of Action. In this regard, the

seminar presented here received the contributions of important representatives from international organisations,

public administrations, the academic world and civil society. The discussions focussed basically on issues such as

how to improve the integration of the older persons by means of measures to promote equality, maintaining sustainability

by promoting active ageing and the new forms of relations between the generations.

The seminar included the participation of representatives from the Spanish central, regional and local Administrations,

from various Member States of the European Union, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation,

the International Labour Organization, the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna, the

European Federation of Older Persons (EURAG), as well as from civil society, the social agents and the academic

world, among others, at both national and international levels.

The criterion that was used for the work methodology was to follow the bottom-up participatory approach, which

is one of the main directions for review of the Madrid Plan, as it considers the older persons to be active members

of society and to facilitate their participation in the process of decision-making on issues that affect them. The

contribution made by the representatives of older person’s organisations was very worthy of note, as they explained

their recommendations in a constant process of dialogue, exchange and promotion of the intervention and

participation of all sectors involved.

The four workgroups at the seminar dealt with topics as complex and current as how to prolong active life, the

contribution of the older persons to economic growth, the situation of discrimination for reasons of age, stereotypes

on ageing, fields of participation and intergenerational relationships, to quote some issues that were dealt




Both the Administrations and the sector of the associations and scientific groups were in agreement that ageing

is a challenge and an opportunity for future societies. The need to combat all forms of discrimination and negative

prejudices, promote the active participation of the older persons, adjust our existing social welfare systems and

promote the mutually enriching process originated by the exchange of best practices between countries emerged

as the basic premises of the seminar.

April 2007 is the 5th anniversary of the Second World Assembly on Ageing. In order to commemorate this event,

Spain, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, will organise the Regional

Conference for Europe on the review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing scheduled to take place

in Leon in October 2007. The international technical seminars, like the one here presented, are contributing

towards the fulfilment of our commitments and initiatives as the Institute in charge of policies on ageing at

national and international level and intended to improve the wellbeing, the participation and the equality of the

older persons.

General Direction of IMSERSO






The contribution of older people

to social and economic

development: equity and social


Mr. Peter Lloyd-Sherlock

University of East Anglia, UK

Population ageing (defined as an increase in the percentage of a population aged 65 years or older) is a global

trend. It is long established in developed countries and is now occurring in many poorer parts of the world. There

is a tendency to portray population ageing as a threat to the future. Rather, it should be recognised as one of the

great achievements of the past century, albeit one which generates a range of social, economic, political and cultural

challenges. Population ageing is both part of and is influenced by wider processes of development and transformation.

The wellbeing and quality of life of elderly populations are strongly conditioned by their capacity to

manage opportunities and risks associated with rapid and complex change. Social protection, both formal and

informal, can play a key role in mediating these relationships.

To date, research about population ageing, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, remains underdeveloped

and patchy. There is an urgent need for a stronger knowledge base, and for coherent policy frameworks

which address the effects of ageing and the needs of older people. In many ways, thinking about ageing

and development is still in its infancy. This can be seen in the small volume of published research, compared to

fields such as gender studies. Much current thinking is closely derived from other fields of enquiry. These include

northern gerontology, traditional debates about social policy, and, increasingly, work on gender and development.

To some extent, these varied influences have helped make ageing and development a rich, eclectic and

exciting field to work in. However, they have also served to inhibit the emergence of a set of research concerns

which are particular to ageing and development. Partly because of this, policy debates have been pervaded by a

number of generalisations, stereotypes and myths. This paper examines some of the misconceptions that underlie

current thinking.

I will now go on to examine four sets of issues, each of which relates to a commonly held misconception. These

are the following:

• Population ageing is mainly a northern phenomenon.

• Inevitably, older people are unproductive, are high consumers, and represent a break on economic development.

• Inevitably, population ageing will place unsustainable pressures on formal social protection.

• The care economy can care for itself.



There is no universally-accepted definition of what constitutes old age. While there is general dissatisfaction with

defining old age in purely chronological terms, there would appear to be no better alternative. Old age is perceived

and understood in a multitude of different ways, often with important cultural variations (Midwinter, 1991;

Keith et al., 1994). These may refer to biological processes and physical appearance, key life events (for example

retirement or some other form of disengagement), or social roles (grandparenthood or ceremonial duties). Since

old age can cover a span of over three decades, most cultures distinguish between the ‘old old’ and ‘young old’,

and it is usually more meaningful to think in terms of a gradual change, rather than a sharp cut-off between adulthood

and later life.

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The contribution of older people to social and economic development: equity and social integration.


Tables 1 and 2 show that although the oldest population structures tend to be found in richer countries, the majority

of the world’s elderly people live in the South. This has been the case since the early 1980s, and by 2030 there

will be nearly three times as many people aged 60 or more in the South than the North. In fact, these figures understate

the ageing gap, given that in poorer countries effective old age is likely to set in long before a person reaches

60 or 65 years of age.




Population aged 60+ GDP per capita (US$ ppp)

1995 (%) 1998

Japan 20.5 23,257

USA 16.4 29,605

Brazil 7.1 6,625

India 7.2 2,077

Uganda 3.6 867

Burkina Faso 4.3 870

Sources: UN Population Division (1999); UNDP (2000).


1990 2030

More developed regions* Total population (millions) 1,147,980 1,209,507

Population aged 60+ (%) 17.7 29.2

Population aged 60+ (millions) 203,192 353,175

Less developed regions** Total population (millions) 4,188,462 6,902,473

Population aged 60+ (%) 6.9 14.6

Population aged 60+ (millions) 284,174 1,007,761

* North America, Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand

** The rest of the world

Source: UN Population Division (1999).

Population ageing is usually associated with demographic transition, modernisation and development. However, it

should not be assumed that countries ultimately reach an equilibrium state where fertility is sufficient to sustain

a fixed population size (and hence a stable age structure) (Demeny, 1997). In over 60 countries fertility has already

reached replacement level or fallen below it, which may lead to significant long-term population declines. As such,

it is difficult to predict the point where population ageing may tail off in the future. Current projections show that

36 per cent of Japanese will be aged over 65 by 2050, but we should not assume that this figure represents a high

watermark for future trends.

As their fertility rates drop, it is to be expected that poorer countries will follow the course of Japan and the North,

although the timing of this trend is difficult to gauge. The relative size of the elderly cohorts of many sub-Saharan

African countries is not yet rising. Nevertheless, a context of rapid population growth means that absolute numbers

of older people are increasing. Because of accelerated life-cycle transitions, standard chronological thresholds

of old age understate the true importance of the ageing process in the region (Apt, 1997). Also, high rates of mortality

from HIV/AIDS among younger groups are likely to cause a sudden rise in the relative size of the elderly population

in the near future.




“Global ageing could trigger a crisis that engulfs the world economy. This crisis may even threaten

democracy itself”.

(Petersen, 1999:55)

According to this view, ageing may be desirable from the point of view of an individual, but is bad for society as a

whole. While few people would go as far as Petersen, much of the policy debate is tinged with alarmism. In an

influential report, the World Bank observes that:

“The world is approaching an old age crisis… The proportion of the population that is old is

expanding rapidly, swelling the potential economic burden on the young”.

(World Bank, 1994)

Debates about the impact of ageing are shot through with what might be called a negative paradigm of population

ageing and later life. In this paradigm, later life is associated with dependency, vulnerability, an inherent lack

of capability, and, of course, a poor quality of life. With reference to economic development, it is claimed that older

people use up savings and sell off assets, they are unproductive, and that they have expensive needs, whose cost

reduces the resource base of the economy as a whole. These sorts of ideas sometimes translate in specific policy

agendas. For example, the main cost effectiveness tool used by the World Bank in allocating health care resources

gives a lower social value to health improvements for those aged 60 and over than it does for younger groups

(Paalman et al., 1998). The Bank justifies this on the grounds that younger people are productive, but older people

are not. This represents a blatant form of discrimination against older people, and may be based on misguided

assumptions about the contributions they make.

Slowly, a number of challenges are being made to the negative paradigm: according to HelpAge International, the

leading NGO working in this area:

“The substantial productive contribution of older people…is largely unrecognised by policy

makers. Too often older people are stereotyped as passive or helpless –the realities of their lives


(HelpAge International, 1999:xiii)

It is clear that older people are not all inherently incapable. What we call ‘old age’ can span more than 40 years

of a person’s life. Older people are a diverse group, living in very different circumstances. Examples of economic

contributions include the care of grandchildren (including AIDS orphans), pension-sharing, continued economic

activity, and the provision of accommodation (which they may have built or paid for) to other household members

(Kaiser, 1994; Sagner and Mtati, 1999; Saengtienchai and Knodel, 2001). More general contributions include

involvement in household and community decision-making, and the transmission of cultural values and wisdom.

According to this view, policy should seek to promote the capacity of older people to make contributions,

and should increase the opportunities for them to do so. This would contribute to healthy, active and meaningful

ageing experiences. These new ideas have come together under the general label of ‘active ageing’ (WHO,


2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The contribution of older people to social and economic development: equity and social integration.


The emergence of active ageing is to be welcomed, since it provides a refreshing alternative to the old, negative

paradigm. However, this new agenda may sometimes go too far to the other extreme, playing down the real needs

and vulnerabilities of many older people. For many of the aged, active ageing may remain a distant ideal. For example,

how can the concept of active ageing be put into practice for a sick, impoverished older person with severe

cognitive and physical impairments? It is important to recognise the dangers of generalising about later life experiences

from either a negative or a positive perspective: some older people have high levels of vulnerability and

dependence, others may be making more social and economic contributions than at any previous time in their lives,

and the great majority are both dependent and depended-upon. The main shortcoming of these opposed viewpoints

is that they portray later life as a common experience. A more balanced perspective requires an appreciation

of later life as a fluid, complex and heterogeneous phenomenon.

Given this diversity of experience, claims that elders represent a dead weight on economies and societies are overgeneralised

and are likely to distort policy. Nevertheless, the links between processes of demographic transition and

economic development are seen as inevitable. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPA):

“A growing working age population compared with older and younger dependants opens up a

window of opportunity for developing countries… Wise use of the “demographic bonus” can

lighten the burden of a rising older population in later years”.

(UNFPA, 1998:14)



On a more alarmist note, a recent European Commission report predicts that population ageing represents ‘a significant

factor in holding economic growth [in the EU] down to less than half that in the US, where the [dependency]

ratio will be lower’ (Financial Times, 14 December 2002).

The above scenarios may be mitigated by changing patterns of capability and functioning among elders. The

current economic contribution of some older people may be understated, and there may be ways to promote participation

through effective policies such as lifelong training and access to credit. In many countries a combination

of economic necessity, changing social attitudes, and the improving health profiles of elders may weaken the

link between ageing and a shrinking workforce. Richer countries may be able to sustain the total size of their workforces

by attracting large influxes of replacement migration (UN Population Division, 2000).

Much of the debate about ageing and development draws on the view that the middle years of the life course are

characterised by high savings rates, and that later life sees a decumulation of assets. It is argued that population

ageing will therefore lead to a reduction in aggregate savings rates. This view would appear to be borne out by

international comparisons (OECD, 1998). However, micro-economic research has challenged this finding, observing

that many elders continue to save, albeit at a lower rate than previously (Disney, 1996). One reason for this may

be that sustaining the size of future bequests increases the likelihood that younger family members will take an

interest in their wellbeing. Conversely, a consumption boom among older Japanese has been a key factor in mitigating

the country’s economic problems of recent years. A key stimulus for the ‘grey yen’ has been the introduction

of a hefty inheritance tax, which reduces the incentive to sustain savings and assets in old age.

There is similar uncertainty about the relationship between an ageing workforce and levels of productivity. In developed

countries public policy has focused on a need to extend economic participation in later life and to promote

more flexible relationships between employment and retirement. Whilst the economic and demographic imperatives

for these policies are obvious, they are hampered by prevailing ageist attitudes. Despite the existence of copious

empirical data which suggest otherwise, most surveys of employer attitudes report that older people continue to

be seen as less entrepreneurial, ambitious and flexible than younger age groups (Taylor and Walker, 1994). Studies

from the UK and Transition Economies demonstrate that older workers are more likely to be made redundant at

times of economic instability (Taylor, 1998; Bezrukov and Foigt, 2004). As such, more needs to be done to assess

the vulnerability of older workers to the effects of globalisation and neo-liberal adjustment on labour markets in

both developed and developing countries.

Another conventional wisdom is that ageing holds back development because investment is lost to the mounting

costs of social provision. Again this process is not inevitable, and will be heavily influenced by the ways in which

people experience later life. The costs of supporting an elderly population with high levels of protracted chronic

disease and general dependence will be greater than that for a healthy, active population. There are other problems

with demographic determinism: the USA spends twice as much of its economic output on health care as the UK

does, but contains a similar proportion of elders. Instead, the gap is mainly due to inefficiencies in the US private

health insurance market. This suggests that the impact of ageing on social spending is mediated by the ways in

which the social sectors are structured. In poorer countries the social sectors currently fail to meet the basic needs

of many people, old and young. In these cases, it is meaningless to project the impact of population ageing on

expenditure based on the experiences of other countries.

Debates about ageing and development may be able to learn from long-running controversies about population

growth. These have ranged from pessimistic neo-Malthusian predictions of a population ‘time-bomb’, to the claims

of optimists, such as Julian Simon, that population growth is an essential component for economic development

(Stanford, 1972; Simon, 1977). Empirical research has often favoured a more nuanced view: that the relationship

is context-specific and includes different long-run and short-run effects (Ahlburg, 1998). Parallels may be drawn

with apocalyptic claims that the world is now facing an ‘old age crisis’. With time and a more robust empirical basis,

debates about ageing and development may take on a less extreme hue.



A key part of the relationship between development and the wellbeing of older people relates to the creation of

formal social protection programmes. It is dangerous to assume a direct association between general levels of

prosperity and the strength of formal social protection. In the liberal welfare regimes of some Asian countries, the

State makes little formal provision for older people. Conversely, Cuba’s generous welfare services belie a context of

economic stagnation. Ideology, institutional path-dependency and social choices can be as significant as economic

growth in determining the scale of formal social protection in a country.

Nevertheless, it is possible to identify some general differences in formal social protection between high, middle

and low-income countries. Developed countries tend to spend larger amounts on formal social protection, and a

high share of this is devoted to programmes of direct relevance to older people. These programmes range from the

provision of pensions to health care, institutional care and other forms of social service. Such programmes tend to

be based on a dependency view of older people. These programmes are expensive, and are often viewed as beyond

the financial and institutional means of many developing and, increasingly, developed countries. This has led to

concerns that pressures on public policy caused by population ageing are likely to cause a global ‘old age crisis’

(World Bank, 1994).

In low-income countries, social policies have tended to focus on the needs of other age groups, such as mothers,

children and ‘workers’. Instead of sustaining existing programmes, the main challenge for such countries will be to

factor older people into social policies for the first time. In many cases, this will occur against a backdrop of severe

resource constraints and generalised hardship. In these cases, a shift in the priorities of external donors and

NGOs will be required. For some countries, meeting the needs of older people has been over-shadowed by the

HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Across middle income countries, the scale of formal social protection for older people is extremely varied, ranging

from minimal interventions to schemes which rival those of the North (Lloyd-Sherlock, 2002). There is a tendency

to focus on income support programmes, particularly contributory pensions, rather than dedicated health programmes

or social services. Typically, access to services and benefits is restricted to relatively privileged socio-economic

groups, raising concerns about equity and the social exclusion of poor older people. In many middle income

countries, social protection for all groups has been threatened by structural adjustment, by abrupt transitions

from socialist welfare models, and by the rapid growth of private sector welfare agencies, in what is often a very

weak regulatory setting. The effectiveness and sustainability of social policies will depend on institutional structures

as much as ageing. In a context of poor governance and anarchic private provision, the chances are that

social policies will be exclusionary, inefficient and expensive.

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The contribution of older people to social and economic development: equity and social integration.


Debates about public policy for older people are strongly derived from the experiences of the North, and have been

dominated by controversies about pension reform (Lloyd-Sherlock, 2000b). Recent reforms have mainly sought to

replace unitary public sector pension funds with more pluralistic arrangements, including a significant private sector

component. The arguments in favour of this arrangement are that it promotes competition (and hence effi-

ciency), stimulates capital markets and relieves the public sector of an activity it was not well-suited to perform.

Some of these contentions have been challenged by studies of reformed systems in countries such as Chile and

the UK.

However, debates about pension reform overlook several key issues. The first is that the majority of the world’s

older people do not receive a pension, be it publicly or privately managed, and are unlikely to do so in the foreseeable

future. Those who do receive pensions may share this income with other family members, and may supplement

it with other sources. As such, the relationship between old age pension policy and the economic welfare of

older people is not always direct and should not be overstated. Secondly, the debate has tended to overlook the

existence of successful pension programmes which do not fit within the parameters of the new neo-liberal model:

examples include Singapore’s publicly-administered provident fund and non-contributory schemes in a number of

countries (Charlton and McKinnon, 2001). These call into doubt the ‘onesize fits all’ approach to pensions of some

international agencies. It is possible that these experiences might be applied to other contexts.



While it may be debatable whether poor countries should undertake to establish large-scale pension programmes,

it is accepted that all governments have some responsibility for the health of their populations, including elders.

Older people are usually associated with chronic conditions that are expensive to treat. This has two consequences.

First, it has provoked fears of an ageing-related health care cost explosion in the North. Second, it has promoted

the view that, as with pensions, comprehensive geriatric care is beyond the financial means of most developing

countries. Prophets of a cost explosion overlook the fact that any impact of ageing on health spending is

strongly mediated by a range of other factors, including how services are organised and financed (Van der Gaag

and Preker, 1997). As such, the ambitious health sector reforms being applied in many countries are likely to have

a large effect on their capacity to service elders efficiently (Cassels, 1995).

The growing literature on new public management, cost recovery, private insurance and decentralisation makes

scant reference to their impacts on elders. However, there are indications that the growing role of private insurance

may both increase the overall costs of old age provision, as well as promoting inequity and exclusion (Lloyd-

Sherlock, 2000a). Also, the view that health care for older people is inherently expensive ignores the potential contributions

of appropriate primary health care (PHC) programmes to older people. In poorer countries, where resources

are scarce and access to basic services limited, targeted PHC interventions could substantially improve older

people’s quality of life.


Divisions between formal social protection and informal means of support for elders are often blurred, and increasing

attention is now being paid to the interface between them. This is particularly significant in the area of longterm

care for vulnerable elders. As the numbers of people surviving to very old ages increase, the demand for care

services is projected to soar. Estimates for the USA show that the number of older people using nursing homes will

rise from 2.2 to 3.8 million between 1993 and 2018. Over the same period, the number of users of in-home services

is projected to more than double, reaching 10.74 million (Weiner et al., 1994). In the UK it has been estimated

that around 14% of women and 7% of men aged 65 years or more require daily help to maintain independent

living. This includes services ranging from home cleaning to full-time, intensive nursing care.

In many countries of the North, the State only finances or provides a small part of care services. Instead, most are

being met by either the private sector or informal carers. As such, a burning issue is how to effectively combine

the State, family and private sector in order to ensure care provision is adequate (Walker, 1992). In the private sector

there are problems of regulation (not least concerns about elder abuse); of equity (for many older people private

care is simply not an option), and of supply (the total number of places in UK residential care has fallen by

about 9% since 1996). Recent research from the UK calculated the cost of paying informal carers at market rates

to be £8 billion a year (British Medical Journal editorial, 3 October 1998). There is an urgent need to recognise the

contribution of informal carers, support them and compensate them. Also, more should be done to develop innovative

approaches to combine informal care with State support, such as respite programmes.

In the South it is widely assumed that care and social services are not a policy priority, since traditional household

and community structures are still able to play this role. In most developing countries the great majority of older

people continue to live with children or other family members (Sokolovsky, 2000). However, this in itself does not

guarantee satisfactory care. Contexts of poverty and rapid change put families under strain and reduce their capacity

to meet these needs. Increased female participation in the salaried labour force is likely to constrain the supply

of informal care, regardless of household structure. Rapid rises in the numbers of very old are likely to stimulate

demand for residential care, but these services remain very under-developed in the South. Widespread publiclyfunded

care may not be an affordable option for poorer countries, but little is being done to examine how the roles

of households as informal carers might be complemented and bolstered by relatively inexpensive policy interventions.

The issues of care for and care by elderly people contain strong gender dimensions. Although cultural attitudes to

supporting the aged vary, women are almost always the main providers of care, whether the responsibility falls to

youngest daughters, daughters-in-law, sisters or some other relation. Women also predominate as paid carers, either

in institutions or working in private households. In poorer, three-generation households, this may add to the

multiple responsibilities of employment, domestic chores and childcare. Where older people are themselves the

providers of care, women also tend to predominate. Grand-parenting often represents an extension of a woman’s

previous domestic responsibilities (Sagner and Mtati, 1999; Varley and Blasco, 2000). Since women are more likely

to survive their male spouses, they are more likely to provide care to their spouses, rather than receive it. Women

are also more likely to be widowed, which reduces their access to informal care, particularly in cultures that discriminate

against widowhood.

Patterns of care are strongly influenced by inter-generational exchange and reciprocity. Even when they have little

current income, many older people still own houses and other valuable assets, such as land. Research has found

that both explicit and implicit contracts about inheritance and asset transfer may have an important effect on

current care arrangements (Chayovan and Knodel, 1997). However, it should not be assumed that inheritance and

similar forms of inter-generational exchange accord with a perfect moral economy, in which care-giving is matched

by subsequent bequests. Possessing inheritance goods does not guarantee that an older person will receive

good care: equally, the principal carer may go unrewarded. Also, it may be simplistic to reduce such relations to an

economic rationale, ignoring cultural norms of filial duty. Practices and traditions of inheritance and exchange vary

around the world. In India, for example, inheritance is usually patrilineal, increasing the vulnerability of elderly

widows (Agnes, 1999). There is a need to explore how these practices might be reinforced or modified through the

application of appropriate legal codes or other public policy interventions.

Exchange between generations may be deferred as well as immediate, often in unintended ways. As adults enter

later life, their position of authority within households may be replaced by one of dependence, leading to unforeseen

consequences and increasing their vulnerability to abuse (Varley and Blasco, 2000). Similarly, patterns and

expectations of inter-generational relations may be influenced by historical experiences. For the first time, many

developed countries are seeing large numbers of older people, especially women, who have already experienced the

role of long-term carer for an elderly parent. By contrast, few older people in poor countries saw their own parents

or grandparents experience a protracted old age, and therefore they are less inclined to foresee that this will be

their own fate, or to appreciate the care that may be required from younger relatives.

More attention should be given to the impact of public policy on intergenerational exchange. There is still controversy

about whether public pension programmes crowd out transfers within families. The World Bank argues that

this is the case, but the limited empirical evidence is less conclusive (World Bank, 1994). Where exchange is based

on a notion of reciprocity, it may be bolstered by the provision of pensions. Less has been said about the impacts

of privatising health care and education on intergenerational exchange. These remove the arena of exchange away

from the public domain and society as a whole, to the domain of private household financial decision-making. This

could make intergenerational conflicts starker, as, for example, households are faced with a trade-off between continuing

to pay for the education of a child or paying for the health care of an older person.

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The contribution of older people to social and economic development: equity and social integration.



Any general discussion of population ageing and older people begs one very important question: in what way are

elders (or later life) significantly different from younger age groups (or earlier stages in the life course)? This is not

an easy question to answer for several reasons. First, there is no obvious cut-off between later life and earlier life,

nor is there a satisfactory definition of old age. Second, as has been seen, older people are a heterogeneous group,

living in very different circumstances. The problems faced by elders in low-income countries may have much more

in common with those of younger generations than with those of elders living in the rich North.


Nevertheless, it is possible to make at least some generalisations about older people. As a group, they are less

likely to be engaged in salaried economic activity. They are more exposed to age-related risks, such as physical

decline and some kinds of chronic disease. Older people are also exposed to the general stereotypes and prejudices

of society at large: attitudes which may become self-fulfilling prophecies. Taken together, these mean that

the capabilities of older people tend to be restricted, and become increasingly so as they progress through later

life to death. These common characteristics go some way towards justifying the emerging academic interest and

policy focus on older people around the world. However, they do not justify the portrayal of older people as a

special interest group, whose interests are separate from, and possibly in conflict with, those of other generations.

Elders do not exist in isolation (despite the best efforts of some societies to promote this), and so their wellbeing

is intimately bound in with that of society as a whole. Many of the concerns raised in this discussion relate

to wider issues, such as poverty reduction and gender equity. As with gender, policy needs to recognise both

difference and inter-dependence.

Population ageing is accelerating, and can now be considered a global phenomenon. However, it is unwise to generalise

about what this may mean, either for older people or for the societies in which they live. There is a prevailing

negative paradigm that labels older people as inherently incapable, as well as representing a break on development

and a burden on public policy and informal carers. Yet these views are more often based on supposition

than hard evidence, and there are increasing calls for a more up-beat, ‘active ageing’ approach. Population ageing

requires a dynamic response from public policy and social attitudes, a key challenge being the need to reduce the

exclusion of elders from salaried economic activity. This process of adaptation has been slow, uncertain and imperfect,

and is likely to continue to be so.

Population ageing poses particular challenges for developing countries. International debates are almost exclusively

drawn from northern gerontology and neo-liberal political economy. While these may provide some useful

insights, they have very little to say about the situation of many older people in many parts of the world. There is

a manifest gap in current knowledge about policies and frames of reference which may be of relevance to the

South. If the needs of older people in such countries are not addressed, population ageing may simply constitute

an extension of privation and misery, rather than an enrichment of lifetime opportunities.



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The different forms of activity

throughout life and

intergenerational relations

Mr. Juan Díez-Nicolás

Complutense University and ASEP


Making the necessary precisions with regard to specific countries, it can be said that the world demographic trends

may be established as follows:

• Reduction in mortality in all societies, to the extent that the average life expectancy at birth in less developed

countries is today 65 years, in comparison with an age of 76 years in more developed countries. (The main

exceptions are certain countries in Africa, because of AIDS and famine, with a life expectancy around 35 and 45


• Reduction in fertility in all societies, although this figure in the more developed countries (1.6 children per

woman) is far below the replacement level, whereas that of the less developed countries (3.0) is still high, and

even higher (3.5) if we exclude China, because the fertility rate in this country, that represents one fifth of the

world population, is now at the low rate of 1.6 children per woman.

• Downward trend in demographic growth in all societies, almost zero (and even negative) in developed societies,

but which has also dropped considerably in all less developed countries (average 1.5% per year) although in

some (all of them in the African continent, South of the Sahara) the annual average is still higher than 3%

(meaning that the population is doubled every 23 years). With a growth of 1.5% per year at present rate the

world population would double in the next 50 years (we should however remember that in the last 50 years the

population has more than tripled). This trend towards an increasingly smaller demographic growth is consequence

of a reduction in fertility all over the world.

• Trend towards a progressively accelerated population ageing everywhere, as consequence of an increase in life

expectancy and a reduction in fertility. Ageing is now evidenced in more developed societies, where the proportion

of population aged 65 and older reaches and even exceeds the proportion of those under 15 (15-20%).

Ageing in less developed countries however (now they only represent between 3-8% of the population aged 65

and older over), will be steadily increased in the next two decades, if the present trends towards an increase in

life expectancy and a reduction in fertility continue in all countries.

• Trend towards an accelerated rise in the dependency rate (number of people over 65 for every 100 persons aged

between 15 and 64). There are 10 people 65 years old and older for every 100 persons aged between 15 and 64

today in the world, but whereas in more developed countries the proportion is 22 for every 100, in less developed

countries this is only 8 for every 100. And it is in forecasts where the acceleration in ageing of populations

can best be observed, given that for the whole of the world (population) and in the year 2030 the proportion

will be 18 people 65 years old and older for every 100 persons aged between 15 and 64, but this proportion will

be more than 50 for every 100 in Japan, more than 40 for every 100 in the European Union, more than 30 for

every 100 in the rest of Europe and North America, and almost 20 for every 100 in less developed countries. For

several decades big disparities will still be observed in the distribution of the population by ages in the different

regions in the world, but the global downward trend in growth is very clear, and particularly in the ageing

of elderly people, namely a bigger growth rate of population of 80 years of age and older in comparison with

the population aged between 65 and 80 years.

• The trends therefore seem unequivocally alike in all countries, although in more developed countries they seem

to have now reached a situation characterised by a very high life expectancy (that could improve slightly or a

lot in the coming decades depending on progress in medicine, biotechnology and health sciences in general),

with a lower fertility at replacement level (with small variations but, most likely, below that level), with a very

low, zero or negative growth, and with a growing ageing in their population. Less developed populations also

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The different forms of activity throughout life and intergenerational relations.


tend to follow this same scenario, although it is of course likely that they will still need some decades to reach

the same levels as the more developed societies (supposing that significant changes in the environment do not

alter these trends).


Although we have already mentioned the global trend towards an accelerated population ageing, observed both in

more developed countries and in less developed ones, it is necessary to make a more detailed analysis of how

ageing has occurred in more developed populations, and how this ageing is going to continue both in more developed

populations and in less developed ones. There is no need to insist on the fact that ageing has occurred because

of the combined action of a fall in mortality, especially in child mortality and the subsequent rise in life expectancy,

and because of a lower fertility rate.



There is evidently a big change in the structure of the population, and this change will affect all more developed

populations, in the medium term, and all the other world populations, as consequence of a reduction in fertility

and as increase in life expectancy everywhere. In fact, the proportion of population of 60 years of age and older in

2050 in the whole of Europe (which along with Japan will be the world region with most elderly population) will,

according to United Nations estimates, be 35%, with variations between northern Europe (32%) and southern

Europe (39%). But the proportion of population of 60 years of age and older in the entire world population will be

22%, that is, the same proportion as is observed today in the European Union.

One frequently hears talk, especially by politicians and news media, about the “problem” of ageing, as if having

achieved a prolongation in life expectancy in the world was a problem instead of a major success of humankind.

Article 2 of the Political Declaration approved by the Second World Assembly on Ageing, organised by the United

Nations in Madrid in 2002, categorically affirms: “We celebrate the increase in life expectancy in many regions of

the world as one of humankind's major achievements”. Since ageing is consequence of the combined action of a

drop in mortality and a drop in fertility, it seems difficult to avoid it, because it can only be avoided by reversing

the process and obtaning increases in mortality or increases in birth rate. No person or country desires an increase

in mortality, nor is this foreseeable except, unfortunately, in certain African countries. All available data about

the increase in fertility suggest that it is falling all over the world and that it is being maintained or fluctuating

with minor variations that can scarcely be considered an upward trend in countries that have a significantly lower

fertility rate compared with the replacement level. In addition, although some argue in favour of increasing fertility

in order to avoid demographic ageing in certain specific countries, from a global outlook this would imply an

increase in the population growth rate that would possibly cause more problems than any other thing. In any case,

for an increase in fertility to have repercussions delaying the demographic ageing in a specific society, this should

be made in an important, increasing and continuing way throughout dozens of years. A third way of delaying

population ageing that some have proposed is to increase migration, a solution that, in order to be effective in

reducing ageing, should reach an extraordinary annual amount and be sustained for many years, as a report by the

United Nations (Replacement Migration) has shown. Given that none of these three possible solutions seem foreseeable

from the demographic analysis outlook, at least at short and medium term, and in some cases would not

appear desirable either, it would be more logical to start thinking about what changes are required in the social

structures to adapt to that inevitable (and not necessarily undesirable) change in the demographic structures of

future societies.

Indeed it looks very positive and not problematic that most of those who are born can live to ages of around 100

and even longer, which for the time being seems to be the ceiling of human life, although there are well-founded

hopes that this ceiling will soon be crossed. Population ageing should not be considered a “social problem” but a

major achievement in the present-day societies. Also, the mainstream of all known research in different countries

and with different development levels is that the change that has taken place not only implies that the proportion

of those who reach 65 or 80 years of age is increasingly bigger, but also that they reach this age in better physical

and mental conditions. The important thing is not that the average life expectancy at birth in developed countries

is 80 years of age for women and 73 years of age for men, but that people who actually reach these ages do

so with a far superior physical and mental health to that of just one or two decades ago. It is no exaggeration to

affirm that the physical and mental state of a 75-year-old person today is similar (and even better) than that of a

65-year-old person just 30 or 40 years ago.

As a consequence of all these facts, it seems the time has now come to recognise that the traditional age divisions

can no longer be used, taking into account the fact that average life expectancy at birth has more than doubled in

comparison with that of more developed countries at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.

In fact, when average life expectancy in more developed countries at the beginning of the 20th century was

35-40 years old, persons of 15 years of age were considered young people and people over 65 were considered

elderly. To apply these same age brackets to the more developed countries present population is absurd because life

expectancy is now around 80 years of age and the emancipation of young people occurs at around 30 years of age.

It would seem more logical to consider as young people those persons under 25 (in some more developed countries

persons under 30 are already considered young people for the purpose of welfare benefits and aid) and those older

than 75. The retirement age should therefore be delayed until 75 years of age (with the exception of those jobs that

require a big physical effort). In reality, and considering that retirement has been a right achieved by workers throughout

the centuries, one cannot understand very well why such a right has become a duty, such as the compulsory

retirement now in force in a large number of countries, whether developed or under development.

The present life cycle would rather advise accepting the prolongation in active life and retirement as something

voluntary, and only compulsory in the event of physical or mental disability to perform a certain type of work. And

the retirement pension, in those countries that already have a public pension system, should always be calculated

in proportion to the exact time (years, months and even days) that each individual has contributed to the Social

Security System (although there should be a minimum guaranteed for all of them, as it is already standard practice

in many more developed countries). What we cannot imagine in any way is that a society in the year 2050

pays retirement pensions to 40% of persons over 60, nevertheless. It can be considered that it pays retirement pensions

to 18-20% of persons over 75, which is more or less what would result from the above-mentioned prediction

by the United Nations. The time has come to accept that population ageing, first that of the more developed

countries, but later that of all the others, will inevitably occur in the coming decades, due to two already mentioned

changes: a reduction in mortality and increase in life expectancy up to around 100 years of age, and a reduction

in fertility up to the replacement level, and even below it.

But, although the increase in mortality is unlikely, except in certain underdeveloped countries, (and of course undesirable

in all countries), many experts and politicians are in favour of restraining ageing by increasing fertility,

something that evidently goes against all recent data and data expected in the near future practically world-wide.

From a strict scientific approach, taking as a basis the demographic analysis, the only way to rejuvenate populations

in the currently aged countries is to nearly double the present fertility rate indefinitely, because as soon as

fertility drops, there will be an increase in the proportion of elderly people. Indeed, for the present more or less rectangular

structure of the population of the more developed countries to recover the pyramid shape of several decades

ago (broad young people base, and small peak of adult population), fertility would have to increase up to the

replacement level, but in such a way that each new age bracket is slightly more numerous than the previous one,

otherwise the base of the pyramid would become narrow again, losing that shape to return back to the rectangular

one. And it seems that such an increase in fertility, regardless whether or not it is considered desirable, will not

happen in the coming decades.

Also, an issue that is open to debate is if a general increase in fertility is desirable worldwide, because with an already

low and still declining mortality, this would imply a strong growth in the world population. We must not forget

the fact in this respect that the growth in world population has been higher since 1950 approximately than

what it had even been in the entire history of mankind. (Remember that, starting from a hypothetic but plausible

world population in the Christian era year 0, of some 250 million inhabitants, it took 1650 years to double the

population, that was again doubled in just 200 years, and it doubled once more in just 100 years, so that in 1950

the world population was around 2 billion inhabitants, but in just 50 years it has more than tripled to reach 6.4

billion in 2005). Even a growth rate lower than that, like the present one of 1.5% per year, would double the world

population in the next 50 years.

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The different forms of activity throughout life and intergenerational relations.


But also, and independent of whether a growth in fertility is or not desirable in order to avoid population ageing,

it is true that the possibility of such an increase does not seem to be sensed, judging from all the temporary series

of known data on fertility rates per age of mothers in developed and undeveloped countries, to the extent that all

these series show downward trends in the fertility index and in the fertility rates of younger age groups (that have

traditionally been the most fertile ones), due to the delay in the marriage age and the consequent delay in the age

when they have their first or any child. And the known survey data on expectations and desires to have children,

also in countries with very different development levels, also show without question that there is no empirical evidence

to diagnose a significant increase in fertility rates, and in any case it is not likely to return to a fertility rate

that would allow the population to be replaced.



The third “solution” that some experts and politicians suggest in order to avoid population ageing is migration. It

is true that, at first, receiving immigrants increases the relative weight of the age groups of adult-young people,

and that because of their youth and the cultural values of their countries of origin, they will tend to contribute

towards a certain increase in the birth rate. But this apparent “solution”, if any, would only be applicable to those

countries receiving migration that would rejuvenate receiving young adults, and not to the source countries, that

by losing young adults, would become older. Secondly, the relative weight of the migration population represents

a smaller proportion of the total population (generally less than 10%) in receiving countries, and a yet smaller proportion

in source countries, and their effects on the respective receiving and source populations are relatively

insignificant. For their effects to be more significant in receiving populations, their volume must be much greater,

which would possibly be avoided for political and social reasons, as we are already seeing in European Union countries

and in other developed countries, where for instance they are tightening up on measures to avoid the entry

of migrant flows, especially clandestine migration. And lastly, those that defend this “solution” for ageing seem to

forget that migrants also age, and that if they do not return to their countries of origin when they reach senior

ages, the adult population of the asylum countries will also be increased. Finally, migration may represent a brief

respite in ageing (supposing this is a problem, as mentioned above) but only for a short period of time and only in

the asylum countries, but it cannot really be considered to be a medium and long term “solution” for the world





The above discussion has seemingly established that, whilst the present trends for an increase in life expectancy

and fertility beneath the new replacement level persist, the world population will continue to age. The traditional

demographic structure before industrialisation was characterised by an ample young people population base

that resulted from a high and stable birth rate, but the high mortality (and especially high child mortality) provoked

very important losses in population when passing from one bracket to the next, which inevitably would

lead to a population structure by ages in the form of a pyramid, with an insignificant proportion of population

reaching elderly ages. Industrialisation and modernisation in more developed societies provoked a fall in mortality

throughout almost one century that reached very low levels, whilst the birth rate continued at high levels

and would only progressively also be reduced (although this process was made in just a few decades in less

developed countries after the Second World War regarding the drop in mortality, but not in the birth rate). In

both cases, this process provoked a certain rejuvenation of the population, because the birth rate continued to

provide even more numerous age brackets than before, due to the fact that reduction in mortality was proportionally

higher in younger age groups. Lastly, once low mortality and birth rate levels were reached in more

developed countries, the age structure assumed a more rectangular form, given the fact that the number of

births is relatively constant and small and almost all those who form each age bracket live until ages of around

70 years of age, although almost all of them die afterwards in a short period of time of around 15 to 20 years.

Therefore, the only way “in theory” to avoid population ageing, and return to the traditional pyramid structure,

rather than the present rectangular structure, would be to have an increase in mortality, because the increase

in child birth does not seem possible or desirable in general and the increase in migration does not seem to be

a medium or a long term solution.

Thus, if population ageing is not only unavoidable but also desirable, since it means obtaining that almost the entire

age bracket of those who are born may reach around 100 years of age, what we must discuss is not how to avoid

what is an inevitable consequence of our own desires, but how to adapt society to this new reality. Most demographic

policies aim to adapt demographic structure to social structure, when it is obvious that this is useless, and

that efforts should be made to adapt social structure to demographic structure. Removing persons from active

working life only for reasons of age when they are in good physical and mental conditions, preventing them from

continuing to perform their work, and doing so at ages in which, with the present life expectancy, they shall remain

in such a state for other twenty or thirty years does not seem to correspond to the new values of emancipation

and respect of the individual rights of modern democracies. Possibly we should start changing social structures so

that elderly people become full right citizens without suffering age discrimination (and this implies having an

occupation whilst their physical and mental state allows it) and they may decide for themselves when and how

they want to start forming part of the so-called “passive class”. If the delay in youth because of the longer training

period required by today's societies has been accepted, then the delay in retirement must also be accepted to adapt

to the higher life expectancy and better health conditions of the adult population. What does not seem reasonable

or possible is to delay the age for entering the labour market and to anticipate the age for leaving it, simultaneously

with an increase in life expectancy.

Developed societies today must accept that there will be a certain unbalance for a few decades in the age distribution

of their population, but after that period, the distribution will be based on a sustained low fertility and a

very high life expectancy at birth, and logically an almost zero or even negative demographic growth. Also, if it is

socially accepted that youth is delayed until 25-30 years of age, and that ageing is delayed until 75-80 years of

age, the real comparison between the population distribution in developed countries in the '80s and that of 2050

would be quite similar, because in both cases the population at a working age (30-75 years) will be 55-65%, as

usual, and in addition there will be a far higher and real participation of women in the active population. In any

case, those who defend reducing the ageing social impact (especially the alleged effects on retirement pensions)

by an increase in fertility should consider that the demographic facts have many inter-reciprocal relations and have

effects that persist in the population for many decades. This population would gradually approach the stationary

population model, because the number of births in each country would be quite constant and equivalent to the

number of deaths, which would imply a growth very close to zero, with an almost non-existing mortality until

around the age of 100, providing quite a rectangular shaped population with almost the same number of people

in each age bracket.


It should be made quite clear that neither economic development nor the quality of life or social welfare have a

clear relationship with the population size, and thus the fact that the volume of the population in any country is

bigger or smaller should not be an issue of concern. There are countries with a very small population, like

Switzerland or the Netherlands, with high per capita incomes and high quality of life, and others with a very large

population, like India or Nigeria, with low per capita incomes and low quality of life. And there are countries with

a large volume of population and with high per capita incomes (like the United States), and small countries with

low per capita incomes, like Burkina Faso. Neither is there a direct relationship between the growth rate of the

population and the quantity or quality of life; thus we see countries with little growth or even with negative

growth, like the majority of countries in the European Union, that are highly developed and have high social welfare

levels, whilst the less developed countries usually have high demographic growth rates. In this case, we not

only find a direct or positive relationship between demographic growth and economic and social development, but

we also find an inverse relationship: although it is difficult to say if the higher the economic and social development,

the lower the demographic growth, or if the lower the demographic growth, the higher its economic development.

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The different forms of activity throughout life and intergenerational relations.


In fact, from a global point of view, everything that may contribute to reduce the world population growth rate

must be considered as something positive, and de facto, although the developed countries have been the first to

reach lower growth rates, near zero (or even negative), the other countries are also drastically reducing their demographic

growth rates compared to those they had several decades ago, although not so rapidly as it would be desirable

from the perspective of international organisations. Naturally, and given that life expectancy is continuously

rising in all countries (with the recent exception of certain African populations) the reduction in the demographic

growth rate occurs by reducing fertility.



Available data show that both the total (positive or negative) growth and its components (natural and migratory)

vary within very narrow and very low limits in almost all the more developed countries. It can however be seen

that most countries in western Europe (and even more so in the United States) still have a natural positive growth

(more births than deaths), whereas the countries in eastern Europe are more or less divided equally between those

that have positive natural growth and those that have negative natural growth. However, all countries in western

Europe have positive migratory balances, whereas most countries in eastern Europe have negative migratory balances.

Migration therefore seems to contribute to the population growth, and significantly, only in the more developed

countries of Europe and possibly only during a short period of time.

Most international organisations and experts have agreed for decades that it would be advisable to reduce the

demographic growth rate, and that to do so, birth rate must be reduced.

Consequently, it seems that there are no reasons to consider a low demographic growth unsuitable, even approximate

to zero in the overall world population, but quite the contrary, because the higher the demographic growth

rate, the higher the economic growth rate will also have to be, even though this is only to keep the level and quality

of life of the population constant. And, on the contrary, the higher the demographic growth rate, the higher

the economic growth rate, even if only to avoid a drop in the level and quality of life of its citizens.


The argument stating that the low fertility currently observed in the more developed populations will reduce the

future active population and consequently a smaller active population will have to pay the pensions of a larger

retired population is not sustained from the point of view of a demographic analysis. It has already been indicated

on several occasions that although an increase in mortality would reduce the absolute and relative volume of

the population, this increase is not foreseeable generally in most countries, or is it desirable in any case. And even

supposing that fertility undergoes an extraordinary increase from now on, that increase should have to be maintained

more or less indefinitely, and we would still particularly have to wait 25-30 years until the persons born in

that same year reach their working age, obtain jobs and contribute to the Social Security, which means delaying

the solution for at least a quarter of a century. Also, this consideration implies that all those who are born now

would have jobs and would contribute to the Social Security, a question that is doubtful, to say the least. On the

contrary, there are other more sociological solutions that do not require an increase in mortality or in fertility.

Now let's suppose, as those who are in favour of increasing fertility seem to think, that there is and will be abundant

employment (and that those who are born today will also have jobs and will not swell the ranks of the unemployed

or under-employed, requiring unemployment subsidies or family aid); it seems easier and quicker to start

by offering jobs to young people who currently do not have a job, so that, besides satisfying that demand, we

would increase the number of contributors to the Social Security. If there is still an uncovered employment offer,

employment demands and expectations can be satisfied by the very many women who are still waiting for an

opportunity to work all over the world (their unemployment rates usually double or triple those of men), and those

who are not unemployed could even be encouraged (because in view of the difficulties they do not even look for

jobs), to look for paid work outside home (because it is evident that they work, but are not paid for working at

home) and obtain female employment rates of 80-90% like countries in northern Europe.

Thirdly, active population of more developed countries could be increased right now, without waiting 25 years, just

by delaying the retirement age (in a voluntary and paid way), so that these people would not only receive retire-

ment benefits (or else they would receive reduced benefits) but would continue paying the Social Security. This

would also delight numerous people who fear their forthcoming compulsory retirement. And fourthly, if optimists

about the employment situation are right, and there is still an unsatisfied employment offer with the above three

measures, the low contribution by present migration could always be increased, which would receive the applause

of developing countries and countries with surplus population.

The comparison between the life cycle of a generation of a developed country half a century ago (or an undeveloped

country today), and a generation of developed country today offers evident contrasts that should be taken into

account in order to adapt the social structure to the new demographic reality, and not the other way round, as

some pretend.

Forty or fifty years ago (or today in a non-developed country), the population (generally male) joined the active

population at around 20 years of age (and even earlier in many cases), and it generally remained in the active population

(frequently in the same job) until at least 60 years of age. Life expectancy was around 60 years of age, so

that a person (generally a male) would continue in the active population for an average period of 40 years over a

life of 60 years, or, which is the same, would remain in the active population for 66% of their life. Today, however,

young people remain longer in the educational systems receiving training and, given the lack of jobs, they join the

active population at around 30. But as a consequence of the greater mobility in employment, the industrial recovery,

the relocations of the economic activity and even the process of globalisation, after 55 voluntary or compulsory

“early retirement” and long-term unemployment begin to be frequent, which means that the rate of activity

in the population group of 50 to 65 years old does not exceed 40% in most developed countries, at the same time

as compulsory retirement continues at around 65, and life expectancy is 80-85 years. This new life cycle implies

that, on average, a person today has a paid occupation for 25 years, but with an average life expectancy of 80 years,

which means that they belong to the active population for only 31% of their life, and the rest of the time (69%)

they have to be subsidised, either by the family or by the State and/or society. It is paradoxical, to say the least,

that the age for entering the active population has been significantly delayed 10 years, that the age for leaving the

active population has been advanced another 10 years and that at the same time the life expectancy has been

increased at least 15 years, and we still believe society is going to take care of the subsistence of its citizens for

three quarters of their life. The situation we have described with all it implies regarding simplification and generalisation

cannot be sustained, either for society or for individuals.

Society will not be able indeed to face the responsibility of a population aged between 30 and 50, or even a population

aged between 30 and 60, maintaining the population under 30 and the population over 50 or 60 by means

of their direct or indirect contributions. And individuals will hardly agree to wait until 30 to start controlling their

own lives, and to lose again that control when they are 50 or 60 for other 30 or 20 years more. Obviously, the

demographic structure of populations has changed drastically, but it intends to maintain the same social structure,

which does not seem possible from the economic outlook of society, or even from the human outlook of the

individual. No society, regardless of its government or economic system, will be able to permit itself to subsidise

its citizens for three parts of their lives, and no individual will accept being subsidised for that same period of time.

In the present capitalist societies, based on the free market economy, paid occupation is the main (almost exclusive)

source of income, social prestige and power, and citizens will be reluctant to enjoy such benefits for only a

quarter of their lives. The organisation of society cannot be based on the vast majority of individuals only having

a paid employment for 20 or 25 years throughout a life of 80 years. It is simply irrational from any point of view

to think of an organised society (or rather an unorganised one) based on such premises. This therefore calls for a

radical change in the way society is organised, and such a change would require making training compatible with

occupation, simultaneously or successively in time, namely making work compatible with training, or alternating

work periods with training periods. And it also requires giving retirement back its non-compulsory nature, allowing

citizens to retire when they choose to do so, before or after the age now commonly accepted, and in both the private

and the public sector.

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The different forms of activity throughout life and intergenerational relations.


To summarise, retirement for reasons of age is not only anti-economical, but also radically contrary to the new

social values, because it establishes an age discrimination that is not compatible with the present protection of

individual rights. Article 5 of the Political Declaration approved by the Second World Assembly on Ageing, that



has already been mentioned, states that: “We commit ourselves to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including

age discrimination”. This idea is defined in articles 19 to 22 of the Plan of Action likewise approved at that same

meeting. Retirement should only be compulsory for reasons of physical or mental disability determined by the

competent organisms. Once again the Political Declaration of the Second World Assembly on Ageing must be

cited, which affirms far more clearly in its article number 12: “Elderly people shall have the opportunity of working

for as long as they want and as long as they are capable of doing so, fulfilling satisfactory and productive

work and shall continue having access to education and to training programmes”. And articles 23 to 28 of the

Plan of Action unequivocally insist on the right to continue working without further limitations than the physical

and mental capacity to do so. Thus, article 23 affirms: “Older persons should be allowed to perform paid work

for as long as they want to and may productively do so”. Article 24 affirms: “ is essential to adopt policies to

widen employment possibilities, as new work modalities based on flexible retirement, adaptable labour environments

and professional rehabilitation for older persons with disabilities, so that older persons may combine paid

employment with other activities”. And article 28 affirms unequivocally that: “Older people should be enabled to

continue with income generating work for as long as they like and for as long as they are able to do so...

Eliminating the rigidities by reasons of age in the structured labour market encouraging the contracting of older

persons and preventing ageing workers from starting to experience disadvantages in employment matters... reducing

incentives and pressures for an early retirement and eliminating the lack of incentives to work after retirement

age... protecting acquired pension rights, disability benefit rights and health benefits from being affected

by delayed retirement age”.

The life cycle of paid work outside home between 25 and 65 years of age was possibly acquired during the process

of industrialisation, as also was the 8-hour working day with relatively fixed hours for starting and finishing the

working day for all white- and blue-collar workers. Today, when developed societies are in the after-industrialisation

era and the least developed are approaching this stage, both cycles are completely anachronical. The need to

substitute rigid working hours for more flexible hours that adapt to the needs of persons has been accepted and

so, for all the above mentioned reasons, we must also accepted to replace the work cycle of persons from 25 to 65

years of age (that is now already 30 to 55) with a flexible work cycle, with part time or temporary work, at the end

of the compulsory schooling and without limits in time other than those determined by the physical and mental

state of each person, man or woman, young or adult.



Article 16 of the Political Declaration approved by the Second World Assembly on Aging states that: “We recognise

the need to strengthen solidarity among generations and intergenerational partnerships, keeping in mind the

particular needs of both older and younger ones and to encourage mutually responsive relationships between

generations”. This intergenerational solidarity cannot be interpreted as a way for some to benefit at the expense of

others losing, but as a way for all to benefit, both older and young people, because otherwise it would not be solidarity.

Unfortunately, on other occasions (especially in the decade of the '80s in Europe, and today in many developed

countries), this solidarity has been interpreted as an advance in the retirement age, through legal measures that

bring forward the legal compulsory retirement age, incentives to stimulate older people to retire earlier, or restrictions

in the hiring of elderly and long-term unemployed avoiding their contracting in order to directly retire them.

In the decade of the '80s, all the European countries that brought forward the compulsory retirement age based

their decision on the fact that it was a way of creating work posts for young people. Regardless of the fact that

solidarity cannot be interpreted in this way (taking jobs away from older persons in order to give them to younger

ones), this early retirement was really used to allow many companies to reduce their work force, sometimes only

because of industrial recovery, without having to pay severance and charging the costs of these early retirement

pensions to the nation's Social Security. The benefits for companies were not only those derived from a reduction

in their workforce, but also those derived from the much lower salaries they paid to younger workers who were

hired to partly substitute early retired persons. Furthermore, the additional cost of bringing forward the compulsory

retirement age was transferred to the Social Security.

Since then something similar has happened with the early retirement of many workers, not because of bringing

forward the legal retirement age, but by means of incentives for workers to take voluntary retirement before they

reach the legal age of compulsory retirement. This practice is the same as the previous one in every aspect except

that in this case it is the company the one that assumes the charge of the costs of the early retirement pensions,

but the effects are similar, because they encourage persons to spend 20 or 30 years without jobs, subsidised and

with a serious loss in their economic power, more free time to consume, and a serious loss in self-esteem and also

with repercussions on their state of physical and mental health due to the lack of activity (it is sufficiently accredited

that persons who have jobs are less inclined to suffer senile dementia).

The Plan of Action expressly recognises the falseness of the alleged relationship between retirement of older persons

and creation of jobs for young people. When it states in article 26 that “ must be recognised that continuous

employment of older workers does not necessarily reduce the work opportunities for younger workers and

it makes a constant and valuable contribution towards improving the activity and economic production of the

nation, which can in turn benefit all members of society”. This benefit for all members of society refers to several

aspects: firstly, older persons who continue working also continue being economically independent, and consequently

they do not have to be an economic burden on their families, nor to young people. But older persons who

continue working also continue contributing to the Social Security and only receive part of their retirement pensions,

which also reflects in benefit of the entire society (besides their contribution they pay income taxes). Thirdly,

elderly people who continue working and consequently receive a higher remuneration than the retirement pension,

have more money to consume goods and services, thus contributing towards creating wealth and, what is

more important, contributing to create work posts for young people and for adults, in short, for all those who need

employment. And fourthly, older persons who continue working tend to enjoy a better state of physical and mental

health than those who do not work, by virtue of the stimulating effect of their labour activity, which will cause

less health costs to the Social Security.

But the labour field is not the only one that may be causing unnecessary and unjustified confrontation and conflict

between young and older people. Another scenario is that of healthcare. The rise in life expectancy is allowing

almost all members of each age bracket to reach around eighty, ninety and even a hundred years of age, depending

on societies. It is therefore logical that when not dying at earlier ages, people who reach elderly ages do so in

a much higher number compared to those of few decades ago, and consequently there are many more elderly people

who require medical attention, provoking an increase in the costs of this care (long-term treatment, surgical

interventions, all kinds of prosthesis, out-patient care and nursing homes, welfare assistance at home and in the

community, medicine, analysis, all manner of tests, etc.) that demand continuous increases in budgets devoted to

these ends.

Public budgets devoted to healthcare and even welfare have consequently increased and continue rising steadily,

specially in those countries with public Social Security systems, because citizens are demanding more and more

care both in terms of amount and quality. Therefore, given that health resources are limited (and not unlimited

as some would like), the need has now been raised, although only at a technical level, to post priorities in assigning

health resources to different social groups. More specifically speaking, currently it is common to find researches

offering different trade-off alternatives, namely choosing between alternatives regarding the assignment

of more or less health and welfare resources to different groups of people and in detriment of other groups of


At certain discussion forums the issue is now being discussed about whether the resources that are devoted to

prolonging the lives of elderly people in terminal state could be used more advantageously if dedicated to younger

people. The new social values of emancipation emphasise the right of persons to participate in decisions,

especially in those that affect them, from choosing consumer products and governors, to the capacity of deciding

their sexual orientation and one's own body, and deciding to extend or not their life artificially, or choosing

a death with dignity, their will, etc. It is obvious that all this is part of the desires of the person to control his

own life and avoid suffering and pain. But there is also a risk of trying to pass the right of the individual to deci-

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The different forms of activity throughout life and intergenerational relations.


de, to others to decide for the individual, which is not the same thing. Each of the above subjects has similar but

not identical meanings and ethic principles, but they all have a common factor: they are all too abstract, too difficult

to define, and even more so to apply, and are generally highly subjective. Generally speaking, only doctors

have the capacity and sufficient technical knowledge to establish and determine when it is no longer possible to

prolong life.

In all events, one thing is for individuals to exercise their rights and another very different thing is for somebody

to decide to take away health and medical care resources from elderly people in order to assign them to younger

ones. The question is not explicitly raised, but it is now a focal point of discussion at different forums on health

policies and also at certain academic forums, and it may be suitable to establish criteria before having to do so in

a rush in the presence of specific situations.



Intergenerational solidarity cannot therefore be interpreted as a process by which older persons are deprived of

their jobs to give them to younger persons, or as a process by which health resources are detracted from the care

of older persons to attribute them to younger people. The State and society have the obligation to provide work

posts both for young and for old people, and it likewise has the obligation to make the biggest efforts possible to

provide healthcare to young people, adults and elderly people, men and women, and, in general, to the entire population

without establishing any kind of differences among citizens.

There are, however, clear examples of intergenerational solidarity in the field of employment and in the health field.

In the field of employment because a population with a large number of older persons implies the creation of many

new work posts for new specialities related with the care of elderly people, in the welfare and health aspect, and

also leisure and cultural activities for elders, and even in other specialised services (shows, media, advertising, consumption)

addressed at elderly people. The contrary, because by reducing fertility and decreasing the absolute and

relative number of young people, and dedicating more time to training, the social acceptance of retarding or implementing

greater flexibility in retirement is stimulated and favoured, which may nurture the employment of older

persons. Also, in the health area, it is evident that the technology of organ transplants is favouring this intergenerational

solidarity, because older persons are benefiting more and more from organs ceded by young people who

die at early ages, but also many young people take advantage of vital organs of older persons when they die. This

exchange of organs between young people, adults and elderly people however should always be voluntary and without

economic profit for the donor, avoiding in every way the illegal trade of organs.


All the data and research suggest that the ageing process is taking place globally as a consequence of an accelerated

rise in life expectancy and a world reduction in fertility, although both processes are more visible in more

developed countries. Consequently, and also globally, although with differences in level and pace between the more

and the less developed countries, there is a trend towards growth that is increasingly approaching zero, and a

demographic structure that is increasingly ageing, that is losing its pyramidal shape to acquire a rectangular form

in which the proportion of people in one age group is more or less similar among them. Population ageing should

not then be considered a problem, but a great success of Humankind, that has achieved that almost the entire age

bracket of births live until very advanced ages, often reaching 100 years of age. And this ageing process is taking

place in all countries, although of course it has occurred first in the more developed countries.

As a consequence of these changes in demography, it seems necessary to adapt the social structure to the new

reality of the demographic structure, and not the other way round as some experts and politicians seem to have

in mind. If in societies with pre-industrial demographic structures, individuals were to continue in the active

population for around two thirds of their total life of 65 years, now, due to retarding the age of joining the labour

market until the age of 30, long-term unemployment or early retirement (compulsory or voluntary) at the age of

55 years, and with an increase in life expectancy until 80 years of age, they continue in the active population on

an average of only one third of their total life. No society can support such a situation and thus the social structures

must be adapted to the new demographic reality of an increasingly older population (around 20% over 75

years of age), and a population of young people that delays the age they enter the active population and their

emancipation from the family until they become 30. It is therefore necessary to eliminate compulsory retirement

except for reasons of physical or mental disability, facilitating flexible retirement processes and allowing persons

to decide when they want to permanently retire. All this would not only be economically positive for society, but,

what is yet more important, it would redound in an extension of individual rights. On the contrary, failure to

accept this principle would once again imply unacceptable age discrimination, with impacts contrary to the commonly

accepted idea that nobody should be discriminated by reason of sex, age, race, religion, ideology or social


Justified compulsory retirement that favours the work offer for young people, apart from constituting a fallacy

that has never been proved, not only does not favour intergenerational solidarity, but it also stimulates confrontation

and conflict between generations. In line with the principle stating that the social structure should adapt to

the demographic one, societies should create work for young people, adults and elderly people, not take jobs away

from one to give them to another. Also, population ageing is in itself a source of new jobs for young people and

adults. In the health field, related with population ageing, the argument of reducing resources devoted to elderly

people to assign them to younger persons, under the pretext of their greater efficiency and social utility must likewise

be rejected. Once more it would be a discrimination to adopt such decisions only for reasons of age. On the

contrary, there are evident possibilities of intergenerational solidarity in the field of donations of vital organs, from

elderly people to young people and vice versa, provided this is done on a non-profit basis and not through illegal

trade of vital organs.


births deaths immigrants emigrants




by sex and






2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The different forms of activity throughout life and intergenerational relations.



birth first employment life expectancy retirement

0 20 60 65

45 years

retirement or long term unemployment

life expectancy


0 30 55 85




65 65






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UNITED NATIONS (2000a) “Below Replacement Fertility”, Population Bulletin of the United Nations, Special Issue Nos.

40/41, New York.

UNITED NATIONS (2000b) “World Population Ageing” 1950-2050, Population Division, Department of Economic and

Social Affairs, New York.

UNITED NATIONS (2001a) “Replacement Migration”, Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,

New York.

UNITED NATIONS (2001b) “Population, Environment and Development, The Concise Report”, Population Division,

Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York.

UNITED NATIONS (2002) “World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision”, Population Division, Department of Economic

and Social Affairs, New York

UNITED NATIONS (2002) “Report by the Second World Assembly on Ageing”, United Nations, New York.

UNITED NATIONS (2005) “Population Challenges and Development Goals”, United Nations, New York.

2. REFERENCE DOCUMENTS / The different forms of activity throughout life and intergenerational relations.






Mr. Robert Venne

Post Madrid: Chronology and Content

• 2002: General Assembly endorses MIPAA. Requests CSocD to consider modalities for R&A.

• 2003: CSocD accepts bottom-up approach to R&A General Assembly considers road map to implementation

of MIPAA and requests CSocD to take up issue of periodicity and format of R&A Malta expert meeting

elaborates upon content, format and procedure of R&A.

• 2004: CSocD decides on general modalities of R&A.

Review and Appraisal of MIPAA

• By member states.

• Every five years.

• Every R&A should focus on one specific theme.

• CSocD responsible for global follow-up and R&A.

• Two dimensions of R&A: ageing-specific policies and ageing-mainstreaming efforts.

• Bottom-up participatory approach as major format to evaluate policies as well as changes in the quality of life

of older persons.

Bottom-up participatory approach

• Open-ended, flexible and using more qualitative methods.

• Seeks to incorporate and link local and national activities to UN regional and global processes of review and


• Involves all major stakeholders and facilitates their participation.

• NGOs, academia and local and national community based organizations and older persons are essential.

• Empowers through involvement in all stages of R&A.

National action concerning R&A

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.


• Establishment of national mechanisms that include civil society representatives (so far only 25 governments

have done so).

• Identification of national priorities on ageing and relevant policy and programmes that were adopted define

what to review and appraise.

• Utilization of available statistical data for a preliminary assessment of the local and national ageing situation

and identification of areas for more specific participatory inquiries.

• Identification of major partner to facilitate the participatory R&A, including gathering information, analyzing it

and presenting it in a policy-relevant format.

Existing measures for R&A



• Meeting regularly with contributing agencies in order to promote and facilitate R&A.

• Publicizing of periodic evaluation reports.

• Engaging contributing agencies in the identification and dissemination of positive and replicable practices.

• Promoting and facilitating the monitoring process through education and training of major stakeholders.

• Reaching out to involve various segments of civil society in review and appraisal exercises.

Support for national action

UN Programme on Ageing developed.

• Instrumental and outcome indicators for R&A.

• Mainstreaming strategy.

• Framework for monitoring, review and appraisal of MIPAA (

• Currently working on “Practical guidelines for R&A”.


• Conducted two workshops to test a bottom-up approach in the field.

• Developed a training manual on the appraisal modality, including a comprehensive matrix of indicators.


• Provided technical support in the elaboration of national policies and programmes on ageing.


• Promotes awareness raising and participation of older persons, and assists governments to develop and implement

national action plans.


• Conducted participatory exercises at country level for needs assessment and programme development.

• Regional office in Latin America supported research on participatory mechanisms for the design and implementation

of laws, policies and programmes.


• Shares its employment and social protection statistics, as well as qualitative information, such as application of

labour standards.


• Collects experience in qualitative research methodologies on selected priority issues identified in MIPAA, particularly

those related to primary health care and the provision of integrated health and social services for older


Regional R&A


• Envisages the convening of working groups of experts and the organizing of a conference of major stakeholders

as appropriate formats for the review and appraisal.

• Intends to carry out a survey of member states focusing on identifying best practices in policy development on

ageing in the region.


• Considers developing indicators for R&A.

• Received requests to conduct training workshops and assisting in national capacity building.

• Considers publishing a report that would be based on demographic data and information from national reports

on ageing, including participatory findings, as available.


• Intends to organize sub-regional seminars and meetings of experts.

• Wants to conduct studies on the interrelationship between ageing, family and public policy.

• Will design future scenarios for ageing societies, including impact assessment of policy interventions.

• Will update a data bank for regular demographic monitoring of population ageing.


• Envisions a working level segment that would explore one of the issues of regional priority, such as the funding

requirements for the care of older persons.

• Government of Macao has offered to host a regional review conference in September 2006.


• Foresees organizing a regional meeting to consider national R&A reports. A political declaration on ageing and

a comprehensive report could be the outcomes.

• An alternative could be to address a specialized questionnaire to governments and NGOs regarding national


Calendar for R&A


• Member states will indicate their priorities for R&A and undertake an “instrumental” assessment, including

identifying laws and implementing regulations, institutions, policies and programmes introduced or altered

since 2002.

• Countries will also recall national priorities and review the national ageing situation. Each country would have

identified for itself specific areas for in-depth participatory inquiries using the bottom-up approach.

• DESA and the UN system work jointly to promote awareness of the bottom-up approach and familiarity with

the guidelines, to assist countries to begin the R&A process.

• Regional commissions, at their governing bodies, undertake an initial regional assessment of the ageing situation

based on country reports on accomplishments of national plans of action on ageing and submit their findings


3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.




• CSocD marks the fifth anniversary of MIPAA. Receives a SG report on major developments in the area of ageing

since the Second World Assembly, which could include short regional contributions by the regional commissions.

• Member states inform CSocD about the actions they have taken since MIPAA and exchange information on

what area they determine to evaluate using a bottom-up participatory approach.

• National and regional processes of R&A begin.

• Upon request, regional commissions, in cooperation with other entities, assist countries in conducting their

national R&A.

• Regional commissions convene regional conferences (pending the availability of sufficient resources) to consider

the findings of national reviews, share experiences and good practices, and identify priorities for future



• CSocD conducts the global segment of the first cycle of R&A of MIPAA. The modalities of this segment could

include a series of plenary meetings. An outcome document could include the conclusions of the first R&A

along with the identification of prevalent and emerging issues and related policy options. A series of parallel

events, including panels, workshops and seminars organized by all major stakeholders will be conducted, including

the presentation of findings of independent monitoring projects.

Areas for possible cooperation

• Awareness raising about local, national and regional implementation activities, including R&A.

• Training of stakeholders on participatory methodology of designing, implementing and monitoring national

implementation strategies for MIPAA.

• National capacity building for R&A.




Mr. Robert Venne

Second World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid, Spain 8-12 April 2002.

Political Declaration and Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.

Political Declaration

• Enabling older persons to contribute to their communities and societies.

• Empowering older persons to participate in economic, political, social and cultural life of society.

• Providing older persons with the opportunity to work as long as they wish.

• Recognizing the role of older persons as caregivers.

• Relying on older persons’ skills, experience and wisdom as basis for future development.

Means for participation

• Promotion of participation through advocacy and support for enhanced multigenerational interaction by older

persons organizations.

• Provision of opportunities for societal participation and lifelong learning.

• Facilitation of self-help and intergenerational community groups.

• Creation of enabling environment for volunteering.

A facilitating environment

• Promotion of favourable attitude among employers regarding continued employment of older persons.

• Promotion of civic and cultural participation as strategies to combat social isolation.

• Establishment of organizations representing older persons in decision-making.

Education and training

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Contribution and participation of older persons to and in social and economic development.


• Utilize the potential and expertise of older persons in education.

• Employ older persons’ skills as mentors, mediators and advisers.

• Encourage and make use of older volunteering.

• Support multigenerational mutual assistance.

Employment opportunities

• Creating employment for persons of all ages.

• Increasing women’s and older women’s participation in employment.

• Ensuring access to continuing education, on-the-job training, vocational rehabilitation and flexible retirement


• Promoting of self-employment initiatives.

• Removing of disincentives to working beyond retirement age.

Strengthening intergenerational solidarity



• Older persons contribute to younger generation financially, in care and education, subsistence work, household

maintenance and voluntary activities.

• In turn, younger generation provides care and support to older persons.

• Policy needs to encourage and strengthen intergenerational ties to promote social cohesion and social development


• Policy intervention should avoid generational segregation and promote familial co-residence.

Primary and long-term care

• Inclusion of older persons in planning, implementation and evaluation of social and health care.

• Inclusion of older persons in decision-making related to their own care.

• Promotion of self-care and maximization of strengths and abilities.

Caring for HIV/AIDS orphans

• Recognize the important role of older persons in caring for their orphaned grandchildren.

• Introduce policies to provide in-kind support, health care and loans to older caregivers.

• Foster collaboration between government and NGOs that work with children, youth and older persons.

Emergency situations

• Recognize that older persons can contribute in promoting rehabilitation and reconstruction while coping with


• Acknowledge the potentials of older persons in family and community for education, communication and conflict


• Appreciate their roles in re-establishing economic self-sufficiency, income generation and educational programmes.


• Full participants and beneficiaries of development.

• Necessity to remove exclusion and discrimination.

• Older persons should contribute to presentation by media of their activities and concerns.

• Participation in assessing their own needs and monitoring service delivery.

• Active participation in review and appraisal of MIPAA.


How can the ECE contribute towards developing policy responses?

Mr. Andres Vikat

Some Demographic Facets of Ageing

Long-term time horizon:

• Shaped by demographic processes of the past

• Changes today will be reflected in the population age structure after several decades

• No realistic way of avoiding/reversing the trend

Variations around the Common Theme












2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Population Ageing in the ECE Region

Source: UNPD, World population prospects: The 2004 Revision.











Source: UNPD, World population prospects: The 2004 Revision.

Regional Follow-up

• Responsibility on countries.

• Regional dimension:

ECE Secretariat mandated to provide information, guidelines.

• Merits of the regional dimension:

– Join forces to search for answers to common problems.

– Learn from each other.

Regional Follow-up at ECE

• Identification of national focal points.

• Questionnaire on activities related to MiCA follow-up.

• Engaged in the broad range of discussions in the Task Force for follow-up.

Plans at ECE




2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050

• Initial regional review of country-level follow-up activities in 2006.

• Regional conference in autumn 2007.

• Extent and intensity of the regional level activities will depend on financial assistance from member States -

example of Austria.



Workshop 1

“Analysis of discrimination based on age and

multiple discrimination situations. Adopted

measures and assessment of results. The influence

of positive images on ageing.”


Mrs. Eveline Hönigsperger, President of the Task Force on Ageing


Mr. Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, University of East Anglia, UK

Mr. Alexandre Kalache, Head of the Ageing Unit of the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Mrs. Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of the Older Persons Platform-AGE

Mrs. Eveline Hönigsperger, President of the Task Force on Ageing

Mrs. Inés González, Director of the “Sesenta y más” magazine of IMSERSO

Mr. André Zawaski, Manager of the Federation Internationale des Associations des

Personnes Agées (FIAPA)

Mrs. Herminia Lozano, Member of the Board of Directors of the State Council for

Older Persons



Mr. Peter Lloyd

• Population ageing is mainly an issue for rich countries.

• Inevitably, older people represent an unproductive burden on society and a break on economic development.

• Inevitably, population ageing will place unsustainable pressures on social policies.

• The care economy can care for itself.

Population ageing is mainly an issue for rich countries


Population aged 60+ GDP per capita (US$ ppp)

1995 (%) 1998

Japan 20.5 23,257

USA 16.4 29,605

Brazil 7.1 6,625

India 7.2 2,077

Uganda 3.6 867

Burkina Faso 4.3 870

Sources: UN Population Division (1999); UNDP (2000).


1990 2030

More developed regions* Population aged 60+ (%) 17.7 29.2

Population aged 60+ (millions) 203,192 353,175

Less developed regions** Population aged 60+ (%) 6.9 14.6

Population aged 60+ (millions) 284,174 1,007,761

* North America, Japan, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

** The rest of the world.

Source: UN Population Division (1999).

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Ageing, development and social protection: myths, stereotypes and misconceptions


Inevitably, older people represent an unproductive burden on society and a break on

economic development.

Peter Petersen “In Gray dawn”.

“Global ageing could trigger a crisis that engulfs the world economy. This crisis may even threaten democracy


World Bank.

“The world is approaching an old age crisis…..The proportion of the population that is old is expanding rapidly, swelling

the potential economic burden on the young”.

Negative paradigm.



HelpAge International.

“The substantial productive contribution of older people…is largely unrecognised by policy makers. Too often older

people are stereotyped as passive or helpless -the realities of their lives unobserved”.

Active ageing.

Population ageing inevitably places unsustainable pressures on social policies.

• High income countries.

• Low income countries.

• Middle income countries.

• Pension reform.

• Privatisation and blueprints.

• Healthcare.

• Curative care versus primary healthcare.

The care economy can care for itself and is not a priority issue for public action.

Roles of State, private sector and informal caring.


In what way are older people (or later life) significantly different from younger age groups (or earlier stages in the

life course)?

Some generalisable claims? (Intrinsic or environmental).

• Less likely to be engaged in salaried economic activity.

• More exposed to age-related risks; physical decline and some kinds of chronic disease.

• Vulnerable to the stereotypes and prejudices of society.

• Limited capabilities through later life.

Are older people a special interest group?



Mr. Alexandre Kalache

The contribution of older people to the social and economic development is the main focus of this meeting. Within

this focus it is important to analyze age-based discrimination from a gender perspective as this so often prevents

older persons to fulfill their potential as contributors to society. Of particular importance is how such discrimination,

is manifested in relation to health; particularly bearing in mind that healthy older persons are resources to

their families and communities and, therefore, to the economy.

Within the perspectives and values promoted by the WHO Active Ageing policy framework (WHO main contribution

to the Second World Assembly on Ageing) particular attention is given to the two ‘cross-cutting’ determinants

of Active Ageing: culture and gender.

Culture, which surrounds all individuals and populations, shapes the way in which individuals age because it

influences all of the other group-determinants: access to services, behavioural, personal, social, economic and the

determinants related to the physical environment. Cultural values and traditions determine to a large extent how

a given society views older people and the ageing process, and such values and traditions may hide negative agerelated

attitudes and beliefs, for instance by fostering out-dated stereotypes and misinformation. Examples are

multiple and include the notion that ‘if you are aged 60 or over there is nothing to be done to prevent disease: it

is too late’; attributing to ‘ageing’ symptoms conditions and diseases that can be effectively treated, or denying

access to services on the basis of age and/or gender.

Gender is a lens through which to consider the appropriateness of various policy options and how they will affect

the well-being of both men and women. In order to fully understand age-related discrimination it is imperative to

embrace a life-course perspective as the origins of the problem can often be traced decades earlier; for instance,

an individual who is discriminated earlier in life as a function of being female will only see such discrimination

aggravated as she gets older. In this respect girls and women have lower social status and less access to good nutrition,

education, adequately paid jobs and health services; as they grow older their status in society may get even

worse. However, that is not to say that men receive the attention they deserve from, for instance, the health sector;

in a majority of countries men’s health is neglected to a secondary position, health education/health promotion

initiatives seldom target them and they often receive the unspoken message that men should not make complain,

diseases are a demonstration of weakness and you are strong“. The end result is that by the time men come

into contact with the health sector it is too late to prevent what was preventable and chronic conditions have

firmly settled, often with complications for the lack of early detection and proper management.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Age discrimination in the field of health from a gender perspective.


Another dimension related to gender and health in older age relates to the traditional family caregiver role women

play in virtually all societies. Often this role is played in detriment to one’s health. It may also increase poverty and

vulnerability and seldom is it rewarded or even properly recognized. It should be emphasized that many caregivers

are old themselves, often in poor health and receiving poor health care. Yet, these old women carry on providing

this indispensable service to their societies. Were they to stop, the health care costs in both developing and developed

countries would escalate exponentially. The International Plan of Action on Ageing recognizes the impor-

tance of providing support to the community-based caregiver, most of whom are female and lacking on information,

financial support or respite. The example of older women as caregivers within the context of the AIDS epidemics

in Africa has only recently started to attract appropriate attention.

Finally, increasing evidence is being accumulated showing how often women are denied access to health services

which are available to men of same age, living in the same community. Examples include cataract operations,

showing rates much lower for women presenting themselves with the same indication for surgery as men in the

same location, or aggressive, life-saving interventions in the presence of symptoms pointing out to a heart attack,

which are much more likely to be offered to men than women, again of the same age.




Mrs. Anne-Sophie Parent

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me first thank the Spanish Ministry for Social Services, Families and Disability and INSERSO for inviting me to

speak at this international meeting. My name is Anne-Sophie Parent and I am the Director of AGE – the European

Older People’s Platform, a network bringing together 165 organisations of older people around the 25 EU and acceding

countries. Our aim is to voice and promote the interests of older people in the EU and to raise awareness of

the issues that concern them most. In our view NGOs have a crucial role to play in providing information and support

to potential victims of discrimination and in promoting a more inclusive society.

AGE was set up in 2001 and is now involved in a range of policy and information activities to put older people’s

issues on the EU agenda and support networking among older people’s groups. AGE is committed to combating all

forms of age discrimination in all areas of life and monitors and influences the implementation of the various EU

initiatives in this area.

Multiple discrimination affects many older people

I was asked today to tackle the issue of multiple discrimination. Let me start by saying we feel that multiple discrimination

is not a marginal issue. In our view multiple discrimination affects many older people. Why? Because

older people do not just belong to the senior section of the population. They all have what is called multi-faceted

identities depending on the colour of their skin, their gender, their religion, their social origin, their sexual orientation,

whether they have a disability or not, etc. These different elements make up their identity and contribute to

the great diversity we see among older people. But these elements can also make older people the target of prejudice

on more than one ground.

For example, the concept of multiple discrimination covers the different forms of discrimination added to the

existing discriminations based on gender. As most of us know women are very often exposed to multiple discrimination,

first as women and, for some of them, due to their ethnic origin, their religion or belief, their disability,

and/or their sexual orientation. When they grow old, they experience additional discrimination on the ground of

their age.

Another example: an older gay man might experience homophobia from some parts of his senior community,

ageism from some parts of the gay community, and ageism and homophobia from everyone else! This is also an

example of multiple discrimination.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Multiple discrimination.


According to victims, the experience of multiple discrimination is not the mere juxtaposition of the various forms

of discriminations experienced on each ground but rather the experience of a much more severe form of discrimination

which affects victims in a very complex way. Victims of multiple discrimination are particularly vulnerable

to social exclusion and are deprived of their rights to participate fully in society.

This is why in our view, any measure aiming at tackling discrimination on a given ground should integrate the other

dimensions too, i.e. take into consideration the specific needs of the multi-layered identities of seniors. Examples

of discrimination show that, for instance, selection and recruitment claims may involve more than one possible

prohibited ground of discrimination. This explains why older female workers are even more at risk of age discrimination

than older male workers; not to mention older women of ethnic minorities! This not only influences your

working record, but has a direct impact on your life as you grow old. A EU project called AGE+ focussing on the

multiple discriminatory effects of age, gender and ethnicity, showed recently that “in 2015 almost 90% of the nonwestern

migrants in the Netherlands will need social benefits to receive a minimum income. In Italy most non-western

migrant women have no rights, are low paid and are usually uninsured“. (AGE+, 2005).



The concept of multiple discrimination has grown in importance in the European Union with the entry into force

of the Amsterdam Treaty and the implementation of the anti-discrimination clause (Article 13). Two Directives

were adopted in 2000, one to combat race discrimination in employment and in access to goods and services.

This is called the Race Directive. The other Directive, the so-called Employment Directive, is combating discrimination

on the other grounds, including age in access to employment and vocational training. The European

Union also initiated recently a new policy to fight all forms of discrimination, because it is argued that it is not

possible for any group to achieve genuine equality, in isolation from the achievement of equality for all.

The European Commission is presently exploring the feasibility of developing a more comprehensive and pro-active

strategy to promote equality. This could include further directives to prohibit discrimination on all Article 13

grounds in all areas of EU competence. One of the promising innovations in the draft Constitution of the EU was

the mainstreaming clause Article III-118, which extends the principle of mainstreaming equality into all areas of

EU policy development to address all Article 13 grounds. But we don’t know what will happen with the Constitution

and whether the proposed Article III-118 will one day be applicable.

In our contribution to the consultation on the European Commission’s Green Paper “Equality and non-discrimination

in an enlarged European Union”, AGE agreed that a comprehensive and coherent approach is required to effectively

tackle discrimination and promote equality, to both ensure that everyone in Europe can identify with and

value the principle of equality but also to ensure that those facing multiple discriminations are supported appropriately.

This preoccupation with multiple discrimination is also reflected in AGE Position Paper on Equality Bodies. That

is why AGE calls upon the member States to establish an independent body with powers to promote awareness

and ensure compliance on age. Additionally, governments should make sure that all other grounds are also properly

covered in order to effectively cope with multiple discrimination faced by many individuals, and that there

is effective co-ordination between bodies, or the sections of a single body, dealing with the various equality


Addressing multiple discriminations can be done by implementing a duty for public authorities to work towards

the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity with regard to all areas of discrimination.

Such a public duty already exists in Northern Ireland.

For example, member States can issue a policy banning discrimination in the services they provide (e.g. health and

social care) and vigorously implement this policy. This policy requires service providers to root out all forms of discrimination

in the provision of their services. This would be particularly useful to the most vulnerable among older

people, those who face multiple discrimination on the ground of their gender, ethnic background, religion, disability,


The best way to deal with multiple discrimination is to ensure that everyone, regardless of one’s personal characteristics,

has the right be treated equally and not face discrimination.

But ensuring non-discrimination on the ground of age is more challenging than on other grounds because age is

different from the other grounds mentioned in Article 13 EC-Treaty. The age strand brings into play the notion that

everyone in society has the potential to face age discrimination at some part of their life -even white, middle class,

straight men can face age discrimination- and that consequently everyone has a personal interest in equality.

‘Age’ is an equality strand, which crosses all others and can be very useful in promoting the equality agenda

throughout society. Age equality means securing the equal participation in society of people of every age, based

on respect for the dignity of each individual.

This different way of thinking on equality is potentially controversial and challenging. Some may fear that groups

such as ethnic minorities, the disabled and so on might be excluded as the fight against discrimination becomes

too generalised and not sufficiently focused on the particular problems these minorities face.

In addition to that, there are references to age in almost all social legislation and labour law and the Directive

allows for differences of treatment on the ground of age if they are objectively justified. Striking the right balance

between what is justified and what is age discrimination is difficult and subject to diverging interpretation

depending on national cultural and social values. This creates greater uncertainty for victims.

Finding the right language about equality, citizenship, inclusion and diversity to take away these anxieties will

be a major challenge. Equality bodies can play a crucial role in promoting diversity, enforcing compliance with

antidiscrimination legislation and supporting all public sector organisations in applying these values in their

work and the services they provide. The equality bodies can also play a major role in convincing companies of

the business case for diversity. NGOs should support equality bodies and public authorities in their fight for

equality for all to ensure that older people can contribute fully to the social and economic development of the

community they live in.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Multiple discrimination.




Mrs. Eveline Hönigsperger

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We have to bear in mind that our world is characterized by never before experienced dynamics of demographic

change: today 672 million people aged over 60 are living on this world. In 5 years from now on, the number of

the 60 plus population will reach already 2 billion. Europe's share of the age group over 60 amounts to 20.4%,

whilst the proportion of the total population in Europe amounts to only 11% of the world population. At the

same time the age group of 15 to 49 years old, which forms the core labour force, is decreasing worldwide steadily.

Europe's labour markets will lose in the period from 2005 to 2030 20.8 million people in the age group of 15 to 64

years old. That means that Europe will be in indirect economic competition with regions which can count on a growing

and much younger population, for example the Asian region and the United States, while the European labour

force is getting older and older.

This development will certainly have consequences for the European social model. In 2030 roughly two active people

aged between 15 and 65 will have to take care of one over 60 years old person.

This is the setting in which socio-economic development is going to take place —without doubt— the major challenge

for government policies, particularly in Europe.

Late, but hopefully not too late, the European Union has taken on board the issue of demographic change by convening

a Conference on Demography in last July and by publishing the Green paper "Facing Demographic Change

towards a new Solidarity of Generations", thus recognizing that ageing in combination with birth rates under he

replacement level makes a reorientation of EU-policies in the field of employment, social cohesion and equal

opportunities is necessary.

The Green paper, which was initiated by Commissioner Vladimir Spidlar, has turned his colleagues' orientation in

the European Commission to the ongoing demographic transformation in Europe. And it relates the phenomenon

of ageing societies rightly to the issue of intergenerational solidarity.

The decision of the European Council to commit all EU Member states to present a national report in autumn 2006

on their measures and programmes in support of Active Aging, may contribute to a move in the right direction.

It is based upon on the recommendations of the Wim-Kok Report on the implementation of the Lisbon strategy,

which were discussed in the framework of the Spring meeting of the European Council this year, where the importance

of olderwork force was stressed.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Measures and results in the implementation of the Berlin Strategy.


National action will include support measures for older workers, such as the provision of specific education and

professional training programmes as well as offering incentives for employers to keep and to invest in older workers.

With the indicated changes in the age structure of the labour force, the market will be terribly in need of the

esource and potential of older workers, a phenomenon which is not sufficiently recognized in our days, facing the

high unemployment rates, specifically among the mature age groups.

The major challenge will be how to adapt the economic world and the working conditions to the needs of older

workers: less physical burdens, ergonomically designed workplaces, less work stress, shorter working hours, more

breaks during the work day, more satisfaction from work and incentives and motivations for older workers to keep

themselves fit for work and for staying longer active could contribute to this end.

Another big social policy challenge remains combating poverty and social exclusion. Social integration has to

remain a priority issue on the social policy agenda of the European Union and her member States, and should specifically

focus on older persons, as they are at the greatest risk of poverty.



The Action Plans on the erradication of poverty, which have been developed by all member States, from a strategic

tool that will doubtlessly contribute to improving the quality of life of the older generations. Each government

is called upon to include the older population into the social policy agenda, covering proper income, adequate housing,

full medical treatment and quality care.

It is remarkable that the new members of the European Union have presented profound action plans in a very short

time. This gives us hope for the improvement of living conditions of the older generations, particularly in countries

with economies in transition.

But combating poverty and social exclusion is not enough. We are in need of policies which aim supporting the

active participation of older generations in society, including access to voluntary work, political involvement, life

long education, sports and culture.

We have to focus on the parameters which are decisive for the role of older people in society, their wellbeing and

their part in achieving intergenerational solidarity.

In my function as president of the European Federation of older persons, I should like to remind you that the world

of civil society has to contribute its share by implementing these goals which were considered to be major issues

for the follow up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing and the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing of 2002.

The possibilities to influence government policies have never been wider before, governments committed themselves

in the framework of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing to implement the Plan "upon effective

partnership between all parts of civil society and the private sector". According to the Plan of Action, institutional

follow-up should be promoted, including the establishment of agencies on ageing and national committees, in

which representatives of relevant sectors of civil society, especially organizations of older persons should reincluded.

The UNECE regional strategy for the implementation of the Madrid Plan, adopted in 2002 by the Ministerial

Conference in Berlin, goes even further.

I quote from the official introduction of the document:

"It should be stressed that government efforts alone with not suffice in meeting the manifold challenges of demographic

change. The participation of all actors in societies -from civil society, industry and commerce, the media

and the academic world- is called for in forming an alliance for action. This was also the motivation for the longterm

participation for the first time of non-governmental organizations in all phases of preparation of the implementation


Not enough has been accomplished in this direction yet. What we need are actions, programmes and clear definitions

of demands from the grassroots and to submit them to the national and international stakeholders in a structured

way. The bottom up approach, which was laid down as the guiding principle for the implementation to the

Madrid outcomes, was not suficiently used up to now, but provides great chances for moving the ageing agenda

forward in the future.

We only have to take them up!


Mrs. Inés González

A Spanish writer, José María Riera, says in his book Mayores de edad (Elderly people), when referring to the Spanish

elderly people today, that a generation had never reached retirement in such good conditions. According to him,

they have everything in their favour: generally speaking, they do not have financial difficulties, they have a secured

pension, they enjoy acceptable health and their love life is reasonably satisfactory. But versus this reality that

can be compared by looking at the elderly people we have around us such as parents, grandparents, parents-inlaw,

aunts and uncles, etc., there are social stereotypes that run against this: such as thinking that old age is

synonymous with illness, that with age one loses intellectual faculties, or that to be elderly is synonymous with

passivity, solitude and poverty.

Why then this unbalance between the real image of elderly people and the one that society has? This is greatly due

to the scarce presence and sometimes negative image that the media often give of the elderly.

Many people aged 65 and older feel relegated from the media, though they paradoxically give it a significant percentage

of its audience; according to data from the report “Ageing in Spain”, prepared by IMSERSO and CIS, in

2002, one out of every five elderly people read the newspaper every or almost every day. This data is even higher

for radio and television. News media audience is one of the most important activities in the lives of elderly people:

nine out of every ten elderly people watch the television every or almost every day and one out of every two listen

to the radio. Watching television is a very frequent activity among the general population, but the frequency

increases with age and precisely reaches its summit in the age group of people of 65 and older.

Yet the news media do not correspond fairly with them. Some time ago, IMSERSO conducted a survey called

“Elderly people and the news media” that showed that the information related with the issue of elderly people is

very scarce in the news media. This survey detected that the news media focused only in two news blocks: those

referring to the pension and retirement system and those framed within the accident and crime reports.

Issues relating to pensions and retirement are assumed by the news media, according to this survey, as aspects of

daily life that affect us all directly, and consequently they awaken a high interest and are treated in an absolutely

correct manner by the media. However, the black chronicle, and especially if it is related to elderly persons, has a

morbid plus that captures the attention of news; the treatment of the issue in this case is usually negative.

And what is the consequence of this negative treatment, according to this survey? That elderly people see themselves

as they are presented in the news media. And because of the high capacity of social leadership of the media,

other social groups assume that elderly people are a reflection of what can be deduced from the information given

by the social news media. The consequence of this scarce or negative presence in the media is a feeling of solitude

and isolation, because, according to that survey, elderly people more than other social groups feel a strong need

to be supported by society.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Ageing in a positive way.


The news media should therefore nurture the social support that should be given to elderly people, considering

them as yet another social group of the population, a thing that does not normally happen. Hence the need for

specialised media such as the magazine Sesenta y Más ("Sixty and over") that inform them about the issues that

concern them as a specific population group, and, in turn, give a far more real, more positive, and more worthy

image of elderly people, so their self-esteem corresponds to all they can still offer society.

The magazine Sesenta y más follows this line, a publication edited by IMSERSO that for some 20 years has every

month been maintaining a permanent contact with the elderly people who read it. All the matters related with

them are contained in its pages, such as pensions, retirement, health, holidays, nursing homes, quality of life, in

conjunction with interviews of elderly people and reports of interest to their readers.



Throughout its existence, the magazine Sesenta y más has included in its pages the physical, social and psychological

change produced among Spanish elderly people in recent years. The different sections of this publication have

repeated, number after number, that to be elderly is not synonymous with passivity, but quite the opposite, the

elderly active people who are in society and who participate in it. This is why Sesenta y más presents elderly people

just as they are, without paternalism. It appreciates them for their age, and not for adopting patterns of different

age (for example a 70-year-old rock fan).

The absolute protagonist are the elderly and the themes that may interest them, without forgetting either that they

are living the present, not the past. Elderly people are here and now, and they are interested in everything that is

happening today. This is why, when a person is interviewed in Sesenta y más, it is particularly stressed what that

person is doing at the time, at their 60, 70 or 80 years of age. Sesenta y más is interested in elderly people and their


It also tries to give them back the protagonist role and the place they should occupy in society, as yet another social

group and with all that they can offer, which is a lot, such as experience, wisdom, patience, time, support, etc. And

lastly, it tries to optimise the image of elderly people, not only informing about all those topics that may provide

quality of life, but also paying a great deal of attention to graphic information. Consequently, it usually presents

elderly people with a good, well cared for and modern image, that they can use as model to follow, because a well

cared for external image without doubt helps elderly people, just like any other social group, to integrate better in


The magazine Sesenta y más also tries to include in its pages the message that elderly people gave to the social

communication media through one of the points of the manifesto made by the Organiser Committee of the

International Year of Elderly People, held in 1999. It said the following: “This manifesto also aims at reaching the

social communication media, calling on their contribution to the objective of the International Year of Elderly

People, in an attempt to modify the image of the elderly people, that is sometimes biased and negative, offering,

in exchange, mainstream information about the ever-increasing reality of active and participant elderly people.”


According to another report titled “Elderly people and consumption” prepared by the Ministry of Health and

Consumption, for the first time in history, five generations of Spaniards coexist with their different experiences and

different future expectations. And also, for the first time in our history, adult population will be compared in depth

with young people.

In this same report it is said that the specific consumption of elderly people is expected to undergo an increase and

transformation in the demands related with leisure, remote security and culture, as a consequence of the better

state of health and the higher level of training that the new promotions of elderly people will receive.

In the future a steady growth in better quality cultural demands is expected, such as lectures, videos, films or theatre

because elderly people are big consumers of communication media in the widest sense: radio, television, newspapers,

magazines and also social gatherings, exhibitions and all sorts of public acts, even religious ones.

Some companies have already started to adapt to this new emerging market of elderly people over 65; a multinational

that has already done so has been the most famous hamburger company in the world, McDonald's, that has

been capable of diversifying its offer, adapting it to the tastes and needs of a more adult population, with low calo-

ie fish or chicken products. In the United States, where there are 35 million retired people, the chain has gone yet

further offering cholesterol-free, no-salt hamburgers, boiled instead of fried potatoes, it has changed the decor,

the background music and has even contracted older waiters to attend to a more adult public.

The permeability of McDonalds has partly been possible because of the power exercised in the American society by

the Association of Retired People, a highly respected organisation well considered by all sectors of the economy,

whose main task is to make companies aware of the needs of population over 55. Thanks to the close relations between

entrepreneurs and consumers, U.S. elderly people have a wide range of products available that can make their

lives much easier: from bent ballpoint pens for arthritis, to jackets with lower armholes for those who have difficulty

in lifting their arms.


Report 2002 “Elderly People in Spain”. Volume 1. Publication edited by IMSERSO, Ministry of Work and Social Affairs

How elderly people live, how many are there, their life expectancy, their economic and social resources, their tastes

and preferences, their leisure activities, their state of health and their personal relations. These and other data

are included in the Report 2002: Senor citizens in Spain, a genuine x-ray of the reality lived by persons over 65 in

our country.

Ageing in Spain: The Second World Assembly on Ageing April 2002. Publication edited by IMSERSO, Ministry of Work

and Social Affairs.

This report, carried out on the occasion of The Second World Assembly on Ageing held in Madrid in 2002, includes

the situation of the Spanish elderly people social group: demographic trends, living conditions of retired people,

their economic characteristics, their activities and participation in society, their forms of coexistence and image and

social representations. It also offers a brief description of the welfare protection system.

Conference on News Media and Elderly People. Publication by IMSERSO, Ministry of Labour

In 1990, sponsored by IMSERSO, the Conference on News Media and Elderly people was held at the Press

Association in Madrid, with three main objectives: Analysing the way the news media treat issues related with

Elderly people and creating a framework of collaboration for implementing news strategies aimed at disseminating

the characteristics and needs of this group and the present attention, services and programmes. This book

contains the results of this conference.

Elderly People and Consumption. Publication of the National Institute for Consumption Ministry of Health and


This report, made by the Ministry of Health and Consumption, includes the following data among others: the needs

and demands of elderly people, their domestic monthly income, their needs and demands related with health, consumption,

housing and the household fixtures of elderly people, their outlook of the world and satisfaction with

life and social perspectives related with the increased number of elderly people.


The new social image of elderly people.

The Spanish population is ageing, projecting an image at society that does not reflect what its members think and

feel. The belief that Spaniards have a negative vision of elderly people, and in particular young people, is denied

with the results of a research carried out by IMSERSO that is analysed in this article.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Ageing in a positive way.


Myths and reality about ageing.

There are many false beliefs about elderly people. This article reviews some of the overriding concepts and compares

them with reality under the leader ship of the University Professor for Psychology, Rocio Fernández

Ballesteros and the Teacher of Social Change, Enrique Gil Calvo.

Elderly people are not reflected in the news media.

Elderly people are interested in reading newspapers and magazines, and spend many hours a day listening to the

radio or watching television. But the relationship between elderly people and news media is not fair and reciprocal.

This article shows that even though attention towards them has increased a great deal, elderly people do not

receive the attention they deserve as protagonists of social life.





Mr. André Zawaski

The previous speaker has spoken about how the contribution by young generations can help in the intergenerational


I would also like to evoke the contribution made by elderly people, thanks to transmitting knowledge, creating and

maintaining the social ties.

Longer life expectancy —a person aged 60 today now lives more than twenty years longer— associated with the

faster and more complicated evolution in knowledge and techniques, can lead to a growing distance between

generations in the field of learning and consequently the in the capacity to integrate in society.

It is therefore essential that knowledge and learning are shared with all generations, to enable elderly people to

remain in the circuit to some extent and have an active participation in city life.

Faithful to its original watchword, «lifetime citizen», the FIAPA assumed a specific commitment in transmitting this

knowledge held by elderly people.

The first number of the Notebooks of the FIAPA, its magazine on research/action, published in October 2001, is thus

dedicated to elderly people and new technologies.

At the beginning of 2002, in the framework of the “Eurofacil” project, at the initiative of the FIAPA, youth groups

have taught groups of elderly people how to use the new currency in four countries: France, Belgium, Italy and


In 1999, the FIAPA rewarded five binomials —formed by a young person and an elderly person— from four continents

(a Canadian, a Chinese, a Spaniard, a Frenchman and a Senegalese) for their participation in a lengthy intergenerational

survey on the matter, «Adolescents of yesterday and today», with the presence of the President of the

French Republic, Mr. Jacques Chirac, and 1150 delegates.

In a few days time, it will be firstly launched in France, and later in several foreign countries, an important intergenerational

competition based on the use of new information and communication technologies (NTIC).

In this framework, binomials should carry out a data process application based on one of the two themes of the

interactive training and sharing knowledge and experiences.

The FIAPA has also decided to study how this “transfer of knowledge” contributes to create an intergenerational


3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Transfer of knowledge.


After various talks on the matter, especially during the last two congresses (HangZhou, October 2004 and Stresa,

October 2005), it launched the edition of a highly detailed book, written by international experts of all the disciplines

concerned, on themes such as: the implicit or hidden competencies of elderly people and intergenerational

learning from a geriatric viewpoint, filial respect, transfer of knowledge in Africa, how does the transfer of knowledge

occur today...

Within all the different reflections and actions we are carrying out to achieve this target: «Lifetime citizen», believes

that those concerning “transfer of knowledge” have special importance.

Is it the fact of the ultra rapid transformations of knowledge and the need to incessantly update it, or is it the fact

that our modern society grants prime importance to the purely rational aspect of acquiring such knowledge?

This idea of hyper competence and hyper efficiency of man vs. encyclopaedic knowledge is simply a modern dream.

Specialists in lifetime education and learning agree that if a man is in a perpetual search for self identity, this is

because he is permanently searching for meaning.

This search requires a “lifetime learning” and it is here that the transfer of the subjective culture of elderly people

can represent an essential complement to the development of a critical spirit.


Elderly people are the transmission belts of family culture and its history. They keep family values and cohesion.

They are witnesses of part of our universal and personal history.

This intergenerational transfer of knowledge can thus create or recreate an active bond between generations and

give back an essential role to elderly people in the evolution of our societies.

We must not forget that four generations are going to live together and that the harmony of a society will show

how the generations will cohabit and exchange their knowledge and learning.

Thank you so much for your attention.




Mrs. Herminia Lozano


The title of my speech can be framed within the situation of the elderly, in both the developed world and in the

developing and under-developed ones. Nevertheless, and since the allocated time is limited, I will restrict myself to

how we elderly live in Spain. Evidently, in terms of the way and quality of life of the elderly in Spain, there is a

before and an after the democratisation process in our country. With this comes a step forward from charity to the

right, contained in article 50 of our Constitution, which has guaranteed that we the Spanish elderly can live with

a minimum standard of dignity.

I will talk briefly about our reality from the social, health, economic and political point of view.

State Council of the Elderly

• December 1992. Gerentological Plan.

• 1-XII-1993. National Assembly of the Elderly. End of International Year of the Elderly and announcement by the

ministry of the creation of the State Council of the Elderly of Spain.

• 4-XI-1994. The Royal Decree was signed whereby the State Council of the Elderly was created.

• 17-II-1995. The selection process is convened, setting the assessment criteria by means of the publication of a reckoning


• 22-V-1995. A new ministerial order appointed 23 Associations and Federations that had to provide representatives

to the State Council.

• 19-VI-1995. The Council is officially introduced.

What, in short, in the State Council?

The State Council of the Elderly is a collegiate body, of a consultative nature, associated with the Ministry of Labour

and Social Affairs.


3. CONFERENCES / Grupo de Trabajo 1. How the elderly live through their own situation in the social context .


The State Council of the Elderly will be composed of:

• President

• Two vice-presidents

• Secretary

• Directors




• 1 representative, with the status of general manager or similar, for each one of the ministerial departments:

– Justice

– Economy and Treasury

– Labour and Social Affairs

– Secretary of State

– Presidency

– Health

• 4 representatives of the Autonomous Authorities, chosen by the Sector Conference on Social Affairs of its members.

• 2 representatives of the Local Authority, appointed by the Spanish Federation of municipalities and provinces.

• 25 directors representing the confederations, federations or associations of the elderly.

• 1 representative of the collegiate bodies or councils that carry out functions analogous to those of the State


• 1 representative of the General Council of Emigration.


The person who holds the post of Secretary of State of Social Services, Families and Disability will be the president

of the Council.


• Direct, promote and coordinate the action of the Council.

• Exercise the representation of the Council.

• Agree to the convening of the ordinary and extraordinary sessions of the plenary.

• Preside over the sessions of the plenary, moderate the discussions and suspend them for justified reasons.

• Set the agenda of the plenary sessions, taking account of the proposals and requests from its members.

• Oversee compliance with the regulations in force.

• Approve the minutes and certifications of the resolutions of the State Council of the elderly.

• Have a casting vote in the event of ties, for the purposes of adopting resolutions.

• Such others as may be inherent to his stats as president.


• The first vice-president will be the person holding a post on the Directorate General of the Institute of the

Elderly and Social Services (IMSERSO), who will stand in for the president in the event of a vacancy, absence or


• The second vice-president will be a representative of the organisations of the elderly, chosen by and from

among the directors pertaining to those confederations, federations or associations that comprise it.


He will perform those functions that are delegated thereto by the President and those that are inherent to his



The post of secretary to the State Council will be held by a male or female director who will be elected from

amongst the representatives of the organisations of the elderly accredited at the Council.


Regardless of the other functions inherent to his status:

• Attend the meetings with speaking and voting rights.

• Make the call for the Council sessions upon instruction from its president, as well as summoning its members.

• Receive the documents of communication from the members with the Council and therefore, the notices, the

requests for data or any other class of document that it should have knowledge of.

• Prepare the issuing of the topics, drafting and authorising the minutes of the sessions.

• Issue certifications of the enquiries, reports and resolutions approved.


• Receive the call with a minimum of 15 days notice for ordinary sessions and 72 hours for the extraordinary


• Take part in the discussions, make proposals and issue recommendations.

• Take part in the preparation of the reports and of the opinions on which the terms that the Council Plenary may

agree on in each case.

• Exercise their voting right and cast their own votes, as well as expressing the sense of the vote and the reasons

that justify it.

• Formulate any other competent business.

• Obtain the information necessary to fulfil the functions assigned.

• Such other functions as may be inherent to their status as directors.

Functions of the State Council

• Draw up proposals concerning the strategic lines and priorities for action of the policies targeted at the elderly

within the scope of the General National Administration.

• Take part in the preparation and the undertaking of the services relating to the situation of dependency of the

different state plans associated with the elderly.

• Report on the projects of general provisions related to the elderly that they may be consulted on by the ministerial

departments and public administrations and deal with the enquiries that may be made to it by the latter

or by other institutions associated with the elderly, and issue the relevant opinions.

• Obtain prior knowledge and advice on the calls concerning subsidies from the Ministry of Labour and Social

Affairs targeted at non-profit making institutions.

• Encouraging the development of associative activities and the participation.

• Set up systems of cooperation between the public authorities and social organisations.

• Promote studies and research into the elderly.

• Encourage the development of systems of quality in the organisations, centre and services of the elderly.

• Represent the group to institutions and organisations of a national and international range.

3. CONFERENCES / Grupo de Trabajo 1. How the elderly live through their own situation in the social context .



• Work on the speeches that the Royal Decree envisages.

• Prepare the reports that are requested from it.

• Organise Conventions of the Elderly.

• Organise and take part in Continuing Training courses on subjects that concern it.


The State Council of the Elderly will act in Plenary and in Standing Committee.


• Plenary: At least two ordinary sessions per year will he held.

It will be possible to hold meetings of extraordinary sessions convened by the President or upon proposal from

the Standing Committee.

• Standing Committee: This will meet in ordinary session at least four times per year and in extraordinary sessions

when so considered by its president, or requested by one third of its members.

Composition of the Standing Committee

• One president: who will be the first vice-president of the Council.

• One vice-president: who will be the second vice-president of the Council.

• 15 members of which:

– Two will be chosen from among the representatives of the ministerial departments.

– Two of the representatives of the Autonomous Authorities.

– One of the representatives of the Local Authority.

– Seven of the representatives of the confederations, federations or associations of the elderly.

– Five of the representatives of the Autonomous Regions.

• One secretary: who will be the person who holds this post on the State Council of the Elderly, with speaking

and voting rights.

Duration of the mandate of the State Council

• This will have a term of four years with the exception of the founder members.

• When the period of the duration of the mandate has passed, the Council will be dissolved and then renewed;

nonetheless, the outgoing Council will remain in an acting role until the appointment of new members.



Conclusions of Working Group 1


Mrs. M.ª Carmen Díaz Gómez, International Affairs of IMSERSO






Reporter: Mrs. M.ª Carmen Díaz Gómez

Working Group 1 was presided by the President of the Task Force on Ageing, Mrs. Eveline Hönigsperger, as the chair,

Mr. Lloyd-Sherlock of the University of East Anglia, had to be absent. The speakers of the workshop number 1 made

the following contributions:

Alexandre Kalache of the World Health Organization stressed that the topic of his presentation “age discrimination

on health topics from a gender perspective” constitutes a subject of great significance for his Organisation.

A document is going to be published on the health of women within 2 or 3 months, coinciding with the

International Working Women's Day. As a contribution to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, the WHO published

the document on Active Ageing that defends a global focus of the topic, spanning areas such as the participation

and safety of older persons, not just in the field of health.

Active ageing is defined as the process of optimising opportunities for health, the participation of older persons

and the safety of the vulnerable older persons, which allow them to be completely integrated into our society. The

two cross-sectional determinants of active ageing are gender and culture.

In specific terms, the WHO has observed that there is discrimination on the grounds of gender in relation to certain

operations in the social and health services (for example, with cataracts or with heart attacks), with being a

larger number of surgical operations in men, whilst the incidence of the illness is the same for both genders at the

same level of advanced age.

Women seem to have less access to health services. However, due to the social stereotypes that class them as

strong and without the right to complain (as this is seen as a sign of weakness), men make use of the medical services

when it is already too late and without the possibility of putting preventative measures into practice. As it

has been seen, the determining factor of gender is going to have a bearing on the conduct of individuals throughout

their lives. The WHO highlights the importance of the attitude, both at home and in the workplace, associated

with the gender perspective and which are going to shape the differences at the levels of differences between

men and women.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Conclusions of Working Group 1.


Another aspect to be highlighted is the feminisation of poverty. There are a greater number of older widow women,

who are alone in care homes or in hospitals.

Gender discrimination takes shape throughout the life cycle. Sick children will be poor adults and older persons

without resources. Developing countries are going to have a rapid increase in ageing, which will represent 80% of

the aged population of the planet in the coming years.

We should not overlook the fact that, if we look at the case of Spain, most care-givers for the older persons are

women between 75 and 84 years old. This means a position of vulnerability for this group that requires measures

such as the possibility of obtaining a retirement pension or respite care. Care-givers who come from immigrant

communities also need recognition of their employment and social rights, without casting the fact that they aged




Anne-Sophie Parent, from the European Older Persons Platform, AGE, highlighted the importance of associating

the actions undertaken by the United Nations in the area of ageing with the agenda of the European Union.

In the opinion of the AGE Platform, the negative effect of multiple discrimination is greater than the accumulative

effect of different forms of discrimination. The older persons are not a homogenous group, but rather they display

different identities, with different degrees of disability. This gives rise to multiple discrimination affecting older

persons, depending on the colour of their skin, their gender and their religion, amongst other factors. Women suffer

this discrimination to a greater extent. Discrimination also depends on the context, which means one reason

for discrimination in one given social context can affect the victim differently in another.

Within the scope of the European Union, there is a high level of priority for combatting multiple discrimination.

There are two directives that combat discrimination, the Race Directive and the Employment Directive, which includes

a clause against age-discrimination. One of the goals of the Age Platform is the monitoring of the transposition

of the said directives to the national level. Furthermore, AGE has complained that there is no guarantee that

the laws are enough to prevent discrimination in their response to the Green Paper of the European Commission

on equality and non-discrimination. In its opinion it would be better to establish a single independent equality body

as this would best address multiple discrimination, or to ensure a good co-ordination between the different existing

bodies set up to combat the different types of discrimination (women, children, and persons with disabilities,

amongst others). For example, we can cite Northern Ireland, which has implemented a public policy for combating

multiple discrimination and promoting the equality of opportunities for all. The intention to apply these protection

measures to the most vulnerable groups continues being the authority of the member States.

Age discrimination is a subject that throws up great complexity. There is a difference in the forms of treatment by

age in our legislations which is presented as an objective base, but this is something whereby it is often not easy

to discern whether it is an objective justification or a form of discrimination. These fluctuations mean that people

subject to these circumstances feel like victims and find themselves in a defenceless position. It would be extremely

important to agree on a common language in terms of equality and for this to be jointly adopted by the legislative

body, the institutions and the social organisations.

Eveline Hönigsperger, President of the Ageing Task Force, underlined the fact that the government of Austria,

through the Task Force working group, is supporting the work of the Economic Commission for Europe of the

United Nations in the application of the Implementation Strategy of the Madrid Plan on Ageing for the European

region approved in Berlin, in co-operation with the European Centre of Vienna.

The Task Force was created on the basis of the Ministerial Conference on Ageing in September 2002. Three meetings

have taken place since then. A technical meeting on indicators was held in Madrid in April 2004. Fundamentally,

work was done on the aspects relating to earnings and well-being, together with social security and financial


One of the goals in line with the Madrid and Berlin recommendations is to deal with the mainstreaming of ageing

in all of the national policies of the member States.

Another seminar held by this working group task place in Malta in March 2005, at which tools were examined that

could be used by those in charge of public policies on long-term care from a long-term perspective.

At a meeting recently held at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Europe in preparation for next year's

session of the Social Development Commission of the United Nations, the following topics were highlighted:

• The need for the adjustment of ageing in the field of social development.

• The capability of the economy for dealing with this.

• Guaranteeing the safety and protection of older persons. This all had the older persons themselves in the decision


Inés González, of the Sesenta y más magazine of IMSERSO, highlighted the importance of the mass media providing

a positive form of treatment, and one more in line with reality, on older persons. There is an imbalance in

the image reflected by the media (who represent older persons as being vulnerable) and the true image in which

both dependent older persons along with a large majority of self-sufficient people who contribute towards the

well-being of their families and of society are included. In a study carried out by IMSERSO, the information provided

by the mass media was analysed and it was seen that there was little information about older persons, and

that when they do this they were grouped into two informative blocks:

• The news sections referring to pensions, how they affect the majority of the population, both active and otherwise,

showing an acceptable form of informative treatment.

• The news section exclusively about older persons that was inserted into the more scandalous and current affairs

sections, whose treatment clearly displayed morbid elements.

This lack of presence in the mass media, and the fact that there is a negative focus when it does exist, gives the

older persons a reflection of how they are seen by society, which in many cases gives rise to feelings of loneliness

and exclusion.

The aim from the Sesenta y más magazine is to optimize the image of the older persons to what they currently are,

and to reflect the positive change at the physical, social and psychological level that our aged population has

undergone since the publication was created 20 years ago. The spirit of the magazine fully comprises the message

launched by the International Year of the Older Persons in 1999, together with the recommendations of the

Second World Assembly on Ageing of 2002, which advocate a positive image of ageing that shows the older persons

in the way they are and acknowledges the authority, wisdom and contribution that they make as active and

participatory people to the well-being of our societies.

The final speech was the responsibility of the representative of FIAPA, André Zawaszki, substituting for Albert

Magarian. His presentation dealt with the need to share knowledge and know-how between generations so that

the experience of the older persons is not lost and they can actively participate at the social level.

FIAPA has developed diverse projects of intergenerational solidarity, putting young people in contact with the older

persons for a mutual exchange of knowledge. One of these projects is the one referring to the new technologies

of communication and information. Research has also been done about the transfer of skills in different cultures

in relation to intergenerational learning, respect for older persons and the transference of knowledge. In this experience,

emphasis has been placed on the man of universal wisdom in contrast to the hyper-competent man who

is specialised in the modern world. This search has gone deeper into the human feeling concerning our identity in

which the conveying of culture and of history plays a leading role.

This is especially relevant when four generations are starting to live together at the same time, which will need

some driving link to the past that will be made by the older persons.

To finish, the main ideas that were put forward during the discussions are noted:

• Early retirements, could they constitute age discrimination as a compulsory approach?

• Active ageing comprises the voluntary intention of the individual to set their retirement age.

• The retirement problem is a problem of rich countries. In poor countries the older persons have to

continue working to ensure their subsistence.

• Retirement must be approached not as age criteria but rather as work conditions.

• Older women have lower pensions because of a deficient professional career (for reasons of family

care or of a lack of training and development). This reflects the gender discrimination situation.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 1. Conclusions of Working Group 1.



• Would ill-treatment and all forms of abuse fall within a serious class of discrimination? Ill-treatment

in itself is a very serious offence against the dignity of the individual and this person can

also suffer from other forms of discrimination. It is of utmost importance to implement policies

for the prevention and detection of domestic violence, as well as developing legislation to combat


• Future generations will have leisure time throughout their lives that is longer than the working

time. The significance of programmes such as the University for Older Persons follows from this.

• It is essential to take into account both the needs of the older persons cared for and those of his

care-giver, ensuring that both enjoy their rights.

• The older persons have to take part in decision making with respect to the issues that concern

them, using the methodology of the bottom-up approach approved by the United Nations for the

follow-up on the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA).



Grupo de Trabajo 2

“Active life extension. Active measures and the

suppression of poverty traps. Employment

creation and other ways of active participation.”


Mr. Aurelio Fernández, Adviser of the Secretary of State for Social Security


Mrs. Mariàngels Fortuny, International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Mr. Bernd Marin, European Centre of Vienna

Mr. Antero Kiviniemi, DG Employment of the European Union Commission

Mr. Mark Keese, Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Mr. Robert Anderson, Dublin Foundation

Mr. Pablo Cobo, IMSERSO




Mrs. Mariàngels Fortuny

EUROPE (ILO): western Europe (EU 15, Iceland, Switzerland and Norway), southeastern Europe and

the Mediterranean, Commonwealth of Independent States, New EU Member States)

1. Ageing of the population

2. The labour market situation of older workers

3. Policy responses:

- Increasing employment.

- Extending working lives.











1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050

EU15 + Iceland, Switzerland, Norway

Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean

New EU member States

Commonwealth of Independent States

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. The labour market situation of older workers in Europe. Promoting employment and participation.










1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050



The labour market situation

EU15 + Iceland, Switzerland, Norway

Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean

New EU member States

Commonwealth of Independent States

• Insufficient employment growth and high youth unemployment.

• Overall participation rates have not increased significantly despite raising female participation.

• Employment and participation rates of older workers are low, especially for women.

– Result of involuntary early retirement due to restructuring and impact of early retirement schemes.



























Czech R.













Older workers

• Early retirement has been used to mitigate labour market tensions.

• This situation further aggravated by the demographic scenario: rasing old age dependency.

• Legal retirement ages have increased but the average exit age is still low especially when compared to life

expectancy at 60.

• Poorest countries of the region: low pensions incite pensioners to return to work.

• Employment: crucial for the debate about the future of social security.





















1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050




Policy responses

• Increasing employment rates:

EU15 + Iceland, Switzerland, Norway

Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean

New EU member States

Commonwealth of Independent States








– Increase employment rates of all population groups: ILO Older workers recommendation, No. 162, 1980:

“Employment problems of older workers should be dealt with in the context of an overall and well balanced

strategy for full employment and... due attention being given to all population groups, thereby ensuring that

employment problems are not shifted from one group to another.“

– Special attention to women:

• Limited participation due to caring and household responsibilities.

• Challenge: increase participation… and fertility.

• Extending working life:

- Need to take into account needs and rights of older people, e.g. poor working conditions.

- Important role of education and training within a lifelong learning framework.

- Combating stereotypes: key role of employers.









Czech R.




3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. The labour market situation of older workers in Europe. Promoting employment and participation.


- Legislation combating age discrimination: EU Council Directive 2000/78/EC.

- Gradual transition from work to retirement: flexible retirement schemes.

Key message

The importance of promoting productive and decent employment pervades this analysis: most effective means of

ensuring that demographic pressures affecting social security schemes are manageable.






Mr. Bernd Marin

Some Facts and Trends, Easily Documented

Since towards the end of the last century, extending working life or expanding active life has become one of the

major, consensual, almost unanimous political goals and objectives for national of international, inter-governmental

policy-making alike - at least as long as words are asked for and not deeds.

But if an ongoing reduction of active life or “age exclusion" (J. Rantanen) is considered neither acceptable nor desirable

nor feasible and nor sustainable but something to be stopped immediately and reversed in the mid-term, why

have policy-makers failed so far to turn around a trend towards ever later labour market entry, towards ever earlier

workforce exit, and towards an ever tighter compression of working life during working age around the early

middle adult or “prime age" years (25-54), contradicting conspicuously both ageing and longevity?

With respect to deeds, actions on mainstreaming ageing in rapidly ageing societies are deeply ambivalent: whereas

even well-intended programmes are confused and contradictory at best, outcomes are clearly regressive almost

everywhere. However we measure active, working lifetimes, their absolute and relative size has been reduced significantly

and over decades throughout the UN-European region —with very few, minor exceptions, which may or

may not turnout to be temporary, but certainly will proof to be largely insufficient in coping with the challenges


Even good practices in recent years in countries such as Finland, the Netherlands and Spain so far have not generated

a full turn-around yet. While the historical lowest-low of middle-aged labour force participation may have

been behind us between 1993 (UK) and after 2001 (Germany, Italy), a full swing back to activity rates on the level

of the 1960s or 1970s is still not in sight. Whether there is some slight convergence between avantgarde countries

(such as Iceland, Japan, Switzerland) and originally lagging countries (such as Hungary, Italy, Spain) towards a

middle ground is still uncertain.

On an international and inter-governmental level, indicators to monitor instruments and outcomes do not show

achievements yet: EU Gothenburg 2001 goals were not meaningful, Barcelona 2002 targets will not be reached,

Lisbon 2000 targets therefore will be failed too, MIPAA/RIS 2002 objectives are widely unknown or ignored.

Concerning the “Open Method of Coordination" (OMC), there are even less achievements regarding sustainable

pension systems by extending working life than with respect to reducing unemployment, increasing employment,

and reducing poverty.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Can Reducing Active Life or Age Exclusion be Stopped if not Reversed? Some Working Hypotheses for Discussion.


All in all, the predominance of non-working over working lifetimes, of non-working, inactive or dependent over

active and working population groups, as well as the predominance of household (non-SNA) production over market

(SNA) production, of unpaid work over paid work, are the single most important impediments to economic

growth, employment creation and sustainable social welfare in most European countries.

Massive labour slack (inactivity or non-employment, unemployment and long-term unemployment, long-term

sickness and invalidity) is among the main barriers to European economic growth, competitiveness, prosperity,

rising living standards; and also to health and well-being, happiness and life satisfaction, which by far are not

matching increasing wealth and life expectancy.

Inactivity or non-employment —not unemployment— is the single most important component of labour slack:

non-employment in Europe is almost four times as high as unemployment. And inactivity for the middle-aged or

post-prime age group 55 plus is between 10 times (men) and 30 times (women) higher than unemployment (erroneously

considered to be a major problem among so called “older workers").



Thus, the single most important group of inactive people in working age in Europe today are the middle-aged or

mature workers from 55 to 64, with social exclusion, drop-out or exit rates up to 89% of the (female) population

in an EU country like Slovakia. But in many countries three out of four (Spanish) or four out of five (Belgian,

Austrian, Hungarian, Italian —more than Turkish!) women of middle age are still excluded from the world of work.

Aggravating the problem, the age group 50 to 65 is rapidly growing in absolute and relative size, with baby boom

generations making this the most numerous age cohort in the labour market in the year 2010 at the latest.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, there is no widespread or even universal 5 year gap between legal and actual or

effective retirement age throughout Europe: it rather varies between 0.8 years for males in the UK to 6.4 years for

Austrian men, with Slovakia, Poland, Austria and Belgium far above, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Hungary, Denmark,

UK, Germany or Spain far below the 5 year gap.

If there is an iron rule regarding early retirement it is this: if you have a “normal" legal retirement age and an early

retirement age, people will always exit at the early retirement age (First Exit Opportunity-Habit), regardless of (up

to 5 years) different legal retirement ages between men and women and regardless of highly divergent (up to the

double) inactivity rates between middle-aged men and women (such as in Spain: 37.8% vs. 75.6%). Spain is also a

perfect case in point of illustrating this iron law: the earliest possible "jubilación anticipada" is 61 years of age, the

average effective retirement age is 61.3 for women and 61.6 years for men.

Thus, regarding “normal" legal and exceptional “early" retirement age, the exception became the rule and the rule

the exception: up to 97% of working populations retire in working age and before the official retirement age of

65. One major explanation, makingup for most of the variance, is the following: with very few exceptions, and contrary

to all political rhethoric and probably even good intentions, work above prime age simply does not pay in

Europe: continuing work above the earliest possible exit point —and even more so above the “normal", legal retirement

age— is implicitly “taxed" more or less heavily in many European countries, whereas early retirement continues

to be heavily subsidized.

Declared preferences show a strong preference for early retirement, preferences revealed in actual behaviour display

an even stronger preference for leisure as against extending working life. Any policy not realistically taking

into account this massive, though not at all comprehensive, not at all encompassing preference for earliest possible

exit is doomed to fail. But any policy not taking into account these contradicatory, if not opposing preferences

of majority and significant minorities willing to extend working life will also fail.

Demography still matters a lot, despite the fact that raising employment is and remains of primary importance. The

crucial challenge is to translate new demographic constellations into adequate socio-economic and policy adjustments.

A major new demographic challenge is this:

While the rapid rise of survival rates, of further or residual life expectancy at any age including actual or legal retirement

age, as well as of the median age, continues and demonstrates growing individual longevity and collective

societal ageing, standardized median age (median age based on the expected number of years left to live) shows

a different pattern of societies both collectively ageing and rejuvenating at the same time. If average remaing lifetimes

increase while populations age simultaneously, measures of age counting years since birth instead of determining

it in terms of years left to death or in proportion to an extending overall lifetime will miss the new phenomenon

of societies becoming older (in terms of higher median age) and younger (in terms of more remaining years

of life to be expected or standardized median age) in the same period.

Rescaled old-age dependency ratios and corresponding adjustment of retirement ages would require a continuous

upward adaptation of legal, standard, normal reference retirement age of between about one and two months a

year (as several countries have already done or intended to do so).

A few to do's and some not to do's for discussion

Make the principles work first, making work pay, and raising employment rates generally and for post-prime-agers

in particular to among the highest worldwide guiding principles.

It goes without saying that, above all, a wide range of the best practices available are to be adopted for worker's

lifelong education, occupational training, work safety, health promotion, professional rehabilitation, job rotation,

upgrading, and enrichment, late career measures, mobility support, age-specific adjustments of the work environment,

family time-off and lifetime banking account systems, including partial pension and phased, flexible retirement

schemes, etc.

Social security contributions could be age-risk-rated over the whole life cycle, making the compound non-employment

plus unemployment risk by age the yardstick for differentiating all social security contributions according to

aged-specific out-of-work-risks. Tax credits or subsidies for recruiting/retaining post-prime-age workers may be

experimented with and evaluated.

Generally, pension rules should possibly follow notional defined-contribution (NDC) schemes or DB systems should

be actuarially neutral in order not to set perverse incentives for early retirement.

Increase the earliest possible retirement age very slowly but steadily —only to the extent it is demographically required.

Automatic adjustment or “lifetime indexing" of (early, “normal", reference, etc.) retirement age to rising survival

rates, prospective age, residual life expectancies are absolutely indispensable.

Allow for a minimum “guarantee" pension at regular, reference retirement age only.

Allow the take-up only of earnings-related pensions at early retirement age.

Effectively ban age discrimination and forced retirement. (Effectively banning age discrimination and no forced

retirement at any age is an indispensable prerequesite for extending active life. Legal protection against being dismissed

for age reasons before the normal legal retirement age or before the upper band of the corridor in flexible

retirement schemes seems to be indispensable.)

(A kind of “philosophical" device: stop neglecting early exit as irrelevant or irresistible a phenomenon and act analogous

to the “broken window" theory in criminology. Otherwise, if someone retires early and this is visible and

socially accepted for whatever reason, ever more people will do so for whatever reasons and whatever a continuosuly

weakened opposition to this trend may hold against....According to the “broken window" theory by James

Q. Wilson and Georg Kelling, minor nuisances, if left unchecked, turn into major nuisances: if someone breaks a

window and sees it is not fixed immediately, he gets the signal that it is all right to break the rest of the windows

and may be set the buidling afire too. The practical idea behind the theory is: in order to reduce murder and violent

crime, policing the sort of “minor" deeds that usually get unpoliced is most effective.)

Fully integrate foreign residents and citizens who may significantly differ in their retirement behaviour.

Promote self-employment, as self-employed, small shopkeepers, and liberal professions work several years, up to

decades, longer than waged workers and employees; assisting the transition to self-employment for middle-aged

employees could be a major step towards effectively extending active working life.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Can Reducing Active Life or Age Exclusion be Stopped if not Reversed? Some Working Hypotheses for Discussion.


Pension rules should always be universal and fully transparent and avoid corporatist and sectional privileges which,

apart from being costly themselves, tend to demoralize great majorities of the working population and to reinforce

and legitimate widespread resistance to any change and reform. Pension justice must not only be done, it must

also seen to be done.

Re-organize “invalidity pensions". (If significant parts of the working age population, almost one in two men in

some countries and up to a majority of persons in some occupations and professions, retire as “invalides" at an

average “retirement" age around 42, and if one in about eight adults “retires" for reasons of ill-health or disability

in the richest, healthiest, most long-living societies humankind has known so far, the very concept of “disability

pension" may have to be reconsidered and replaced so that finally work injury and long-term sickness insurance

will be clearly disentangled, institutionally differentiated and mentally distinguished from unemployment insurance

on the one hand and from old-age security on the other. Receiving disability benefits have —or should have !—

nothing to do with working or not working and nothing with labour market problems and absolutely nothing with

old-age entitlements. Awarding old-age benefits should be strictly restricted to uncompromising —and demographically

adjusted— age thresholds; and/or to actuarial adjustments such that the overall lifetime pension entitlement

will not be increased by adverse retirement behaviour such as early exit.)


You may be generous to the poor, to sick people, to persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in

need, but never ever be generous to early retirees as such, as it will force to be non-solidaristic to all others in need.

Effectively block all early exit pathways.

When it comes to early exit basic social safety nets, never confuse old-age security (which can without exception

apply above working age only) with unemployment, accident, sickness, invalidity insurance, disability benefits etc.

Never allow for forced retirement at any age (below the upper retirement corridor age).

Never (ab)use pension policies for labour market —or any other supposedly “good"— purposes.

Never award lifelong disability “pensions" instead of temporary benefits.

Never ever allow for special pension schemes for special interest groups (however strong their pressure or noble

the causes underlying their claims).

Do not any longer allow for a different retirement age by gender.

Do not give an unlimited autonomy or veto power to social partners regarding retirement practices and the implementation

of pension schemes.




Mr. Antero Kiviniemi

Lisbon Strategy

• Launched by EU summit in 2000.

• Refocused in 2005.

• EU: most competitive knowledge based zone.

• Demographic ageing: main variable.

Lisbon strategy and ageing

• Search for control financial implications.

• Guarantee adequate social protection: modernisation a necessity.

• Not too heavy burden on future generations.

• Open method of co-ordination: pensions, social inclusion, long-term care.

• Employment promotion.

• Active national policies.

Green paper on ageing

• March 2005.

• To complete Lisbon approach.

• To change tendency, attitudes, mentality, atmosphere.

• To make profit of population dynamics.

• Intergenerational balance.

• Consultation paper.

Cornerstones of GP

• Provide facts.

• Integration of the young.

• Life-cycle approach.

• New place for the elderly.

• Better reconciliation between professional and private life.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Older people in EU strategies: Lisbon Strategy and Green Paper.


Green paper: current state

• Consultation closed October 15th.

• 235 contributions sent to the EC.

• Analysis goingon.

• Communication beginning 2006.

Closing words


• Ageing policies: member States' responsibility.

• EU membership engages.

• EU policies in all protect the elderly.

• EU activities influenced strongly by ageing.

• EU: to act commonly.

• Strong commitment at highest level based on dialogue.




Mr. Mark KEESE

All OECD countries are facing population ageing.










If nothing is done, labour supply will grow more slowly or contract

and unsustainable increases in public social expenditures.







United States


labour shortages, slower economic growth















3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Contribution of older people to social and economic development.



2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050

* Assuming participation rates by age and gender remain unchanged at their current levels.

Meeting these challenges will require mobilising more fully the labour resources of older people.















But how to achieve this?

Aged 50-64 Aged 25-49




New Zealand




United States

United Kingdom








Czech Rep.








Slovak Rep.







• OECD has carried out a major study of Ageing and Employment Policies.

• Including 21 separate country reports:

– Identifying work disincentives and barriers to employment of older people.

– Setting out policy recommendations.

• And a synthesis report was presented to a High-Level Policy Forum in Brussels, 17-18 October 2005.




Public pension rules

Formal & informal early

retirement schemes

Few options for phased







Negative attitudes

High labour costs

Strict job protection


Obsolete skills

Inadequate help for older


Unsuitable work conditions &

poor health

1. Work disincentives

Pension systems and other early retirement schemes penalise work at older ages.

• Effective age of retirement is below official age in most countries.













Improving incentives to continue working

• Ensure greater neutrality in work-retirement decisions.

– Moving towards actuarial neutrality.

– Taking account of rising life expectancy.

• Reduce early retirement options.

– Raising pension age.

– Phasing out formal early retirement schemes.

– Ensuring that other welfare benefits are not used as early retirement pathways.

• Beyond neutrality-actively promote participation.

– Increasing pension rights with age.

– Part-time pensions.

– Combining work and pensions.

2. Employer barriers

Effective age

Hiring and retention rates decline steeply after 50, reflecting:

• Negative employer attitudes.

– Labour costs that rise with age faster than productivity.

Official age









New Zealand

United States






United Kingdom


Czech Republic







Slovac Republic






3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Contribution of older people to social and economic development.




Correlation coefficient: –0,64



* Ratio of employees with less than one year of tenure to all employees, 2004.

** Full-time workers only.

2. Employer barriers

Strict Employment Protection Legislation (EPL).
























1,0 1,1 1,2 1,3 1,4 1,5 1,6 1,7 1,8


Correlation coefficient: –0,46

* Ratio of employees with less than one year of tenure to all employees, 2004.

** OECD index for 2003 of the overall strictness of Employment Protection Legislation.




































0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4

Changing employer practices

• Tackle negative employer attitudes.

– Through age discrimination legislation.

– And through information campaigns and guidelines.

• Align labour costs closer to productivity.

– Link earnings more closely to individual performance.

• Focus on enhancing employability of older workers rather than on job protection.

– Reassess impact of job protection rules on labour mobility and hiring of older workers.

3. Weak employability

Inadequate employment services.

• Obsolete skills.

– Training declines sharply with age.















– Many older workers report poor working conditions.

Aged 50-64 Aged 25-49











United Kingdom













Czech Republic


Slovak Republic

Aged 50-64 Aged 25-49


United Kingdom














3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Contribution of older people to social and economic development.


* For between one-half to all of the time, exposed in main job to at least one of the following: vibrations from hand tools or machinery; loud noise; high

or low temperatures; breathing in vapours, fumes, dust or dangerous substances; handling dangerous products; and radiation such as X rays, radioactive

radiation, welding light or laser beams.

Strengthening employability

• Ensure older unemployed are actively seeking work in exchange for better employment services.

– General exemptions from looking for work should be abolished.

– More resources should be devoted to helping older job seekers.

• Encourage greater take-up of training.

– More flexible courses.

– Better opportunities for lifelong learning.

• Improve the work environment.

– Greater flexibility in work hours.

– Adapting working conditions.



• Population ageing is both a challenge and an opportunity.

• It will put upward pressure on public expenditures while dragging down economic growth.

• But it is also a tremendous opportunity for all of us to spend more rewarding years at work and in retirement.

• Seizing this opportunity will require the co-operation of government, employers, trade unions and civil society.




Mr. Robert Anderson

Embracing the challenge of an ageing European workforce

Main messages:

• Ageing workforce has moved high on the European social policy agenda —employment, pensions, productivity

and equal opportunities.

• There is momentum for change in some organisations but attitudes and commitment have to change.

• Not enough to change exit and retirement policies —need investment in a changing workforce.

• Age management demands new models of working, learning and caring over the life course.

Report to the Spring European Council 2004


• Overall rates are too low (64% in 2002 compared with 62% in 1999) 57% in NMS10.

• Rate of female employment rose from 53% in 1999 to 56% in 2002 (50% in NMS10).

• Older workers (55-64) rose from 37% in 1999 to 40% in 2002 (30% in NMS10) —but 59% in US and 62% in


Joint employment report 2004

• Employment rate among women 55-64 is 30% compared with 50% for men.

• Average age of exit from the labour market is 61 years, compared with 62 in US and 68 in Japan!

• Expected that the population of working age in the EU25 will fall from 303 million today to 280 million in 2030,

while the population aged 65+ increases from 71 million to 110 million.

• The average age of the European workforce is increasing by one year every five years.

Drivers of change in employment of older workers

• Public policies.

• Business case/need.

• Social dialogue.

• Labour supply issues.

• Wider awareness of demographic shifts.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Active life extension: a perspective on the ageing workforce in the EU.


Older workers in EU policies

• From just another vulnerable group to core resource for mobilisation.

• From soft suggestions to direct recommendations in employment and social protection areas.

• From external phenomenon to integrated element in comprehensive EU policies, e.g. anti-discrimination.

• From primary focus on tax/benefit structures to practices of age management in workplaces and labour markets.

Business case



• Avoid labour and skills scarcity (& associated costs).

• Retain valuable experience.

• Return on investment from training.

• Improved work satisfaction contributing to greater quality and productivity.

• Age Diversity = Greater flexibility & synergy .

But who believes it? Contradictions, Ambivalences, Ambiguities.

European Foundation research

1996-97: Age barriers in employment.

1997-98: Case studies of ergonomic measures.

2001-02: Survey on working conditions.

2004: Employment initiatives for an ageing workforce.

Emphasis on 'good practice' in EU15 and NMS.

Good practice in age management

• Job recruitment.

• Training, development and promotion.

• Flexible working practice.

• Ergonomics/job design.

• Health and well-being.

• Changing attitudes within organisations.

• Inter-generational relations.

Towards more comprehensive measures.

An integrated age management strategy

• A broader HR strategy designed to minimise or eliminate age barriers.

• Essential ingredients:

– An emphasis on the prevention of age management problems.

– A focus on the whole working life and all age groups.

– A holistic approach.

– Remedial provision for older workers.


• Need for a comprehensive and coordinated set of policies —acknowledged but only partially implemented.

• Integrated approaches are possible and worthwhile —need to extend awareness and commitment.

• Policies must consider the whole of working life —working, learning and caring over the life course— but how

to operationalise.

• Rethinking of pensions — but also disability and rehabilitation schemes.

• The new member States pose a special challenge for giving priority and particular attention to older workers.

• Need employment creation in services for older people, e.g. care.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Active life extension: a perspective on the ageing workforce in the EU.



Mr. Pablo Cobo Gálvez

Since the arrival of democracy, Spanish society has made significant progress towards achieving a clear awareness

of citizens' rights, particularly as regards those rights that have an impact on personal development and quality of

life, i.e. education, the pensions system and healthcare.

In recent years, a new social demand has started to form in the social fabric: coverage for the problem of caring

for people in situations of dependency as a new social risk to be addressed by the public powers. Dependency

affects more than one million people.

It appears that the Government is aware of the problem. The President of the Government, in the programme he

presented at his investiture, and later on in response to a parliamentary question on the issue, has announced measures

aimed at working towards a solution to this problem. In this regard, he undertook to present a White Paper on

Dependency before the end of the year 2004, offering a thorough diagnosis of the situation of dependent people in

Spain, with a number of useful proposals and alternatives for implementing a National Dependency System. The

President also undertook to send a Government Bill regulating protection for this group of people to the Cortes

Generales (Parliament + Senate) before the end of 2005.

We are all now awaiting the presentation of the promised Government Bill on the scheduled date and working towards

this goal.

The White Paper is structured in 12 chapters and offers a systematic, wide-ranging overview on the following:

demographic aspects, the characteristics and profiles of dependency, applicable legal regimen, informal support,

resources for caring for the elderly under and over the age of sixty-five years, healthcare, socio-sanitary coordination,

budgets and economic resources dedicated by the public sector to dependency, assessment criteria and techniques,

job generation and the economic returns to be derived from the development of a System of care for the

dependant, a comparative study on different protection systems in our neighbour countries and a set of final considerations

aimed at encouraging reflection and debate and, where applicable, decision-making regarding the definition

of a model of care for the dependant, which society needs and is able to fund.

As the technical coordinator of the Paper, I can vouch for the thoroughness and depth of its contents. Its over one

thousand pages bear testimony to the work and dedication of its authors: the IMSERSO Foundation, University

Professors, Scientific Societies, researchers, experts in disability and dependency and the participation of elderly

and disabled organisations.

The Paper and the complementary documentation attached thereto include information available from research

carried out in Spain on the subject of dependency, data supplied by the Autonomous Communities regarding the

resources that are currently available for caring for the dependant and proposals and considerations issued by the

Cortes Generales (Parliament and Senate), the Ombudsman, the Social Agents, the Scientific Community, Organisations

representing the elderly and the disabled, Social Entities and International Bodies. This information is structured

in such a way that the major issues, which constitute the basic aspects of the System, may be analysed and

debated by society before the Government Bill is drawn up and passed by the Government.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Protection to people in situations of dependency.


At the moment, there are four forums of analysis, positioning and debate open: The Toledo Pact Commission at the

Congress of Deputies, the Sectoral Conference with the Autonomous Communities, the Board of Negotiation with

the social agents and the meetings with disabled and elderly organisations. The objective is to obtain reliable information

on the needs of citizens and the criteria of the various public administrations, political parties and social

agents as regards the issue of dependency.

At the request of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, IMSERSO is working on designing the model, drawing

up the various economic scenarios and writing the draft Government Bill.



As regards the model, it is our understanding that the Bill shall have to guarantee the following, among other aspects:

a) That any person in a situation of dependency, whatever their age, the origin of the dependency or the social

situation, may be entitled to the benefits offered by the system, according to the conditions and requirements

that are established.

b) The public nature of the benefits, regardless of the particular modality of management that is chosen for the service.

c) The condition of the subjective entitlement to benefits or service, with the scope and requirements that are decided.

d) The basic equality in the catalogue of benefits and services that is established, no matter what the place of residence,

although the autonomous and local administrations may extend or improve the basic conditions with

contributions from their own budgets.

e) It shall not be possible for the benefit or service that is guaranteed to be entirely covered by public funding.

Therefore, the beneficiary should participate in the funding according to his/her income (pensions, income from

work, income from property, etc.). Therefore, a scale of participation shall be drawn up for the beneficiaries

according to income categories.

Similarly, the Bill must determine the requirements for accessing the benefit, whereas the fundamental requirement

is that the person should be in a situation of dependency, proven by the application of an assessment scale or table

to determine the degree of dependency. This scale must be approved by the Government with the status of basic

legislation in order to guarantee the application of the services and benefits on an equal basis throughout the State.

In the most highly developed countries around us, special protection and funding models have been configured, in

response to specific social protection traditions and systems: the universal protection model and the Social

Security model.

The universal protection systems present the following characteristics:

— Protection for dependency is an extension of the social and healthcare benefits and services.

— Coverage is extended to the whole population and therefore there is no income-based test.

— The benefits are basically in the form of services.

— The system is funded by taxes, shared by the State and the Territorial Administrations.

— The municipalities are directly responsible for providing the services.

— The services to be received are assigned by the responsible bodies, considering the available resources that are

best suited according to the degree of dependency, closeness to home, etc.

In turn, the Systems based on Social Security funding present the following characteristics:

— Entitlement is confirmed after an assessment of the situation of dependency.

— The benefits are generally economic, with an upper limit and intended to cover a significant part of the cost, but

not the total amount, thus obliging the beneficiary to participate in funding the services, to which the benefits

are linked.

— The situation of dependency is assessed in degrees or levels of seriousness.

— These systems are basically funded by contributions to the Social Security by employed workers, employers and

pensioners, although in some countries there may also be a proportion that is funded by taxes.

— They offer a wide range of options to the person.

— They also contemplate assistance for carers.

When deciding which model may be more appropriate for Spain, the following considerations should be borne in mind:

1. Our country addresses the issue from the perspective of a protection scenario that must necessarily be taken

into account when designing a new model. The Public Administrations offer more than forty percent of the places

in homes for the elderly and together with the participation of the beneficiary, fund the home-help services

that are currently provided by companies and entities hired or subsidised for this work. Therefore, it may be said

that the basis on which to work towards a model for the provision of services is already in place.

2. It is true that the Social Security system grants contributory and non-contributory economic benefits for situations

of dependency: the major invalidity pension and the invalidity pension with third-party supplementary aid.

However, in order that these may be granted, the person must be in the under-65 age bracket, which means that

the more elderly population is not covered, even though it is then that the majority of the situations of dependency

arise. The number of people that currently receive these benefits, including protection for a severely disabled

dependent child, is only 133,000 people. The Government's criterion does not currently seem to be that the

dependency system should be integrated in the Social Security system by means of an increase in contributions.

3. However, the insufficiency of public resources —especially residential resources— to face the needs derived from

acknowledging an entitlement and the unequal distribution shall make it necessary, as well as extending the

offering of public services, to foresee other forms of benefits in order that citizens may solve or alleviate the

problems until a sufficient offering becomes available. I am referring specifically to the acknowledgement of an

alternative economic benefit linked to covering the expenses of specific private services for caring for dependants.

4. On the other hand, the fact is that a very large number of people wish to continue to look after their elderly in the

family home, either for cultural reasons or because a member of the family does not work. In these cases, the beneficiary

should be able to opt to be looked after in his/her family environment by informal carers, while receiving

economic compensation for this. This compensation should be associated to registering and making contributions

to the Social Security on behalf of the carers, with the possibility to start or continue the social insurance record.

5. The System should include prior assessment of dependency and classification in degrees, taking into consideration

the level of care that is required.

6. Mandatory procedures for coordination with the healthcare system should also be established when drawing up

the care schedule and providing the services.

The role of the various Public Administrations in the National Dependency System

The National Dependency System to be established shall take into consideration the framework of the distribution

of competencies between the State and the Autonomous Communities that is laid down in the Constitution and

in the Autonomous Statutes as regards the management of the Social Security system.

Moreover, it shall also bear in mind the institutional reality on which the benefits and services that currently configure

care for dependency in Spain are based. Thus, application of the System shall require coordinated action by the

Public Administrations, in order that the people in the situation of dependency may receive the social and healthcare

services that they need within the National System for Personal Autonomy and Dependency. It shall therefore be

necessary to create the applicable coordinating bodies in the various territorial fields.

The Autonomous Communities, via their Social Services laws, have regulated and established the provision of services

to address situations of dependency, generating public infrastructure, subsidising places in homes and hiring


3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Protection to people in situations of dependency.


The Local Corporations also participate in covering the dependency needs of their citizens from their own budget

and managing resources that are transferred from the State and the Autonomous Communities, in accordance

with the Law on the Bases for the Local Regimen. We should not overlook the importance of the basic benefits that

make up the primary care system within the Public Social Services System, funded by the three administrations. Of

these, the home-help scheme represents a significant contribution of the municipalities towards addressing the

issue of dependency.

The State is in charge of regulating by law all of the aspects that configure the scope and content of the entitlement

to care of people in a situation of dependency, the beneficiaries of the service and the funding systems, as

well as the approval and updating of the scales to assess dependency, in order to guarantee equal access to protection.

Furthermore, the State would be responsible for follow-up, control and evaluation of the System, statistical information

and comparative analysis of the rates of incorporation of dependants in the various territorial areas.

At State level, a Dependency Observatory should be established and made available to all of the Administrations

and agents involved in providing dependency services. The Observatory would analyse trends, carry out prospecting

work, studies and research and disseminate national and international experiences and best practices.



In cooperation between the State and the Autonomous Communities, via the Sectoral Conference, the following

activities, among others, should be carried out:

— Study and approval of the portfolio of specific services for each of the benefits in the Catalogue approved by

the Law.

— Approval and updating of equality standards for each of the services that are included in the System and the

establishment of the criteria for accrediting centres and services.

— Incentives for training professionals, promoting the definition of professional skills and specialisation in the

various areas of care, promoting teacher-training activities, web-based training platforms, etc.

The Autonomous Communities would be responsible for assessing the dependency by applying the scales that are

approved by the State and acknowledging entitlement to the dependency benefit in the terms specified by the Law.

The Autonomous Communities would also be in charge of ensuring that within the scope of their territory, citizens

are offered the necessary services and centres in order that dependants be properly cared for. This involves, on the

one hand, the management of its own centres and services and the creation of other new ones and on the other

hand, the provision of incentives and subsidies for private initiative, non-profit centres and services for inclusion

in the System.

The Autonomous Communities would also be responsible for the following:

— Strengthening the existing disability assessment teams in order to address the specifics of assessing dependency

and the increase in demand that the deployment of the System is certain to generate.

— Creating and updating the Register of Dependency Centres and Services in each Autonomous Community, facilitating

the corresponding accreditation that guarantees compliance with the basic requirements and the indispensable

quality standards.

— Creating the administrative management bodies in order to provide adequate information to beneficiaries, proceeding

to acknowledge entitlement to the benefit and drawing up the applicable services schedule according

to the decision reached by the assessment team.

— Inspecting and, where applicable, sanctioning the failure to meet minimum requirements and quality standards

in centres and services, and respect for the rights of beneficiaries.

— Assessing the functioning of the System in their respective territories.

The Local Corporations, and especially those with a population that is sufficient in order to manage some of the

dependency care services themselves, would be responsible for managing the services that must be provided by the

local bodies, given their nature and proximity.

The Local Corporations would also be responsible for facilitating the creation of new services and centres, providing

land reserved for public use for the resources and speeding up proceedings.


Conclusions of Working Group 2


Mrs. Maria Eugenia Bolaños,

Head of the International Relations Service of IMSERSO





Reporting Clerk: Mrs. María Eugenia Bolaños

Pablo Cobo. IMSERSO

“Protecting people in a situation of dependency”

The legislative project for protection against situations of dependency is going to entail the disappearance of a

situation which presently, in our country, is unfair; since when the dependency situation continues after the age

of 65, there is no specific right to protect this situation. This is how the fourth pillar of social well-being starts to

take shape.

Preliminary consultation work was carried out, whose results are contained in the White Paper on Dependency.

Dialogue was opened with social agents, the Autonomous Communities, the most representative communities

(CERMI [Spanish Committee of Representative for Persons with Disability] and the State Board for the Elderly), with

the municipal and town councils.

The system for promoting personal self-sufficiency and attention to dependency is defined by the following principles:

• Its universal and public nature.

• Access in conditions of equality.

• Fair distribution of resources at the territorial level.

The final goal is to encourage personal self-sufficiency; the aim is to prevent dependency, but when this occurs it

is necessary to authorise the resources and means necessary to protect dependent people.

This is why priority is placed on keeping people in their own homes (admittance to institutions is the last resort),

in spite of its greater financial cost.

Another essential component of the model is the quality and sustainability of the system. Spain presently spends

0.32% of its GDP on social expenditure for dependency; if health expenditure was included, this would amount to

50%. This is well below the countries of the Community region.

These elements of quality and sustainability make a large financial effort obligatory. The financial studies carried

out indicate that the level of return reaches up to 65 % of the expenditure made. This is a problem which, if dealt

with in enough time in order to be applied, can be tackled in an economy in the process of growing, with certain

guarantees of sustainability.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Conclusions of Working Group 2.


The people who are assessed and diagnosed as being dependent (dependency being understood as the impossibility

of carrying out the basic activities of life) will be financed.

Before the year ends, the Council of Ministers will study a report and the presentation of a legislative plan in the

Spanish Parliament will take place during the first quarter of 2005.



The goal is the protection of individuals in a situation of dependency. The beneficiaries will be approximately

1,125,000-1,300,000 people.

The national dependency system is universal and public in nature, guaranteeing access in conditions

of equality and the fair distribution of resources throughout the country.

The ultimate goal is to encourage personal self-sufficiency; the aim is to prevent dependency and

develop the technical applications necessary so that people can use their capabilities to the utmost.

The choice is for home care, rather than admitting to institutions. The immediate challenges are the

quality of the services and the sustainability of the system. The financial studies undertaken indicate

that the economic effort is possible in growing economies and that the level of return could be

65% of the expenditure made.

Mrs. Mariàngels Fortuny. ILO

“The position of aged workers in the job market in Europe. Encouraging employment and participation”.

A situation characterised by:

• Insufficient growth of employment and a high rate of youth unemployment.

• Certain reduced levels of employment and participation from elderly workers.

• Some overall indexes of participation that have not significantly increased, in spite of the higher level of participation

of the elderly.

Use has been made of involuntary early retirements utilised to reduce tensions in the job market.

While legal retirement ages have increased, the average retirement age continues being particularly low in relation

to life expectancy.

The necessity has been raised of providing a political response in order to avoid situations that we could consider

associated with the idea of the “poverty trap”, into which retired people fall in the poorest countries of the region,

who have to go back to work because of the reduced amount of their pensions.

It is necessary to increase the employment rates for all population groups, without switching the employment problems

from one group to another (ILO recommendation, NUMBER 162).

It is necessary to pay special attention to women, in order to increase their levels of participation, making professional

and personal life compatible.

Which elements would need to be considered in the policies for prolonging active life?

• Taking account of the needs and the rights of elderly workers, in particular, relating to working conditions.

• Recognising the important role of education and training throughout life.

• The fight against stereotypes; highlighting the role of employers.

• The application of legislation for fighting against discrimination on the grounds of age.

• Promoting flexible transitions from work to retirement.

The lack of voluntary intention in a significant percentage of early retirements: the subsequent situation

in which the workers find themselves.

The impact of early retirements in terms of productivity, growth and sustainability of the social protection


Legislation for preventing discrimination on the grounds of age.

The promotion of flexible transitions from work to retirement.

Mr. Bernd Marin. European Centre of Vienna

Is it possible to invert, if not reverse, the reduction of active life or “exclusion because of age”? Some working

hypotheses for you to discuss.

The failure when it comes to reversing the trend of recent years has been recorded: in spite of some good practices,

a later joining age for employment is maintained; along with an increasingly early exit from the job market

and an increasingly large reduction of working life based around the leading average adult age range (25-54).

In an overall way, the predominance of the non-working life over working life is one of the most significant obstacles

to economic growth, job creation and social well-being.

Inactivity or the absence of employment is the most important component that affects the reduction of the labour

force. Thus, the most important individual group of inactive people of working age in Europe is the workers whose

average age is 55-64 years old. Inactivity affects women more.

Another piece of data is that the group in the age range of 50-65 is growing rapidly in absolute and relative terms,

as a consequence of the members of the baby boom generations reaching this mature age.

Moreover, what was exceptional is now becoming generalised: ordinary legal retirement is now becoming the

exception and the general rules is early retirement. The fundamental reason is that working after a certain age is

not rewarded in Europe.

Europeans prefer to opt for early retirement and there is an even stronger preference for leisure as opposed to

lengthening the working life.


• Working more.

• Making work rewarding.

• Raising the employment rates in general and those of aged workers in particular.


• Educating workers throughout their lives.

• Improving working conditions, including prevention and safety in the workplace.

• Promoting health.

• Job rotation, improving the alternatives for the end of the career.

• Supporting mobility.

• Adapting specific work environments to age, spare time for the family.

• Promoting flexible retirement plans.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Conclusions of Working Group 2.


Working hypothesis:

• Making an automatic adjustment of the retirement age to fit in with the growing survival rates.

• Establishing a “guaranteed” minimum pension only for the usual retirement age, the one used as a reference.

• Allowing those who take early retirement only to receive earnings-related pensions.

• Effectively prohibiting age discrimination and enforced retirement.

• Fully integrating foreign citizens and residents whose patterns of retirement behaviour could be significantly


• Encouraging self-employment and other formulas for work creation.

• Having universal and transparent systems in the rules on pensions, so as to avoid sectorial and corporativist


• Reorganising disability pensions.

• Security for old age should not be confused with the benefits for unemployment, accidents, illness and disability.



Paying attention to individual preferences, which set out guidelines that should be taken into consideration

when it comes to designing policies; these will have to associate said preferences with certain

norms of sustainability and social justice, based on scenarios of ageing and longevity.

Inactivity: the biggest problem.

The crucial challenge: translating the new demographic constellations into suitable socio-economic

and political adjustments.

More work for everyone, in particular for elderly workers, and making the work rewarding.

Comprehensive approaches so as to achieve the prolongation of active life, in a progressive way, based

on the life cycle.

Mr. Antero Kiviniemi. DG for Employment of the European Union Commission

“Strategy for the elderly in the European Union. The Lisbon Strategy and the Green Paper”

The Community agenda. On the one hand, all of the matters relating to the big questions set out for the European

Union strategy:

• The financial implications.

• Guarantee of suitable social protection, without discounting its modernisation.

• No excessive charges for future generations.

• Making the utilisation of the open method of coordination in the pensions, social inclusion and long-term citizens

fields as profitable as possible.

• Promoting employment.

• The application of active policies at the national level.

On the other hand, there is the consultation process on the Green Paper on demographic changes and relations

between generations. This is a very broad-ranging consultation process, open to all those involved, which was concluded

last October 2005. The aim of this consultation is to complete the focus of the Lisbon Agenda on ageing;

promoting a change of trends, attitudes, mentality and culture. Promoting the mobilisation of society and tackling

the subject of balance between generations.

The Commission will issue a Communication at the beginning of 2006. Some 235 contributions received are being

analysed at this time.

For Mr. Kiviniemi, we are faced with a bigger topic, the responsibility of the member States, on which there is a

commitment at the European Union level. The activities of the European Union are going to be heavily influenced

by ageing, and as such it is necessary to act together. At this time it is hard to get a strong commitment at the highest

level, based on dialogue.

Guarantee of proper social protection, without discounting its modernisation if necessary.

Promoting employment and active policies.

Search for new trends, changes in attitudes and approach.

Focused centred on the life cycle: balance between generations.

Responsibility of the member States, but a community commitment strengthened by dialogue at the

highest level.

Recognition of the impact of ageing on the community measures.

Mark Keese. OECD

“Contribution of the elderly to social and economic development”

Important topic: Identifying the reasons for prematurely quitting work (lack of financial incentives and barriers

erected by demand, associated with the resistance to hiring the elderly and the fragility of professional qualifications).

People are pushed towards retirement. Early retirements do not improve the job figures amongst the young. There

are three types of policies in order to improve the situation:

• Guaranteeing greater neutrality in the decisions about retirement (actuarial studies: consideration of the increase

in life expectancy).

• Reducing the early retirement options.

• Actively promoting participation (more pension rights with age: work and pensions compatibility).

With regard to retirement scaling, it is necessary to establish that incentives could have an unwanted effect (for

example, given the possibility of opting to work half-days, people do so, when they would have continued working

full days had such an option not existed).

In terms of retention rates, it is necessary to evaluate both the subjective factors (overcoming stereotypes) and the

objective factors (the highest salaries for the longest-serving workers: if there is no relationship between salary

costs and productivity, they will be expensive workers and employers will tend to dispense with).

It is necessary to change employers' practices, through a set of legislation that prevents age-based discrimination;

the associating of earnings with individual achievements; strengthening the employability of older workers rather

than the protection of a job.

In order to improve the employability of workers, it is necessary to improve employment services; provide education

that makes it possible to acquire new qualifications as opposed to obsolete skills and improving working conditions

and the proper arranging of work time.

Population ageing is a challenge and an opportunity.

The labour force of the elderly is needed.

OECD has carried out a macro-study on Ageing and Employment Policies, presented at the High-Level

Forum held in Brussels last October 17-18, 2005.

The three barriers to older workers continuing with their working lives are:

• Tax disincentives.

• The barriers from the employers.

• The weak level of employability of the workers.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Conclusions of Working Group 2.


Mr. Robert Anderson. Dublin Foundation for Living and Working Conditions.

“Prolonging active life: a perspective on population ageing in the European Union”



Important messages:

• This is the time for change in organisations, but to do this they have to change their attitudes and they have

to accept commitments.

• It is not enough to change job market and retirement exit policies. It is necessary to invest more in changing

and adapting the labour force.

• Handling the “age issue” requires new models of work, learning and care throughout life. Examples of good


– Training, development and promotion.

– Flexible work formulas.

– Health, well-being, ergonomy.

– Change in the attitudes within organisations.

– Intergenerational relations.

Changes of attitudes in the organisations. More committed companies.

The progress of the last ten years, there is no evidence of a change in trend.

Good practices are focused on commitment of more contracts for elderly workers/training offers adapted

to their needs; the improving of working conditions; family and work balance policies: new time


It is necessary to apply life cycle focuses. We cannot just work on the stretches following the decisions

to retire or quit the working life.


We can highlight the following prepared topics:

• The role of education and of the universities for the elderly. There are workers who go back to or initiate a

type of training once their professional life has ended, with a sense of “escaping from slavery”. Either there

is a profound change or it will be hard for us to convince these people that they have to prolong their working

lives. What is true is that, on the one hand, how do we maintain those workers who want to continue working

because it was not slavery for them? We find ourselves with one single group, who has different needs and


• What is missing is a more active degree of participation from businesses and trade unions.

• For the representative from the Older Persons Platform, there is a lack of practical undertaking and an excess

of rhetoric. He drew up certain reservations, because while it is true that there is an increase in life expectancy

in general terms, what is true is that this is a relative truth within every country (for example, in the case of

ethnic minorities).

• One piece of data to be highlighted from this discussion was contributed by Mr. Anderson from the Dublin

Foundation: according to a survey on early retirement, 40% would not have chosen this.

• Mark Keese reiterated the need for balance and flexibility in retirement decisions. It is necessary to take

away artificial barriers. In Sweden, if there is greater life expectancy it is necessary to work longer in order to

achieve the same retirement percentage. There can be no fixed ideas about retirement. Amongst the good practices,

he cited the “50 and over” contract from the United Kingdom. He added one aspect reiterated in this wor-

king group: the treatment must be carried out from the perspective of the working life, as a full cycle. This

idea was also taken up by Maria Angeles Fortuny, of the ILO.

• What is important for Mr. Kiviniemi is not to lose our bearings; in Europe, we are preparing what we have come

to know as the “European social model”. We are now introducing new dimensions that cannot be well understood

by the citizens. Retirement is a right, which could be compromised if early retirements take place.

The Commission is working on three new foundations:

– Supporting families.

– Migration.

– Active ageing.

• For the representative from SECOT [Spanish Senior Citizens for Technical Cooperation], there is a lack of presence

of the elderly in the fields of participation and decisions. Working groups tend to be balanced. By

way of example, he said that he was the only retired person present in the group. Looking at the idea that leaving

work for many workers means recovering their freedom, he specified the point that for most of them, retirement

represents a complete change in life; in less than 24 hours they have to change their whole attitude and

re-schedule their lives.

This discussion was much more extensive and thorough, and for the moderator four core ideas were


• The need for cultural change.

• The need to search for balance between options and opportunities.

• The focus has to be broad, on the life cycle.

• Generations have to find ways to communicate between themselves and search for their complementary

elements: there should be no antagonisms.

• The guarantee of non-discrimination, by means of legislative measures and the fights against stereotypes.

• Avoid sectorialised focuses.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 2. Conclusions of Working Group 2.



Workshop 3

“Exchange of good practices in the field of older

persons’ integration from the perspective of civil

society and its possibility of transferability.”


Mrs. Mala Kapur Shankardass, Maitreyi College, India


Mrs. Gertraud Dayé, EURAG

Mrs. Teresa Martínez Rodríguez, Principado de Asturias

Mr. Pedro Mira, Share

Mr. Peter Moore, Committee of Regions

Mrs. Angela Haynes, HelpAge


Mrs. Gertraud Dayé

First of all I would like to tell you who I am: I represent EURAG, a European umbrella organisation of older persons’

organisations with members in 33 European countries, from Iceland to Malta, from Portugal to Moscow. This

European NGO was founded in 1962, has its official seat in Luxembourg, and its General Secretariat in Graz, Austria.

EURAG has consultative status with UN ECOSOC, participatory status with the Council of Europe, and is an active

member of the Platform of European Social NGOs, a Platform representing the interest of its members with the

European Commission and the European Parliament.

At present, I am the Chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing with the UN in Vienna.

As a person representing a European umbrella organisation of older persons’ organisations I am very happy to see

reflected in the title of this Seminar, “The Contribution of Older Persons to the Social and Economic Development”,

the active role of older persons. The title of this workshop is “Exchange of good practices in the field of older persons’

integration and its possibility of transferability”. So, the question is how can we, older persons, contribute to

the debate in European institutions as a means of integration, and how can we make good practice developed in

one European institution transferable to the others.

We base all our deliberations on the conviction that discussing political programmes for specific population groups

on all levels, from local to international, must not be done without hearing them, without letting that particular

population group participate in the debate. This is a question of respect, a question of dignity of those concerned.

This contribution will speak about opportunities for participation of older persons on 3 levels.

A. Participation of older persons on UN and, as we speak of European institutions, in particular on UNECE


As you are most certainly well aware of, there are numerous recommendations in the Madrid Action Plan on Ageing

addressing/demanding the above mentioned involvement of civil society in all political debates concerning them.

This commitment of Governments to include representatives of civil society in the debate was put into reality when

we, the big international NGOs active in the field of ageing, were invited to actively contribute to the formulation

of the Regional Implementation Strategy for the Action Plan on Ageing in the European Region, by joining the

debate in the sessions of the open-ended working group. To be able to do this we had, first, to come together in

order to agree on common demands, formulations we all wished to have included in the text. This was an important

form of collaboration of civil society, enabling us to speak with one voice in a working group constituted by

Government representatives and representatives of the UN, its specialized agencies and other UN bodies. We succeeded

in actually having accepted quite a number of our demands in the formulation of the Regional Implementation

Strategy text.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Participation of Older People in European Institutions.


This was, however, a punctual event. As far as I know there are not many signs of changing this example of good

practice into a generally maintained procedure. Other action plans, implementation strategies are being develo-

ped/formulated at UN and UNECE level where the immediate input of organized civil society is not possible. This

means the transferability of good practice (from the NGO point of view) is not yet a reality.

However, there are very positive examples, too:

The activities and objectives of the Task Force monitoring the follow-up of the Regional Implementation Strategy

for MIPAA were presented in an earlier workshop. Also in that task force NGO representatives are active members,

working on equal level with Government representatives, those working with the UN and its agencies, and academia.



And I would like to shortly mention a positive experience made by representatives of my own organisation: in the

PrepComs for the World Summit of Information Society two of our colleagues decided that they wanted to make

an input. These colleagues were representing the interests of older women. They met with rather astonished reactions

when they used all channels open to NGOs to make an input, but they started close collaboration with NGOs

representing young women from developing countries, and they achieved two things: first, the generation aspect

was introduced in the texts, and, second, general awareness was raised among those dealing with questions linked

to new information and communication technologies that such topics not only have an impact on all population

groups, but that these groups —including older women— actually want to be heard and want to make a contribution

to the debate.

B. Council of Europe

There is a very important shift of paradigm in the NGO work in the Council of Europe: international NGOs no longer

have consultative, but participatory status. And I would like to stress that the work done by the Council of

Europe is very important to seniors’ organisations: there is the European Social Charter and the Revised European

Social Charter, but also specific topics, such as palliative care or elder abuse, are being dealt with by the Council of

Europe bodies.

C. European Union

There are two forms of participation possible:

a) Organized, institutionalised participation: umbrella organizations, most, but not all of them fora or platforms

predominantly financed by Commission money, are regularly invited to speak in Commission conferences

—following the rule that organized civil society must be heard. And European NGOs are involved in a consultation

process with Commission representatives and with MEPs. For us, social NGOs, this consultation process is

guaranteed in the biannual “meetings with the Commission” on the one hand, and in meetings of different MEP

Intergroups, such as the Intergroup on Ageing, on the other.

b) There are also informal ways of making an input, thanks to direct, personal contacts with persons working in

the Commission. And I would like to stress that such contacts can be very rewarding —NGO representatives are

heard, even if this does not mean that we automatically are able to have an influence.

c) By carrying out EU-funded projects. Calls for proposals for projects closely follow policy objectives agreed upon

by EU Member States. And the way projects are carried out, the results achieved actually do make an impact.

I would like to give two examples:

— DG Education: there are special programmes funding activities strengthening European collaboration of different

population groups, including older people’s organisations, and NGO representatives are regularly called

in as experts to discuss such special programmes.

— DG Research: participation in EU-funded research projects, representing the voice of the users.

To conclude

All these forms of participation have one common problem: the international or European NGOs are responsible

for making this contribution to the work of international institutions, for making the civil society input a reality.

They have to get their strength, their knowledge, from their own members. How good they are in involving grassroots

organisations or whether they are very competent partners for international bodies but actually transmitting

the knowledge and opinions of experts instead of those of their constituencies depends on the NGOs’ own structures

and culture.

It is, certainly, a heavy task for all of us representing NGOs in international institutions to always go back to our

national and even local organisations, to involve them in opinion-forming and in strengthening their feeling that

they actually are heard at the international, the European level.

And there is another big challenge: if we, the older persons, want to be heard by policy makers, we have to organize

ourselves, we have to speak with one voice. We had to do that when we contributed to the open-ended working

group formulating RIS, we are doing that in Brussels in the Platform of European Social NGOs, we are doing

that in the 3 NGO Committees on Ageing.

Thank you for your attention.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Participation of Older People in European Institutions.





Mrs. Teresa Martínez Rodríguez

The role of work

• It determines social roles.

• It organises the rhythm of life and daily activities.

• It provides social networks and relationships.

• It contributes to a sense of being in control of one’s environment.

• It can help develop creativity.

• It imbues an individual’s actions with meaning.

• It promotes self-esteem.


On an individual level

• To foster skills in the individual and those around him that encourage adaptation to the new situation.

On a collective level

• To promote an active role for the pre-retired that is appreciated by society.

1st phase of

programme 2002






3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Presentation of the Programme on preretired persons in the Asturian coalmining: Decisive yesterday, essential today.


2nd phase of

programme 2003-2005













Fields of activity and actions

Awareness raising and increasing knowledge of the phenomenon of pre-retirement

• Qualitative research into pre-retirement in Asturias.

• Interactive workshops.

• One-to-one interviews.

• Awareness raising activities.

The repercussions of pre-retirement

At an individual level

Positive aspects

• A sense of pride in the mining profession.

• You leave a tough, dangerous job.

• You have freedom and time available.

Negative aspects

• Loss of social identity.

• Disruption of daily routine.

• Tendency to become cut off and isolated.

At a group level

Positive aspects

• the experience of actions of solidarity.

• Critical awareness and commitment to social situation.

• Enhanced capacity for mobilization.

Negative aspects

• A sense of being abandonned by the institutions.

• Group de-motivation.

• Lack of meeting places.

Conclusions as regards the type of measures required

A) The need for individual training.

• Managing and planning free time and leisure activities.

• Adapting to new roles in the family and in the home.

• Healthy life styles.

B) The need for group meetings.

Areas of interest

I. New technologies.

II. Nature and the Environment.

III. Arts and Traditions.

IV. Social Support.

V. Comunication.

VI. Health.

Areas of activity and actions

Guidance and assessment for the pre-retired and their families.

• Information Points at Social Centres for the Elderly.

• Personalised assessment service.

Training the pre-retired.

I. New Technologies

Ofimatics / Internet / WEB page design

II. Nature and the Environment

Geography and Environmental Protection / Vegetable and Flower Gardens / Rivers and Fishing

III. Art and Tradition

Woodcutting / Painting / Asturian Art / Initiation into music

IV. Social Support

Cross-generation exchange / Early retirement / Immigrants / Alzheimer sufferers

V. Communication

Radio / The Press/ Photography / Basic skills in English

VI. Health

Healthy life styles / Cookery / Domestic Skills

Encouraging participation in volunteer services and social participation.

• Meaningful projects in line with individuals’ biographies.

• Project of use to the community.

Ways to promote this.

• Channeling towards the volunteer work of NGOs, Social Centres for the Elderly and other Organisations.

• Programme-specific projects:

Projects to recover nature walks / A cross-generational project “Asturian mining in the classroom” / The “Lives

that mark history” project / The “Radio-waves and social impact” project

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Presentation of the Programme on preretired persons in the Asturian coalmining: Decisive yesterday, essential today.


Programme Assessment: results for 2003-2005























In person














96 107 95

Duration of the course


Contents of the course
















By telephone



Teaching materials provided

Equipment of the classroom

Comfort and well-appointed facilities

Teacher's skills

Teacher's attitude

Degree of acquired knowledge

General satisfaction with the course

Overall appraisal of the course









2004 and 2005

Total numbers in volunteer projects: 286

NGOs and other organisations: 30

Social Centres for the Elderly: 50

Specific to the programme: 206


The programme provided new knowledge and skills which have led you to broaden your interests and see other alternative

ways in which to spend your leisure time

Not at all or very little To some extent Quite a lot or a lot Did not offer an opinion

5% 16% 78% 1%

The programme has made you feel more prepared and ready to undertake useful tasks and has made you feel more satisfied

with yourself

Not at all or very little To some extent Quite a lot or a lot Did not offer an opinion

9% 17% 73% 1%

The programme has helped you fill your leisure time in a more healthy way

Not at all or very little To some extent Quite a lot or a lot Did not offer an opinion

9% 22% 67% 2%

It has helped you to establish social relationships and stopped you from feeling alone

Not at all or very little To some extent Quite a lot or a lot Did not offer an opinion

5% 16% 78% 1%

It has helped your mood or mental state

Not at all or very little To some extent Quite a lot or a lot Did not offer an opinion

17% 24% 56% 3%

It has helped to improve your relationships with your spouse and family

Not at all or very little To some extent Quite a lot or a lot Did not offer an opinion

26% 23% 34% 17%

Active Pre-retirement is necessary and is the right programme to enhance the way people in the mining valleys adapt to

terminating their working lives

Do not or hardly agree Agree to some extent Quite agree Did not offer an opinion

4% 15% 79% 2%

Active Pre-retirement is a programme that is helping to improve society’s perception of people taking early retirement

Do not or hardly agree Agree to some extent Quite agree Did not offer an opinion

16% 19% 59% 6%

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Presentation of the Programme on preretired persons in the Asturian coalmining: Decisive yesterday, essential today.














Overall appraisal


Satisfaction concerning participation


Active ageing programmes are an effective strategy for preventing dependency and should be developed

throughout the life cycle.

Terminating your working life is a key moment at which to foster active, healthy life styles. This is

even more the case when a working life has terminated when the person is still young.

When pre-retirement cannot be avoided, it should not only include adequate financial conditions but

also the right preventive psychological and social support according to the different needs generated

by having to leave a working life.



Mr. Pedro Mira

What is SHARE?

SHARE: Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe

• A novel study, carried out on a European scale by a consortium of Universities and Research Institutions in order

to analyse a set of important questions relating to health, ageing and retirement.

• Financed by the European Commission and the NIA of the USA.

• A survey of the elderly over 50’s, and their partners.

• Interdisciplinary dimension: we would like to understand the relationship between the health of people and

their economic, financial and social circumstances.

• International dimension: the data will be comparable between European countries and the USA, through SHARE,


• Longitudinal dimension: ageing is a process. The current project has consisted of designing and testing a survey

prototype, but the objective is to interview the people every two years.

> 20 %

15-20 %

10-15 %

< 10 %


3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. The SHARE project and some preliminary descriptive results.


SHARE data

not yet available


The ageing process of the population in Europe is very notable.

• We increasingly live longer and we do so in better health conditions.

• Population ageing will be even greater in the coming 20 or 30 years.

Some questions



• What determines who enjoys good health in old age and who does not?

• When do people retire and how do they prepare for retirement? Do they have sufficient savings to cover their

needs during ageing?

• How do health, the degree of disability and the quality of life of people vary with age?

• How much do the elderly participate in the social and family life? To what extent are the most elderly people


The interview

• This consists of two parts:

– A CAPI questionnaire.

– A fill-in questionnaire (drop-off).


– Training of the interviewers: There is a common ‘Interviewer’s Manual’ and ‘specimen’ training sessions were

carried out (TTT) that were attended by representatives from all countries and field agencies.

– The sample is administered in a standardised way by means of a computing application: the CMS.

• The most elderly: proxy interviews.

• The interview is free-flowing and varied.

• The CAPI questionnaire lasts 60 - 80 minutes for those living alone, rather less than double that for couples,

although there are wide variations among countries and within them.

• Reply rates: 0.5 - 0.6

• In general, a very positive attitude by the interviewers and the interviewees.

• Greater difficulties in achieving cooperation: 50-65 years, cities, men.

The CAPI questionnaire

This is divided into 20 modules:

• CV: Frontispiece

• DN: Data (age, education, marital status, parents and brothers and sisters)

• CH: Children (year of birth, sex, place of residence, type of child, marital status, education, employment, frequency

of contact, grandchildren?)

• PH: Physical health (self-perception of health, illnesses, pains and functional limitations)

• BR: Risky behaviour (smoking, drinking, physical activity)

• WS: Walking Speed

• GS: Gripping Strength

• CF: Cognitive function (tests on memory, concentration, verbal and numerical agility)

• MH: Mental health (symptoms of depression: EURO-DEP scale)

• HC: Health care (visits to the doctor and hospital, treatment of arthritis and other pains, medical insurance

coverage and costs)

• EP: Employment and pensions (employment situation, hours worked, gross and net salary, characteristics of the

job(s), job satisfaction, characteristics of the last job -retired people-, pension rights and expected pension, pensions

and other transfers received)

• HH: Household Income (income from work, from capital, transfers, public and private)

• HO: Housing (characteristics of the housing, occupation system, estimated value, payments and capital outstanding

from mortgage, rental, value, and income generated from second home)

• CO: Consumption (food at home and outside the home, telephone, perishable assets and services)

• AS: Financial Assets and Goods (business, vehicles, separated financial assets, debt)

• SP: Social Support (help received from other people inside and outside the home, help given and care of grand


• FT: Financial transfers (gifts and loans given and received; inheritances)

• AC: Activities (dedication to voluntary work, courses, care for other people, religious or political organisations,


• EX: Expectations (inheritances, changes in pensions, health, survival, standard of living)

• IV: Module for the interviewer (age, sex and education, characteristics of the neighborhood at which the interview

took place and assessment of the same)

The fill-in (drop off)

• Questions are compiled that may be sensitive or that provide further information concerning a subject of particular


– Social and psychological well-being.

– Health care.

– Housing and environment.

– Religion and political affiliation.

• Duration: between 10 and 15 minutes.

• Broadening of sample (Autumn 2004): Alternative version with bullet points.


From January 2002 to May 2003: Setting out of questionnaire in English, pilots in the

United Kingdom and the United Stats, translation and programming of the CAPI for all

countries (LMU)

Pilot June 2003

[N=50, quota]

Pre-test January-February 2004

[N=100, random sample)

Main survey

May-Dec. 2004, N=1500+400

[N=1500+400, random sample]

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. The SHARE project and some preliminary descriptive results.


Data: November 2004 v.0, April 2005 v.1 (preliminaries)

v.1 for the scientific community: June 2005

Second wave: Autumn 2006, also in the Czech Republic and Poland!

Some results: Physical and mental health

• North-South Gradient in ‘objective’ measures of physical and mental health, that are compared with the relative

death and life expectancy rates.

– ‘Paradox’ similar to that already known for men and women: “Men die quicker, women are sicker” (source:

Mackenbach, Avendaño, Andersen and Aro).

• A negative correlation is observed between the current depressive state and wealth (in SE, DK, DE, NL). (source:

Dewey and Prince).

Some results: Employment and pensions (I)


• Large differences in the activity rate of men between 60 and 64 years old: the proportion of individuals that are

working varies between 4.1 % (FR) and 60.7 % (SE). (source: Brugiavini, Croda and Mariuzzo)

• Variability of the rights acquired in occupational pensions and pension funds (source: Brunner, Riess and


• Proportion of individuals that are working and are retired: between 0.7 % (FR) and 14.2 % (GR) (source:

Blanchet, Brugiavini and Rainato).

• Large differences are observed among countries in the proportion of individuals that receive disability insurance,

between 3 % (AT, GR) and 16 % (SE, DK). It does that these differences can be attributed to differences between

countries in the demographic structure and in the state of health (source: Borsch-Supan)

Some results: Income and wealth

• Notable differences between the gross average income of homes: the ratio of the richest country (CH) to the

poorest one (ES) is 5.8. Inequality is considerably reduced if we make an adjustment for PPP, if we include the

income allocated per dwelling in ownership, and if we calculate the net income from the gross income. The ratio

is then 2.6 (source: Weber and Paccagnella).

• The variability between average net income of homes is much less than the variability in financial wealth

(source: Christelis, Japelli and Padula).

Some results: The number of living children

• The number of living children in the surveys reflects significant geographical and historical differences in total

fertility throughout the life cycle. Among countries, the average number of natural living children varies

between 1.72 (DE) and 2.46 (ES). The ‘baby-boom’ of the 50’s and 60’s is reflected in the larger number of living

children of women aged between 60 and 75 years old.

• One of every four women over 80 years old does not have children alive.

• The negative correlation between education and fertility of women is confirmed, and a significant negative

correlation is observed between the number of living children and the physical and mental health indicators,

which does not disappear completely when we check in terms of education, age and country (source: Martínez-

Granado and Mira).





Mr. Peter Moore

Firstly let me explain briefly, for those not familiar with it, the role of the Committee of the Regions.

It came into being in 1994, primarily to represent the regions of Europe, although it was recognized that it should

represent the interests of all local governments throughout the EU. It compromises local politicians from each of

the 25 member States proportional to the population within the member State.

Our job, to put it simply, is to give our opinion on behalf of the local and regional authorities of Europe on proposed

legislation emanating from the European Commission or the European Parliament. So we are a consultative

body. We don’t have power. But we do have influence. So to come to the question: how can the Committee of the

Regions suppress discrimination on a basis of age? The answer is we can’t. We can influence the legislators, and

for example when I produced the opinion on Article 13, the antidiscrimination directive, I was told that the

European Parliament had been influenced by my opinion on behalf of Committee of the Regions.

We can’t suppress it. But where the Committee of the Regions can help in the fight against all types of discrimination

including age is by promoting the vote of local and regional government in combatting discrimination. And

it can help spread best practice and good examples from across the European Union. Local and regional authorities

are invariably the bodies that have to implement national and European legislation. We are major employers

and hugely important providers of goods and services.

Increasingly, the recipients of those services are older people. Increasingly, our workforce is going to include older

people. So we are well positioned to play a vital role in combatting age discrimination and enhancing the quality

of older people’s lives.

And I will give you just one example of how we are doing that from my own city of Sheffield. I have been an elected

councilor for 15 years in Sheffield, a city of half a million people, and for 3 years from 1999-2001 I was the

leader of the council, or mayor as it is more familiarly known in most of Europe.

During my rime as mayor I was very pleased to support an initiative from the UK government called “Better

Government for Older People”.

It is a scheme that has an objective of improving the lives of all older people. It attempts to do so by working with

the public sector to promote, encourage, inform, and ensure older people’s engagement and citizenship in all

aspects of service delivery.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. How can the Committee of Regions suppress discrimination on the basis of age? Proposals and solutions.


In support of this I encouraged the setting up of the Sheffield 50-plus group. This is a group in our city for which

the only qualification to join is that you must be aged 50 years or over.

Its primarily role is to be an integral part of the governance of the city and to monitor both the political decisionmaking

and the service delivery processes to ensure the voice of older people is heard by those whose decisions

impact directly on older people’s daily lives.



We have divided the city into electoral districts that match that of the city council and all members of the 50 plus

group can stand for election to our Elders’ Congress. The Congress is the governing body of the 50 plus group and

its job is to keep an eye on the decisions made by both politicians and bureaucrats. Unfortunately there is now

some resistance from some parts of the city council. Resistance in the sense that some within the council don’t

really believe in what I call “the customer-focused approach to service delivery”. By that I mean that when it comes

to the needs of older people those responsible for service delivery should see these people as valued customers,

recognizing that is they who pay not just for the services but the salaries of those who deliver them.

They should recognize when it comes to service planning and decision-making that it is older people themselves

in their role as consumers of services that often know as much and usually more about what services are needed

and where.

Everyone in government, local, regional, national or European knows about the ageing population in Europe. But

unfortunately they tend to see this as only a problem when they should see this as a solution to many of the difficulties

we all face in terms of the globalization of the world’s economy and the challenges that this brings.

Dr. Lloyd-Sherlock in his excellent paper makes similar points and decision-making at every level will do well to

reflect on this.

Above all I believe that the standing and role of older people in society needs to be enhanced. As Dr Sherlock states

“it is a misconception that older people, inevitably are unproductive, high consumers and represent a break on


Many of the opinions produced by members of Committee of the Regions make similar points.

As local politicians we are closer to the population than those at European or national level. We usually, if not

always, really do know what is happening to people in their everyday lives.

All of us, in the position of being policymakers or service providers need to change the way in which we view older

people. We must stop seeing older people’ s issues being only or mainly about health and social care. Don’t forget

that the fastest growing group of users of information technology including the Internet is the over 60’s. Don’t

forget that one of the fastest growing consumer markets for products associated with sports like snowboarding

and mountain biking is the over 50’s.

Don’t forget that lifelong learning means exactly that: lifelong

I have just come here from Brussels where I presented my opinion on non-discrimination and 2007: the European

Year of Equal Opportunities for all.

Among my proposals is the publication of a vademecum of best practice in combatting all forms of discrimination,

including age. When that vademecum is published, I expect it to be distributed widely by the Committee of the


And, perhaps some of you may like to contribute towards it with your examples of good practice.

But the most important thing is to ensure the European Council proceeds with the European Year of Equal

Opportunities for all and properly funds it. And my advice to anyone involved in combatting discrimination on the

grounds of age is to start to plan now for 2007.

To conclude

Local and regional governments have a vital role to play in the combating of age discrimination. Both as an employer

and as a service provider. The Committee of the Regions can be a very influential voice in pressing both the

European Commission and member States to adopt legislation and provide examples of good practice in the fight

against age discrimination.

Local politicians like me can ensure that all our policies and practices take into account the needs of older people

and see older people as a benefit to the local economy in the way in which Dr. Lloyd Sherlock outlines in his paper.

We can set examples like the one I did when I was mayor of Sheffield when we opened the first of our on-street

data web information and Internet sites. The man who was first to use it was the oldest citizen of Sheffield aged


And we, older people, can play our part in our role as citizens. We can lobby and influence the politicians and campaign

for better services for older people. But above all, we can show by example how valuable we all are to society

by being more positive about ourselves and the world we live in.

Nothing irritates me more than some older person saying how awful things are today and how much better it was

when they were young.

Nonsense, I say!

So finally let me say: yes the future really is grey! But there’ s no reason why it can’t also be bright!

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. How can the Committee of Regions suppress discrimination on the basis of age? Proposals and solutions.




Mrs. Angela Haynes

Older Citizen Monitoring (OCM) programmes

• Set up in 2002 to support older people to monitor access to and delivery of services in different countries:

Bangladesh, Tanzania, Bolivia, Kenya, Jamaica, Ethiopia.

• Focus on Older People’s Associations, community groups, development projects; includes demographic mapping,

information on policy and rights.


• To support older people to monitor government and local authority fulfillment of commitments made within


• To increase older people’s participation in data gathering, advocacy networks, and dialogue with the authorities

around issues of rights and access to basic services.

HAI OCM Core Principles

• Consultations and participatory mapping with older people.

• Older people develop indicators, collect and document evidence to support advocacy and policy engagement.

• Older people engage with policy makers.

• Collaborative work with a range of stakeholders —NGOs government, research institutions, UN agencies.

• Strengthen Older People’s Organisations (OPAs) to develop tools and approaches for advocacy.

Consultations and participatory mapping with older people

Consultations look at variants of gender, ethnicity, local context.

Core issues identified

• Access problems to health, income, water, identity papers.

• Property rights —especially widows.

• Care responsibilities for young children.

• Impact of HIV/AIDS.

• Attitudes of officials and service providers.

• Denial of rights.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Older people’s participation from an international perspective.


Older people develop indicators

Access to drugs and health care

• Cost of consultations including transport.

• Waiting time.

• Time and cost of papers to prove entitlements.

• Suitability of medication.

• Cost of treatment.

Poverty transfers - including income, health and other subsidies



• Entitlement criteria —eligibility and coverage.

• Knowledge of criteria and entitlements.

• National budget allocations for programmes.

• Tracking of local budgets relating to national agreements.

• Delivery mechanisms.

Engagement with policy makers

• Older people’s participation in policy networks and support for regional consultations.

• Research undertaken and data produced by older people.

• Advocacy targeted at national government and local authorities.

• Collaboration on implementation nationally and locally pilot projects.

• Older people’s groups presenting findings to local officials and budget holders.

Collaborative work with a range of stakeholders

• INGOs: WaterAid, Save the Children, Care International, Caritas.

• Coalitions; focussing on intergenerational issues, rights, HIV/AIDS, gender.

• Local networks.

• Donors, local authorities and national government.

Programmes that strengthen OPAs


• Bolivia: older women leading media campaigns in Sucre on health issues.

• Kenya: older people have information and demand consultations with MPs on older people’s rights in constitutional



• Bangladesh: older people are an organised and vocal lobby group able to gain concessions on local budgets.

• Moldova: self help programmes recognised in PRSP budget allocations.

• Tanzania: transfers to older people included in PRSP/MKUKUTA.

Overall achievements of OCM

Older people improved access to services and entitlements

• Improved older people involvement in advocacy and national policy.

• Information gathering by older people gives ownership and credibility, builds their confidence and capacity to

demand rights.

• Project outputs provide resources and tools.

• Monitoring makes older people visible.

• Better quality services.

OCM sustainability

• Motivation of older people to continue the work.

• Older people’s capacity built.

– HAI includes approach in other projects.

– OCM tools to use with older people and partners.

– Empowerment of older people.

– Older people now recognised as voice.


• Empowerment entailed working with government authorities, especially at local level.

• Need to build alliances with local civil society and local elites in addition to local government.

• OP need to be involved both in the data collection and in the advocacy work following this.

• OP monitoring helps authorities to do job better.


• Processes take a long time and are labour and resource intensive.

• Political changes and local environments affect progress.

• International organisations, including HAI, required to act as facilitator or broker.

• Negative stereotypes and assumptions persist about affordable (and desirable) percentage of spending on old


• Poverty data at national and international level still not disaggregated by age.

Some conclusions

• Older people have a right to be included in policy formulation and have concrete ideas and resources to offer.

• Progress on MIPAA and national policies needs to be measured and verified by older people, in ways that reflect

their diversity and contributions.

• Important to invest time and resources to support connections and dialogue between older people and their

organisations, and government and other stakeholders in policy processes.

• The participation of older people and their associations should be positively encouraged as a core element of

MIPAA implementation policy.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Older people’s participation from an international perspective.



Conclusions of working group 3


Mr. Antonio Martínez Maroto,

General Subdirection of Planning and Evaluation, IMSERSO





Reper: Mr. Antonio Martínez Maroto

1. The EURAG experience, presented by Mrs. Gertraud Dayé

The principal element that must accompany any good practice to be highlighted in this experience is the participation

of the elderly in the planning and design of the social policies that are going to be applied to them.

This idea has been more or less present in all of the experiences listed, and some questions have been received in

this respect from the auditorium even on those experiences that they have not particularly emphasised.

EURAG [European Federation of Older Persons], as a reflection of civic society, considers that they have made their

presence felt and their voice has been heard through the large NGOs, although this is not a practice that is generalised

in the European Union. It hence seems advisable to stress another appropriate conclusion, that even nowadays

it is not completely assumed that the NGOs for the elderly have to participate actively in the design

of social polices that affect the elderly.

EURAG considers that, in line with its experience on the Council of Europe and on the different Commissions, and

in spite of having an eminently consultative function, they have a notable degree of influence that means their

voice is taken into account.

On the basis of this, and within the context of what a good experience at the level of influence in Europe means,

they are asked for projects that have to do with meeting the goals set for the developing of policies for

the elderly. In addition to these projects, EURAG offers ideas, supports proposals, participates in the setting

of certain criteria, encourages participation in groups and there is a long list that leads them to value

their contribution as being important and significant. They are not merely listened to, but proposals are accepted

from them and they are entrusted with projects. This is used as a vehicle for the opinion of the elderly in the

institutional ratification of their opinions.

It should lastly be stressed that if it becomes formalised, the approval of the European Constitution will provide

a more privileged place for the possibility of the voice of the NGOs in general, and hence those that

represent the interests of the elderly, to be heard and taken into account.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Conclusions.


2. Active Early Retirement: “Workers taking early retirement in Asturian mining”

(Decisive yesterday, indispensable today)

Early retirement is a reality that greatly affects the Principality of Asturias and, in a particular way, its mining counties.

The first early retirements took place at the start of the 90’s and they continued successively occurring, spanning

different sectors: mining, metallurgy, the naval industry and banking, fundamentally.



The Active Early Retirement Plan was born in this context. This is a programme framed within the Complementary

Plan for the Re-activation of the Mining Counties, and is the result of the consensus between the Government of

the Principality of Asturias and the SOMA-FIA-UGT mining trades unions, and the CC.OO. Mining-Metallurgical

Federation. This was designed with the fundamental goal of contributing greater knowledge about this phenomenon

and, on the basis of this, developing actions capable of promoting skills in people who take early retirement

and in their environment that benefit them in their new situation, at the same time as channelling their experience

and time to assist the community.

Active Early Retirement was designed in a comprehensive and integrated manner. The programme covers four complementary

areas for action, from which diverse measures have been developed in a sequenced manner (period

2002-2005): a) Increasing knowledge of the phenomenon of early retirement and social awareness; b) Orientation

and advice for people taking early retirement and their families; c) Training for people taking early retirement and

their partners, and d) Promotion of volunteer and social participation projects.

The annual budget for the programme is set at around 250,000 euros. Some 1,600 people have taken part in the

programme in these years, of which 300 are assisting with and carrying out volunteer projects, amongst which we

can highlight the following: a) Schemes for repairing natural routes, where people taking early retirement, along

with their resident associations and adults with intellectual disabilities carry out tasks of cleaning, clearing and setting

up signs on natural routes that are subsequently certified by the mountaineering federation; b) the intergenerational

exchange project, “Asturias Mining in the Classrooms”, where groups of people who have taken early

retirement work together with public education centres (primary, secondary and university-entrance level education)

to complement the history classes related to mining, contributing their experience and putting emphasis on

the conveying of values to the younger generations; c) the “Social Waves to Date” scheme, consisting of radio broadcasts

guided by people who have taken early retirement where topics of social content are tackled, and d) the

“Lives that Make History” project, where people who have taken early retirement collect together life stories of significant

elderly people with the aim of showing their value and offering diverse and positive models about ageing

in the community.


A discussion arose in the debate about whether it would not be more suitable to re-integrate those who take early

retirement back into employment, in other job occupations, rather than the strategy of training and volunteer work.

The spokesperson, sharing the appropriateness of the view of not setting a compulsory age for stopping work, and

supporting the idea of respect for individual preferences, stated that when it comes to analysing and interpreting

these, we should not close ourselves off to the type of work. In the case of mining, most of the jobs are hard, dangerous

and unhealthy, and as a consequence of that, early retirement is considered to be a significant social achievement

on the part of the workers. On the other hand, the re-location of the group, as well as being unwanted, is

not easy (problems of health, very specialised work, unemployment, etc.).

The spokesperson also made a reflection about the current ergo-centric conceptualisation of the world, where work

carries excessive weight. In her opinion, it is necessary to make progress in relativizing the significance of this, and

showing the value of other forms of contribution to society and personal development.

3. SHARE Project

The essential part of the SHARE project, which we have all heard spoken of, is none other than a survey on health,

ageing and retirement, which is carried out on people over the age of fifty and their spouses or partners.

The aim of this is to provide data for research that is also used to help plan social policies that are better adapted

to social reality.

It is a project with a multi-disciplinary focus, of an international nature, in which eleven countries are taking

part, as well as the USA and the United Kingdom being present. It has a longitudinal methodology, being repeated

every two years, to watch the evolution of the main variables.

The questionnaire has sections on demography, health, health care, employment, earnings, residences, consumption,

social support and some other factors.

It has been carried out directly in over 20,000 homes. These are very reliable surveys that take a long time —no less

than one and a half hours— and with quite a lot of data now available from the first round, it will be repeated every

two years.

There are some very interesting pieces of data and it has been brought here as being an experience worth mentioning

and one which can be repeated in other regions. It provides very specific knowledge about pensions, employment

or work rates, health, gender perspectives, etc. The data are available on a web site which can be identified

from the documentation facilitated by the organisation.

4. Committee of the Regions

Experience: The Committee of the Regions eliminates discrimination situations.

The Committee of the Regions was founded in 1994 to make the opinion of the Regions of Europe ostensible.

It is consultative in nature and, as such, it does not have power, but it does have influence.

They start from the basis that it is the regions that are closest to the citizen and we best know about their characteristics

and demands.

Within this context, the spokesperson set out the experience of Sheffield, in England, for us, where work is done

with the so-called “50 and over group”. This experience seeks to facilitate that the local citizen can easily get his

opinions to reach the local elected politicians, who will attempt to provide them with some kind of answer or solution.

This was reported, in a generic way, at the Committee of the Regions, so that those who decree the rules can

understand how this is perceived of by the citizens that have to abide by them.

In specific terms, a proposal has been made for a type of vademecum against all forms of discrimination for the

year 2007, which will be the year “against discrimination”.

Local and regional governments are very influential on the European commission and they can keep watch over

the rights of the elderly and facilitate more complete and suitable service networks.

The differentiating line of fifty and over has been questioned, as being contrary to what has come to be called the

ageing process, which would be framed aside from the issue or without regard to age. But it is still true that these

dividing lines have not yet been overcome, they remain in effect and it follows from this that this experience makes

reference to this age level, although it could well have been called the sixty and over group.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Conclusions.


5. HELPAGE Experience

“Participation of the elderly in international programmes”.

“Helpage International” is a network of organisations of the elderly who work on subjects of ageing and

development. It has its headquarters in London and is established all over the world.

The aim of this programme is to have an effect on all of the problems of the elderly, especially in those less-developed


The experience began from the II World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid and its goal is set down as being to reinforce

the participation of the elderly in subjects that affect them, directly and without intermediaries. This

is based on the idea that the elderly should deal with their issues, their achievements, their needs and demands by

themselves without intermediaries and should directly monitor the policies that affect them.



They deal with issues such as health, income, water, widows’ rights, caring for small children, the impact of HIV,

the denial of rights, etc.

The following are involved in the current experience: Tanzania, Bolivia, Kenya, Jamaica and Ethiopia.

It has been observed that the elderly groups are being heard, and in some countries especially well attended to. The

experience of Bangladesh is described, where the elderly are a pressure group that is listened to at the State level,

and is organised and financed with budgets from the public authorities. On the other hand, in Bolivia, elderly

women are being heard, listened to and attended to on public health topics, at levels that were unthought-of previously.

The experience will continue in other countries and its web page can also be consulted for more complete information.

6. The National Plan of Action for Inclusion. Spain

This Plan, set underway by the government of Spain, is a response to the European strategy for providing for social


It seeks to fight against poverty and social exclusion and to assist social cohesion.

Despite the strong growth rate of the GDP and employment rates in Spain and in many other countries, it has been

observed that there continue to be significant pockets of poverty in the same proportion as some years ago, which

affect a number of citizens that is in no way abject. Being older and being a woman constitute an added factor of


The elderly are poorer than the young and the middle-aged and, amongst the elderly themselves, women are also

poorer than men.

In these countries and specifically in Spain, the welfare State functions as a corrector in these situations, by means

of the increase in social services, of a rise in pensions, above all those of a small sum, or though the coming

Dependency Act. But in spite of all this, the pockets of poverty and marginalisation continue existing in the same

proportions. This is why, in order to avoid this, and for the purpose of generalised social inclusion, this Social

Inclusion Plan has been made operational. It has already made some achievements in different European countries

and specifically in Spain, and quite a lot is expected of it in the coming years.

This experience or State action programme has many other elements that could not be enlarged upon, and as with

the previous references, we refer you to the web site that you have been given.

7. Other topics

When the different reports were finished, some topics were highlighted as being relevant for them not to be overlooked

at present and especially in the near future. Here we simply suggest concepts and lines of work to be taken

into account, because they were simply mentioned without any other general consideration.

Amongst others:

• The need to have data updated about all elderly people in all countries of the world. There is practically nothing

in some places.

• An in-depth analysis of chronic poverty in certain parts of the planet.

• A study on sexuality and the elderly, with special commitment to HIV amongst the elderly.

• A detailed analysis of the importance of the education of the generations in values that do not exclude the

elderly and that take account of the dignity and the general importance of older citizens.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 3. Conclusions.



Workshop 4

“What is it to be understood under solidarity and

how does it take place in the relationships among

younger generations and the older persons?”


Mr. Juan Díez-Nicolás, Complutense University of Madrid


Mrs. Rocío Fernández Ballesteros, Autónoma University of Madrid

Mr. Francisco Alonso, REPER Brussels, Representative of the European Youth Forum

Mrs. Teresa Bazo, Proyecto Oasis en España

Mrs. M. Luisa Marrugat, MERI Project

Mrs. Helen Hamlin, I.F.A.

Mr. Jesús Vizcaíno, SECOT


Mrs. R. Fernández-Ballesteros


1. Intergenerational solidarity:

• Intergenerational relationships.

• Family relationships.

2. Well-being:

• Well-being empirical definition.

• Subjective well-being, life satisfaction and quality of life.

3. Promoting well-being through life span.

1. Solidarity

Etymology (Latin): “In solidum” or “Right or moral obligation in solidum”.

Concept: “Situational adherence or support to others enterprises” or “Human joint efforts to a common goal or

outcomes” (Encylopedia Espasa).

Solidarism (Economy, Law): Responsibility when several “people get into debt”.

Solidarism: brief history

• Saint Paul: Society as a body.

• Marc Aurelius: People in a given group are similar to body organs.

• Sociological systems.

– Durheim.

– Bourgeois.

• Political perspective:

– Socialism (Pierre Leroux): charity versus solidarism.

– Social christianism: Saint Paul heritage.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Life span and solidarity: Promoting Well-being.


“Solidarity” is not a scientific field

• Medline 1970-05= 27 references.

• Psyclit 1979-05= 192 references.

Intergenerational solidarity: two meanings

At the level of society:

• Generations interchanges:

– Interchanges of goods between generations in a given society e.g.: a generation paid unemployment and

received pensions.

– Problematic issues.

• Social values about social/moral wealth distribution.



At individual/family level:

• Changes in structure of households:

– Family intergenerational relationships:

• Instrumental.

• Emotional.

– “Pro-social” behavioural pattern.


FROM 1970 THROUGH 2005









1970-79 1980-89 1990-94 1995-99 2000-05



Antonucci et al. Special “Social Issues” in Well-being and Interpersonal relationships from an international perspective.

“A central theme of gerontological research and policy around the world has been the recognition of

the role that informal relationships, such as family and friendship interactions, play in promoting and

mantaining the health and well-being of the older persons”.

(Social Issues, 58 (4), p. 621)


(Carstensen, 1992)












17 years 30 years 40 years 50 years






(Carstensen, 1992)



















30 years 40 years 50 years






(Fernández-Ballesteros, et al., 1992, Fernández-Ballesteros & Díez -Nicolás, 2005)













* *



3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Life span and solidarity: Promoting Well-being.

Health impairment


Memory impairment

Cannot learn


Low activity

Less responsibility

Few friends

Few sex interest

Retirement cause problems

Poor problem solving

They are as children

Less interests

More deficits

Bad humour

Physical exercise is bad

Poor work

They are senile


* Significant differences, p < .05


Caring other adults


House or car repairing

Taking care of clothes

Meal preparation


2 4 6 8 10 12 14


Fuente: Encuesta de Condiciones de vida de las personas mayores en España. IMSERSO, 2004



With his/her husband/wife

With his/her husband/wife and children

With a family member of the same generation

With a family member of another generation

0 10 20 30





Rotating family member

In a Nursing home

With paid care

With his/her mother

With a friend

D/K, D/A

(Smith et al., 1999)








Recipients of help




70-74 75-79 80-84 85-89 90-94 95+

Exchange of support

• The great majority of old people receive help or they help others.

• The proportion of old people who receive emotional or instrumental help increase with age.

• Percentage of relationships in which old people help others decrease sharply when the younger and older

groups are compared.

2. Well-being: Problems of conceptualization and measurement

• Multiplicity of concept and measurement.

• Weak relationships between objective and subjective well-being measures.

• Five conceptual perspectives:

– External conditions (e.g.: income, housing, etc.).

– Subjective well-being (SWB): cognitive and emotional appraisal (e.g.: self report of happiness, satisfaction,


– Stable (personality) characteristic (e.g.: optimism/pessimism)

– Emotional state (e.g.: anger, joy).

– Biochemical, neural bases of behaviour/mood.

Well-being and related concepts

• Satisfaction or life satisfaction:

– Reference to the past: evaluative concept referred to subject’s appraisal of his/her life.

• Happiness:

– Emotional state: hedonic subjective concept.

• Quality of life:

– Multidimensional concept in which well-being or life satisfaction is a subjective component.

• Successful ageing:

– Well-being (and quality of life) is the outcome of successful ageing.












(Diener & Suh, 1999)

20 30 40 50 60 70 80

% Married



3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Life span and solidarity: Promoting Well-being.



(Mroczek & Kolarz, 1998)






Very happy

Quite happy

Not very happy

















18-27 28-37 38-47 48-57 58-67 68-77 78-89

Spain, 2000 (N=242)


(Inglehart, 2005)

Tanzania, 2001 (N=658)


(Berlin study, Smith et al, 1999)


variables: age, gender,

marital status

Objective life conditions: number of

illness, vision, hearing, financial

situation, number of relatives, social


Not at all happy

Not very happy

Quite happy

Very happy


Subjective appraisal of

objective conditions



(Fernández-Ballesteros & Zamarrón, 2001)

Community sample N=500




χ 2 = 52,6; 46 gl; p=.232







.91 .83













.66 Activity























Quality of Life on the elderly: Research Project financed by IMSERSO (1992-1993)

People living in residences

Sample N=500




otros resi










(Fernández-Ballesteros & Zamarrón, 2001)










Subjetive health








Quality of Life on the elderly: Research Project financed by IMSERSO (1992-1993)

χ 2 = 42,2; 36 gl; p=.220






3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Life span and solidarity: Promoting Well-being.



(Fernández-Ballesteros et al. 2005)


,59 ,83 ,53 ,61 ,59

Flexibility Fitness Sub_health Strength Endurance


,91 ,73 ,35



















Internal Control




Education_I ,86 ,15 ,18






Income ,47 ECONOMIC










,90 ,11


Years -,78 ILLNESS ,29 Chronic_prob


-,22 ,90 Health_prob


,46 ,76

Tobpday Phy_activity Cc_alcohol




3. Promoting well-being: population and individual strategies

From an individual perspective: factors to be promoted for improving well-being in old age.

• Lifestyles.

• Physical fitness.

• Psychological functioning.

• Cognition.

– Affect and personality.

– Social functioning and participation.


(Fernández-Ballesteros, 2003)











GFI = .903

RMSEA = ,06

CMIN/DF = 2.82

AGFI = .88









Vivir con Vitalidad®” In vivo Course

• Sponsored by:

– The Autonoma University of Madrid and


• From 1996.

• 8 editions.

• Basic text: Vivir con Vitalidad (2002) Ed. Pirámide, Madrid

Vital Ageing® Multimedia Course

• Duration:

– 50 hours.

– 20 units.


– Lecture transcription, exercises, tests, etc.

• E-mail tutorial work

• 3 experimental editions:

– residence

– in the community.





Change Measures Residence Community Control Multimedia In vivo Control

Activities x x x x

Perception ageing x x x x

Physical exercise x x x

Diet x x x

Health status


Relationships frequency


Life satisfaction x x x

• Solidarity or intergenerational solidarity means in scientific terms intergenerational relationships:

– Elders are care providers as well as care-takers.

– The proportion of old people who receive emotional or instrumental help increase with age.

– Percentage of relationships in which old people help others decrease sharply when the younger and older

groups are compared.

• Much more attention should be paid to the empirical definition of well-being and related concepts.

– While well-being is stable across life intergenerational and social relationships change across life.

– Subjective appraisal of objective conditions of well-being are more related with well-being than objective


• The promotion of well-being.

• Well-being can be promoted through population and individual strategies.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Life span and solidarity: Promoting Well-being.



Mr. Francisco Alonso Soto




As part of the International Seminar organised by the IMSERSO last November, as a follow-up to the United Nations

Second World Assembly on the AGEING OF THE POPULATION, Professor Francisco Alonso made a speech on: “The

contribution of young people to the intergenerational discourse”. We asked Professor Alonso the following questions:

What was your main message?

First of all, I would like to clarify that I am not a professor at the moment. I was professor of “Labour Law” in the

Spanish Distance-Learning University for more than 15 years, but that was some time ago now, a further 15 years

ago. I participated in this Seminar as Councillor of Labour and Social Affairs in Spain's Permanent Representation

to the European Union. In other words, I'm a civil servant in the Ministry of Labour, stationed in Brussels, and I specialise

in youth affairs, because I am in charge of preparing the Council of Youth Ministers. I did this work before,

during the Spanish Presidency in 2002 and I continue to do so. That is why I asked for my speech to focus on

“young people, but from the perspective of the European Union.

In any case, what contribution did you make in your speech?

I proposed to the organisers a three-part scheme: first of all, youth policy in the European Union, as a basic introduction

and explanation of the situation, aimed at highlighting, among other facts, the following:

• The European Union is still barely SOCIAL.

• Its youth policy is virtually non-existent.

• The Treaty only allows for the “mobility of young people”.

• The Youth Programme is/has been up to now only concentrated on support for this mobility

• Now this has changed and it includes more initiatives: volunteer work…

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Young people and intergenerational solidarity.


The truth is that in the European community and in the European Union, a lot of things are done FOR YOUNG

PEOPLE and TO BENEFIT YOUNG PEOPLE in the areas of employment, education, vocational training, health and

safety at work, social inclusion, combating domestic violence against women, children and young people... but


What do you mean by community youth policy?

I'm thinking of the Agricultural Policy, the Transport Policy or the Economic Policy, or the Social Policy, which contain

a series of measures of all types that organise the harmonisation and cooperation of the policies of Member

States. The youth policies are still on a national basis, or even, in our country, at Autonomous Community level.

There are no community-level competencies. However, this is starting to change in the wake of the Commission's

White Paper on Youth, which makes suggestions on how to make progress in fields other than the mobility of our

young people.



This proposal at the end of 2001 was welcomed by the Spanish Presidency, which managed to achieve unanimous

approval at the Council of Youth Ministers for a Resolution by which the open coordination method has started to

be applied since 2002 to four priority issues indicated in the White Paper: information for young people; participation;

volunteer work and knowledge of youth; as well as the presence of the youth factor in all community policies.

In other words, since then, the Member States have been coordinating their policies as regards these priorities

and must prepare national measures that comply with common objectives, presented by the Commission and

approved by the Council.

And it was in this new phase that the European Pact for Youth arrived in October 2004, accepted by the European

Council of Spring 2005..

What is the European Pact and what does it represent?

The European Pact for Youth was an initiative of four countries, including Spain, led by France and accompanied

by Germany and Sweden. It was an idea of President Chirac on building a youth policy; addressing the issue of the

ageing of our populations and getting young people interested in Europe. The Pact was well received by the

European Council in November 2004 and then accepted by the European Summit in Spring 2005, when it was

incorporated into the relaunch of the Lisbon strategy, as part of the proposal for “more dynamic demography”,

which actually means greater growth of the population or active ageing, because demography as a science is like

meteorology - it cannot be favourable, or adverse, or dynamic or static, no matter what the TV presenters may


However, the important thing is that the Pact meant that steps were taken towards improving solidarity between

the generations - small steps, but steps forward nonetheless.

The real problem is that the European Pact has become somewhat “watered-down” and vague and that is why the

new Austrian Presidency, along with Germany, wishes to relaunch it, and rightly so.

Why is the Pact said to have become “watered-down”?

This is a personal, and probably a questionable impression. The Pact has not generated an individual strategy or an

individual proposal; it has joined other strategies: employment, social inclusion, the Youth programme (2007-

2013), the Social Agenda (2005-2010)… and there is no visibility or transparency of the specific initiatives for young

people and for solidarity between generations. Moreover, there are elements of the Pact that have not been addressed

due to a lack of community competencies or other difficulties. It should not be forgotten that the Commission

was a little reticent towards the Pact, first of all, because it wasn't a Commission initiative and secondly, because

the terminology of the Pact was confusing (Pact between whom? For what? How?). The Commission was right in

some aspects, but in the end, it accepted the possibilities of an initiative in this field and joined the proposal, so

that is not the problem. The problem is the specifics of it…

And intergenerational solidarity is suffering from all of this…

Yes, of course, for the most part. However, in the second half of my speech, which I did not quote yet and almost

left out, I went on to talk about everything that the European Union wishes to do and has been doing in recent


First of all, the relaunch of the Lisbon strategy with the Commission's Communication of 08.02.2005 under the

title: “Working together for growth and employment”. A guidance document for the initiative that anticipates integrated

guidelines and deals with creating more employment and better quality employment, with special reference

to young people; addressing the problem of the growth and ageing of the population, and listing measures to

be taken on employment-related matters.

Then there's the Social Agenda (2005-2013) which states in item 1.3 that one of the conditions for success is the

intergenerational focus, with reference to opportunities for young people and a special mention for the “European

youth initiative” (the Pact) and the commitment of all social interlocutors for the “intergenerational association”

which has not yet been specified, but is part of the Commission's Programme for Action.

We must also add the aforementioned European Summit in Spring, with its conclusions 30, 32 and 37, which refer

to the following:

• Increase in employment rates (30).

• Prolonging active life (30).

• Reform of the social protection systems (30).

• Active employment policies (32).

• Economic advantages of work (32).

• Conciliation between professional life and family life (32).

• Equality and non-discrimination (32).

• Active ageing (32).

• More dynamic demography (37).

• Leveraging human potential (37).

• Attention to European young people (37).

This has led to the Integrated Economic and Social Directives that were passed on 28.07.2005 (especially 2, 17, 18

and 19, which affect solidarity between generations).

The Directives have in turn been applied in each Member State in the National Reform Programmes, which were

presented in the month of October 2005, with all of the measures that were negotiated and agreed upon with the

social interlocutors and regional authorities that make up the National Programme for Action.

In short, there are important initiatives underway at European level - and that is not all, because the Commission

is also announcing further measures.

What do you mean by further measures?

Well, I haven't mentioned it yet and maybe I should have started with it to begin with. I'm referring to the

Commission's Green Paper on “Solidarity between generations”, dated 23.03.2005. This is a Commission Communication

that opens up a debate and poses questions to civil society. The deadline for answers was 01.09.2005, but

it was extended until mid-October. The issue was the new solidarity between generations and although it is basically

concerned with posing questions, there are also guidelines towards answers and three essential priorities have

been announced; to recover demographic growth; to safeguard the balance between the generations and invent

new transitions between the ages. The document also talks about what solidarity between the generations implies:

generations of more integrated young people, a global approach to the life cycle, a new place for the elderly; and

solidarity with old people.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Young people and intergenerational solidarity.


At the Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers of 8th December, a debate was held on the subject

“Demography and Human Capital”. Commissioner Spidla provided a general summary of the contributions of the

Member States and announced a Commission Communication to include the answers to the Green Paper, the suggestions

made by the Ministers and the questions submitted to the Commission, which shall be presented to the

Spring Summit.

We ourselves suggested that the conclusions of this Seminar should be sent to the Commission in case they might

be of use, although the deadlines have been passed, but the Communication is still at the preparatory stages.

According to this, what are your conclusions?

In my speech, I highlighted the fact that solidarity between the generations is absolutely necessary. As

Commissioner Spidla said at the Council of Ministers, echoing the feelings of all of the Member States, demographic

growth is a general problem in Europe and solutions must be sought at national and European levels. The problem

is that the European Union does not have competencies in this matter and an intervention that could perhaps

be based on the application of the open coordination method must be forced.



This would mean that after a report on the situation from the Commission regarding the demographic problem

and following the conclusions of the European Summit, the Commission could present some common objectives

for the States that, once approved by the Council of Employment and Social Policy would have to be deployed at

national level. All of this could be outlined in the Commission Communication that we are expecting, but the

Commission does not seem to be very enthusiastic as regards social affairs.

Moreover, we have to consider the difficulty of articulating and materialising this intergenerational solidarity,

which is to a certain extent outlined in the Green Paper I mentioned before.

From our point of view, “solidarity between generations" should be part of the European social model, as one of

the characteristic elements of the common heritage of the Member States.

Could you elaborate a bit more on the European social model?

It was in the final part of my speech that I made some predictions as regards the future. Nowadays, when the existence

of a social model is being questioned and when it is claimed that there is no such thing as the European

social model, but that there are different models depending on the countries, it is necessary to explain that although

there may be different models of society in the European Union, there is a European social model defined

by the European Summits in Lisbon, Nice and Barcelona, among others, and by the Social Agendas issued in the

year 2000 and the year 2005.

This European social model is characterised by five fundamental or essential elements, i.e.:

• High level of employment.

• High level of social protection.

• Social dialogue and participation.

• Male-female equality and non-discrimination.

• State interventionism in social affairs.

Obviously, there are also other important elements in the social model, such as:

• Education and professional training for all.

• Social cohesion policies.

• Democratic system of industrial relations.

• Compliance with community documents.

• Corporate social responsibility, as something that is at the initial stages.

Having said that, the solidarity between generations with a view to addressing the problem of the ageing population

could be another of the elements in this European social model, if this announced policy on promoting solidarity

between young and old is confirmed. It is currently at the embryonic stage and needs to be developed with

facts and instruments.

This is a utopical hope in the European Union and in the Member States, but we already know that the utopias

never fail, because what fails is reality.



Mrs. María Teresa Bazo

Old Age and Autonomy. The Role of Social Services System and Intergenerational Family Solidarity (OASIS)

Participant countries: Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Israel.

Sampling: 6000 people from 25 years of age onwards (1200 in each country).

A transnational focus is used, but also a transgenerational one.

Main objective: studying the impact of the different personal, family and social variables on the autonomy and

retarded dependence of elderly people in different countries, thus promoting quality of life.

The research focuses on three core issues that not only influence the enjoyment of a healthy aging process but

also in how family caregivers face the issue:

1. Combination of informal care (family) and formal care (social services system) in the different welfare States.

2. Intergenerational exchanges and rules.

3. How the family faces the issue when dependence commences.

The main motivation that encouraged the international team to present the project to the European call at the 5th

Framework Programme was the interest in knowing and foreseeing in the near future how population ageing

influences changes in care policies and models that are being implemented in contemporary societies, along

with changes in demands, values and people’s preferences.

There is a growing social consideration that the suitable provision of social and health services to elderly people is

a personal right, and societies and welfare states have responded to such changes in the needs of elderly people

and their families by means of the development of community and institutional care services.

Two core targets:

1. Analysing the interaction of family care and services in providing help and care.

2. Studying the variations in family standards and the exchanges between generations in the five countries.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Old Age and Autonomy: the Role of Social Services System and Intergenerational Solidarity.




Services Family Family Family Services

Family Other Services Other Other

Other Services Other Services Family



Family Family Family Family Family

Services Other Other Services Services

Other Services Services Other Other



Conclusions on support for independence

Preferred equilibrium between family and services:

• More help by the family than by the social services, although the balance is different in the five countries.

Complementarity or substitution:

• Public social services do not erode family solidarity, but change the way it is expressed.

• A certain trend to substitute family and services is observed, but it is foremost a complimentarity between both

and particularly in the form of family specialisation.

Conclusions on how the family behaviour patterns and standards vary

• Family patterns are still deeply ingrained, but the support expressed for family responsibility is neither absolute

nor unconditional. Both factors vary from one country to another.

• Understanding family obligations does not necessarily mean that the family is seen as the “natural” care provider

source. A demand for public responsibility is observed.

• Although all prefer a certain form of partnership, Norwegians and Israelis, and even the Spanish to a certain

extent, grant the State the core role supported by the family. In Great Britain and Germany there is a tendency

to consider both institutions more evenly.

Conclusions about the ideal practices for intergenerational care

• Intergenerational family solidarity is ingrained in all five countries.

• In Spain, more elderly people cohabitate with their sons and daughters.

• The type of assistance provided mostly to people of 75 and over refers to the emotional factor, and not so much

to economic help or personal care.


• Need to implement policies that give more power to elderly people.

• Need to detect groups of elderly people at risk of dependence.

• Elderly people seem to prefer to turn to the social services help rather than troubling their family.

• Implementation of policies that promote intergenerational relations.

• Recognising the family’s central role and need for its support and strengthening.

• Need for a good network of community services and infrastructures to contribute towards quality of life.

• Need to introduce a wider variety of care options.

• General prevention policy throughout the life cycle.


Mrs. María Luisa Marrugat


The growing number of women aged 50 years and over in the European population constitutes a very heterogeneous

category of people, ranging from women that are still active in the work market to very elderly women in

different situations and with different needs, observable on a daily basis. However, there is a scarcity of scientific

knowledge on their living conditions and they do not appear as an independent object in research studies or

official statistics.

This fact was made clear at the European conference on “Equal opportunities for older women in politics and

society” 2 which was held in Brussels in 2001. As a result of this conference, the MERI 3 : “Mapping existing research

and identifying knowledge gaps concerning the situation of older women in Europe” was carried out, with the aim

of promoting study, increasing the empirical bases for the work of NGOs, government and researchers and making

society more aware of the needs and experiences of women aged 50 years and over. This investigation involved 12

European countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, United

Kingdom and Sweden. It was financed by the European Commission.


In the context of this project, researchers from the 12 participating countries gathered and analysed information

on the studies published between 1993 and 2002 and the latest available statistics. Then the research group carried

out a mapping or localisation exercise in order to identify the gaps existing in the research panorama. The analysis

of the studies, complete with the findings from the statistical sources, formed the bases for the national articles

on the living conditions of older women in the participating countries.

The term “older women” was defined as women aged 50 years and over, allowing for the inclusion of data on

aspects of the job market, as well as an understanding of the rapid changes occurring in the various generations

of older women.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Women and intergenerational solidarity.


1) Spanish Multidisciplinary Gerontology Association

2) /Conference

3) Mapping existing research and identifying knowledge gaps concerning the situation of older women in Europe (MERI).


The research on older women in Europe varies considerably between the North and the South. Therefore, while

there are a great number of studies and statistics on older women in the Scandinavian countries, the most severe

knowledge gaps are in the Southern countries. In Greece, the situation of older women may be considered to be

unknown territory.

Considering that only a minority of studies focus on older women, the data presented are indicative findings, based

on the work carried out by the research group, which show the extent to which a fact or a trend is based on suppositions

or on knowledge existing at national level.

Quantitative distribution of the results of the research as regards the subject areas under study



Of the areas or subjects under study, the analysis at European level demonstrated that approximately a third of the

results of the research concerned the areas of Health and Social Integration; a tenth was related to Work and the

Economic Situation, while the areas of least importance were Representation of interests (4% of results), Education

(3%) and Violence and abuse (2%).

Some of the results from the MERI study are presented in synthesised form. We shall only focus on those that are

related to the subject under discussion here today, as time does not allow for more. If you are interested in the

project as a whole, please visit the following web-page:



One of the recommendations in the political statement issued at the Second World Assembly on Ageing refers to

the need to integrate the gender perspective in all policies and programmes “in order that the needs and experiences

of elderly women and men may be taken into account”. 4

There is a strong tradition in research as to how gender structures the living conditions of women: education, work,

caring in the family and social policies are some of the aspects that affect their quality of life. However, in the area

of studies on the elderly, the sociological analysis between family solidarity and collective solidarity and the investigations

and reflections on intergenerational solidarity and women have not yet acquired the importance they

deserve, as the concept of family solidarity runs the risk of covering up the essential and expressing in a disguised

manner the clear inequalities in the sexual division of work as expressed by Schultheis (1995). We would also like to

highlight how the effects of different types of socio-political culture and the logics of access to social protection

explain that the social rights of women, especially of older women, with their non-remunerated work, and their low

levels of contributions, are secondary to or derived from their matrimonial situation and are also precarious. It is

from this perspective that we present the following results:

4.1. Education

It is a proven fact that the educational level of both men and women determines their status in the job market,

their economic income and their financial situation in old age.

• Older women have a lower educational level than that of older men, although with some exceptions in the

case of Sweden. Nonetheless, it is important to note that cohorts of better educated women are entering retirement.

4) II World Assembly on Ageing. Political statement. Article 8. Madrid. 2002.

5) Scheltheis, F.(1995) “Trois modèles de solidarité dans les systèmes de protection sociale occidentaux” in Attias-Donfutt, C. (ed.) Les solidarités entre generations.

Condé-sur-Noireau (France).

• There is still a considerable level of illiteracy among the most elderly women in some Mediterranean countries.

• The participation of older women in continued professional training is more evident in Finland, the United

Kingdom and Sweden than in Spain, Greece and Portugal.

• Participation in Universities for the Elderly appears to be of more interest to older women than older men in

the majority of countries analysed.

4.2. Work

Despite the poor quality of the data and studies referring the employment conditions of older women, there are

sufficient findings among all of the countries for us to come to the following conclusions:

• Older women that work often do so in typically feminine professions (for example in Services).

• They are more likely to work or to have worked in worse paid posts than older men and to work or to have worked

more on a part-time basis than men, especially in the case of women belonging to ethnic minorities.

Older women also leave the job market early more often than older men.

4.3. Economic situation

The economic situation of older women in Europe is very much related to gender inequalities, age, educational

level, marital status, previous salary level, previous profession, the duration of their professional career and the

national pension systems.

Older women have lower incomes than older men. This finding was confirmed in the 12 countries where the MERI

project was carried out.

Some of the social protection systems in Europe have negative effects on the material situation of older women.

This is a statement that may be considered to have been proven, with few exceptions, such as Finland and Sweden.

In particular, widows may be considered to be a disadvantaged group and the risk of poverty is more evident in the

Southern countries.

4.4. Non-remunerated work

Apart from remunerated work, one important detail to be highlighted is the unequivocal feminine nature of care

for family members. It seems that more than in other phases of their lives, older women take on the task of looking

after grandchildren and caring for dependent elderly. This has been confirmed by the 12 countries.

• Older women spend more time than men looking after family members without payment, except in the cases

of Sweden and the United Kingdom.

• Women in the 50 to 64 age bracket spend more time looking after dependents than men. There is no data on

this situation for Austria, Portugal and Greece.

The number of older women that are able or willing to look after children and the elderly will decline in the future.

This finding corresponds to empirical data and local studies. There are no statistics on this issue.

In the Latin countries, the traditional moral values are still present, one of which is the obligation to look after the

parents when they get old. This obligation does not exist in the Northern countries. However, the trend in Sweden

since 1994 is that family members and other relatives have increased their participation in caring for the elderly,

partly due to the economic and personnel reductions in municipal services.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Women and intergenerational solidarity.


In the Southern countries, older women provide a great deal of care to children, especially to grandchildren.

Providing help to elderly relatives is mostly a job for the daughters, with the tendency that they are getting older

due to the increasing longevity of the parents.

4.5. As regards generational Co-existence



• There are more older women than men living alone throughout Europe.

• A great majority of women aged 65 years and over live alone in the Northern countries, whereas the contrary

is still true for the 5 countries located further south. In Austria, there are differences between the rural and

urban settings.

• There is a decrease in the co-existence of adult sons and daughters with their elderly parents, although in some

countries, this co-existence increases at very advanced ages, such as in Spain. It should be noted that there has

never been a high rate of co-existence in Holland and in Sweden.

• There is a majority trend for parents and sons/daughters to live near each other, which is increasing in all countries.

Sweden is an example of this, where 10% of the elderly over the age of 75 years live with their

sons/daughters in the same home or in the same neighbourhood and 64% have a son/daughter living within

a radius of 15 Km.

4.6. Intergenerational relations

As regards intergenerational relations (at macro level), it has been detected that the contact between older men

and women and young people has reduced, according to the findings from Finland and Italy, the only countries

that have mapped work on this aspect. One of the Finnish studies shows how grandmothers have adapted to social

changes, by showing their relations with their sons / daughters and grandchildren, as they have had to deal with

divorces, drug addictions, single-parent families, unemployment and illnesses. As regards retirement, it has been

detected that it causes profound changes in social networks. For example, the findings in France show that older

women compensate for this with a strong development of family relations.

Finally, we should indicate that very little research has been found on the economic aid given to older women by

the members of their family.


In general, this field of research is characterised by a lack of scientific knowledge.

• Older women aged 50 years and over are invisible in studies and statistics on the elderly, except for in the

Scandinavian countries.

• Lack of statistics in which gender and age are crossed.

• Great variability in disaggregation in age groups in periods of five or more years for those that are younger than

65 and over 65. It is very frequent for data to be published in the general category of 65 upwards or 80 upwards.

Thus women and men are included in groups that are too wide-ranging, which makes it very difficult to be able

to analyse their heterogeneity.

Many knowledge gaps have been detected and there are some subjects about which little is known in the 12 countries

where the MERI project was carried out:

• Older women that are the victims of abuse and mistreatment.

• Representation of interests in groups of older women.

• Educational aspects, especially as regards professional training and lifelong training.

• Health-related aspects, especially institutional care, prevention, healthy lifestyles.

• Leaving the job market.

• Material situation in terms of the consumption of goods and services.

• Aspects of social integration and participation, especially regarding intergenerational relations, sexuality,

friendship, neighbourhood networks...


The feminisation of the elderly population is a crucial factor in sociological terms. Scientific means are necessary

in order that equal opportunity policies may be based on a more accurate knowledge of reality. Therefore,

as several generations of women have contributed and are contributing to the prosperity of their countries, sharing

their resources —either in terms of experience, time or money— with other generations, research highlights

situations that question the existence of society's reciprocity towards these women. It is hoped that the results

of this project will encourage researchers to fill up the knowledge gaps that exist, which in some cases, require

thorough research and urgent correction in the political sphere.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Women and intergenerational solidarity.



Mrs. Helen R. Hamlin

The greatest challenge today in thinking about older persons, considering and developing programs and policies which

affect them is the changing nature of the population itself. Not only do the demographics continue to record the size

of the older cohort of those over the age of sixty worldwide, but there are marked changes within that population

which affect the younger generation and more importantly for our purposes here, the elderly themselves.

A defining element of change is in the nature of families, which once were considered stable, more nuclear in composition.

In today's world, and for the next several generations, we see families in great transition: they are more

scattered, more mobile, affected by economics of markets, government policies, cultures which once seemed to

emphasize family closeness, traditional sources of care and comfort for older persons, are now greatly stretched

and spread out.

Programs have to acknowledge these changes as part of what is happening to families. For example, the China

policy restricting the number of children per family has led to a terrible lack of younger persons to continue to provide

sustenance (physical, financial, emotional) for older family members and has resulted in congregate care facilities

for older persons becoming more prevalent. Economic imperatives, emigration and civil strife in Africa has

greatly altered traditional family structure and systems, leaving many older persons as heads of households. In

western societies, issues of personal choice of how and were to live and with whom and how to achieve this has

wrought many changes, leading to more and more fractures in the family 1 .

Defining the population: the “new old” (the so-called baby boomer generation) and the “older old”.

1. Brief review of what we already understand for these groups:

a) Caregiving roles for the “young old” and the “old old”.

b) Income security, employment and secure “retirement” concerns, volunteering.

c) Health and well-being: e.g. polio effects resurfacing in later years; preparation for ageing.

d) The need for connectedness and community especially in the later years.

e) Expectation for continued control over the course of their lives, including lifestyles and future roles where

there is the possibility for choices for the “young old”.

2. The various sub-cultures in the industrialized countries and the challenges 2 :

a) High divorce rate in many countries, including China, Japan, India, Pakistan.

b) Effects of divorce bring concomitant changes in family structures well into adulthood of the children of

divorce 3 .

c) Low fertility rates.

d) Increase in single parent and remarried families/blended families.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Older persons, new challenges.


1) Wallerstein, Judith S. Ph.D. International Encyclopedia of Behavioral and Social Sciences, revised edition 2001, Elsevier Press, Amsterdam.

2) B.S. Shone and L.E. Pezzin. Demography 26 #3, August 1999, pp. 287-297.

3) Wallerstein, Judith S. Ph.D. (2000) The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce. Hyperion. New York, USA. pp. 138-139.

e) Decrease in rates of first marriages/rise in rates of cohabitation.

f) Rise in number of mothers of young children in the workforce.

g) Larger homosexual community with special needs.

3. Psychological and economic effects of divorce present new challenges:

a) Effects on children continue into adulthood/anger as a product affecting family relations into adulthood of

children, e.g. children of divorce less likely to be supportive of fathers in later years.

b) Vast increase in elder abuse globally.

c) Falling economic situations for women affects status of family/children.

d) Future education and earning capacity of children may be affected.


4. Programming to meet the challenges of family change (which governments must consider, develop and enact

in partnership with NGOs):

a) Must include mental health services to meet individual needs.

b) Must be flexible to meet individual needs/fast-changing shape of families.

c) Must include opportunities for older persons' participation in planning in all domains .

d) Older homosexuals need special programs in coping with old age, loneliness, fewer children.

5. Program suggestions as we attempt to meet the new challenges (implicit in any programming is the need for

flexibility both on the part of NGOs and governments):

a) Involving the subjects in actual research projects (example: in New Mexico, Navaho Indians received a grant

to study the needs of their adolescents, using university academics as their helpers/mentors).

b) Training older people to conduct research under the guidance of academics (such as has already been practiced

by anthropologists and social service researchers in Israel).

c) Special programs to enable older persons to express themselves in various situations, to advocate for themselves

as, for example, when seeing doctors for care, when seeking services of various kinds.

d) Making opportunities for older persons to speak out about themselves in positive ways.

e) Encouraging and supporting coalitions of older persons for community change and enforcement.

f) Encourage older persons to develop income-generating activities both on an individual and communal basis.

6. Utilize the United Nations Principles for Older Persons as the basis for pursuing the human rights of older persons:

a) Translate the document into all languages to educate older persons and their networks.

b) Disseminate as widely as possible from the “bottom up” using all available channels.

c) Encourage public celebrations of all sorts of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons (October

1st) as a vehicle for increasing awareness of the positive aspects of ageing and older persons' lives as well

as a means to announce their concerns, issues, needs in their particular communities.

d) Encourage partnerships with other organizations and especially governments.



Mr. Jesús Vizcaíno

“A Society for All the Ages”, was the clamouring message from the United Nations II World Assembly on Ageing,

that took place in Madrid in 2002.

Three years later, the VII Congress of Ceoma and its International Symposium, Madrid, October 2005, also put forth

a very similar message “Non-Discrimination for Reasons of Age ”.

It would seem to be the inference that age can be an obstacle to social integration.

The elderly population is significant, from both the qualitative and the qualitative viewpoint. It represents a significant

asset of a society that is not participatory enough, depending on certain information.

In attempting to clear up certain questions, I am proposing dealing with the topic from two focus points which in

my view would clear matters up.

• Social solidarity from the shared existences of a greater voluntary asset.

• SECOT as an example of good practices of solidarity for social and economic development.

Two aspects can be highlighted from the first subject:

• Associative activity and voluntary activity as a means of the social participation of the Elderly.

• The social marginalisation of the Elderly as a barrier towards their contribution towards solidarity.

Associative activity and voluntary activity as a means of the social participation of the Elderly.

Associative activity should offer the Elderly the possibility of meeting their need for belonging arising from retirement

and voluntary activity meets the need for joint activities, those of being valued and those of recognition.

However, it is considered that at least 3% of the elderly take part in voluntary work. What is going missing? Is the

marketing for making voluntary work attractive for the elderly not attractive enough for them?

The message is usually non-specific, coffee for everyone, in a world of personalisation. For a young person, getting

started on voluntary tasks could be a professional starting point and a way into the undertaking of their first job,

whilst for the elderly it is usually an arrival point. Those who are mobile may be as different as perhaps is the publicised

invitation to participate.

Is the range of opportunities insufficient or is it deficiently offered? The advertisements referred to usually fundamentally

offer involvement in activities of a care nature, for which those who are much older are not trained or do

not feel interested in. Is voluntary work not perceived of as a means of evaluation and of recognition so as to differentiate

the active Elderly from the indifferent ones?

3. PONENCIAS / Workshop 4. Participación solidaria del mayor en la sociedad actual.


Throughout our lives we have been subject to the standard of measuring our work, school or employment life, in

line with the following formula:


Carrying out voluntary work does not take this into account and there are not other standards to differentiate the

active Elderly from the indifferent ones. Some countries, being aware of these circumstances and of the importance

of the elderly, use this formula although more with symbolic compensations -but differentiated ones- rather

than monetary ones.

These questions do not seek to identify the problem of the possible lack of sufficient participation of the Elderly,

or to explain all of the routes for their possible improvement, but could be used as suggestions for associations of

the elderly and of voluntary work.

Social marginalisation of the Elderly



We can often see inconsistency between the public declarations exalting the wisdom and experience of the elderly,

and the overlooking -if not rejection- of using the same on the pretext of their inability to assimilate or adapt

themselves to new working methods or new technologies. This statement is very often covered up by commercial

financial reasons and policies of freeing-up from jobs, which is to the detriment of the participation in an intergenerational

project of those who have most experience.

The “slogan” of the VII Congress of Ceoma of “NON-DISCRIMINATION FOR REASONS OF AGE” is not called as such

without good reason. There are evident grounds of discrimination on the grounds of age that prevent the Elderly

from exercising their rights. It is usually said that a button is proof enough, and the following data are significant.

• Of the 609 members of the “Cortes Generales”, only 29 are over 64 years old, 4.76% and 0.06% of the population.

• Of the 31 members of the Executive Committee of the PSOE, none is over 64 years old, 0%.

• Of the 88 members of the Executive Committee of the PP, only 2 are older than 64, 2.27%.

• A large number of leading Councils do not have councillors over 64 years old, and the national average these

represent is 1.48%.

With such a small level of representation of the elderly in public posts, where decisions are made, it is hard for

them to be able to defend an acceptable contribution in the economic and social development of society.

It is quite often observed that elderly professional volunteers are seen of as competing for the work of the youngest



• It is necessary to evaluate and promote the active participation of the Elderly in the different tasks of contribution

towards economic and social development.

• It would be equally useful to also evaluate the financial power of the Elderly, in its direct and indirect contribution,

in the creation of employment and peel away the label of Elderly as merely a social burden.

• It would be appropriate to include the Elderly in the activities of the Public Institutions, as an element of the

society which it is, and as a valuable element in the process of intergenerational integration. In this way it would

be possible to achieve a good level of balance between the proper training of young people with their analytical

abilities and concerns and the synthetic ability and the overall conception of the Elderly.


SECOT mean: Seniors Españoles para la Cooperación Técnica (Spanish Senior Citizens for Technical Cooperation). It

is a non-profit making association, declared to be a Public Utility, which was incorporated in 1989 thanks to the

initiative of the Circle of Businesses, the Upper Council of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of

Spain and Business Social Action. Secot's aim is to offer free business advice, through its qualified, retired or earlyretired

members, to SMEs, young entrepreneurs, NGOs, Business Training Centres and developing countries, with

insufficient resources.

Around 900 qualified professionals belong to Secot, with different qualifications and specialisations, distributed in

21 Regional Offices, throughout the country, with Madrid and Barcelona being the most important ones.

900 volunteer members is an insufficient number for the retired Spanish professionals who could be making their

contribution, for the benefit of economic and social development and for their own benefit.

In 2004 Secot carried out 2,099 consultancy projects of which:

• 698 relate to the Consolidation and Competitiveness Plan of small and medium sized enterprises, reporting to

the General Board of SMEs (Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade).

• 702 related to young entrepreneurs, under 35 years of age, within the cooperation agreement between the

Institute of Youth (INJUVE) and SECOT.

• 609 fall within multiple agreements of a different nature, amongst which we can highlight those maintained

with Financial Institutions for the granting of ICO Micro-credits, as well as with diverse Councils and Public

Bodies of an autonomous, regional and local scope.

Those receiving particular attention include disabled persons, immigrants, and, in general, all of those people who

are seeking to become integrated into or maintain themselves in economic life.

In term of their nationality, 74% were Spaniards, and the remaining 26 % pertain to different nationalities, with

the most numerous ones being Latin Americans, followed by Europeans, Eastern Europeans, Moroccans, and others.

SECOT has released different publications related to the activity and economy of the elderly, with the latest one

being “Elderly Savers”.

In 2005, SECOT organised the Conference of Organisations of Senior Citizen Experts (SES) in Madrid, belonging to

all continents, at which it was possible to observe the increased contribution and state support for organisations

of Anglo-Saxon influence.

We hope that the Spanish authorities will support Secot in order to attend to more small Spanish companies and

their consultancy needs in this globalised world.

SECOT's work has given rise to its appearance in different mass media, the written press, radio, TV and Internet. In

recognition of the altruistic and generous work it has carried out, for the professionally neediest, for the benefit

of society and its own members.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Cooperative participation of the elderly in modern society.



Conclusions of working group 4


Mr. Miguel Gil Montalbo,

General Subdirection of Planning and Evaluation, IMSERSO





Relator: Mr. Miguel Gil Montalbo

The six speeches that are set out below were made at the afternoon session of Thursday, November 17th. Whilst

this summary does not seek to reflect all the richness of their content, the following relevant ideas can be highlighted:

“Life cycle and solidarity: promoting well-being”

(Mrs. Rocío Fernández Ballesteros, Autónoma University of Madrid)

Three points were dealt with in her speech:

An approach was firstly made to the concept of intergenerational solidarity, which is distinct from reciprocity or

the exchange of assets between different generations. The association is established between interpersonal relations

and health and the well-being of individuals, and allusion is made to different studies, both in-house and

from outside. The most recent one of these has been from this year, which proves the false nature of many negative

stereotypes relating to the elderly. As far as the subject of the provision for long-term citizens is concerned,

she emphasizes that the elderly in Spain are not just recipients, but they are also care-givers, as has been made

clear in recent studies (IMSERSO, 2004).

She secondly deals with the concept of well-being, stating the objetive of reaching an objective definition and finding

the way of measuring its intensity. This is an eminently subjective perception, associated with not just the

objective conditions of comfort, but also with the particular evaluation that individuals make about their living

conditions. The paradoxical case could arise whereby citizens from under-developed African countries could be

considered to be happier than other European citizens who enjoy the so-called welfare State.

She thirdly raises the issue of how well-being is to be promoted, both at the individual level and throughout the

whole population. To do this, she points out that the different strategies will be aimed at improving health conditions,

at greater activity, at intensifying social relations and social participation. The lifestyles of the elderly, their

personal adjustment, both physical and psychological, through the stimulation and improvement of their intellectual

and affective activity, together with their participation in the social life, will make it possible to achieve high

levels of well-being. Different programmes have been carried out with respect to these programmes, amongst

which we can highlight the so-called “Living with Vitality”, which has been running for nine years.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Conclusions. Mr. Miguel Gil Montalbo


“The contribution of young persons to the intergenerational discourse: facts and proposals”

(Mr. Francisco Alonso Soto, Director of Employment and Social Affairs on the Standing Committee representing

Spain to the European Union)

He started his speech by stating that the E.U. Youth Policy has been almost non-existent and lacks a legal base. On

the basis of the White Paper in 2001, and the strategy initiated in 2002, we can speak about a new incipient Youth

Policy. This does not mean that there are no policies for the benefit of young people, relating to education, professional

training, employment, non-discrimination, etc. in the member States. The important issue is centred on

the fact that an open method of cooperation on policies aimed at the young has now been established, and in this

very year a Youth Programme has been approved whose budgetary provision will be defined in the coming days.



It is significant that, on an initiative from France, Germany, Sweden and Spain, a European Pact for Youth has been

promoted. This was included as an appendix to the Conclusions of the Presidency of the European Council in March

of this year. In time this will lay down the economic and social guidelines that will have to be transposed to the

legislations of the member states. These lines of action make reference to employment, integration and social promotion;

to the field of education, training and mobility; and to reconciling professional life with personal and

family life.

This re-launching of the Lisbon strategy, the agreements from the Spring European summit, and the presentation

of the Green Paper on Solidarity between Generations, also presented in March this year, open up a debate of great

interest in relation to the topics that are being tackled in this seminar. This is why it is proposed that the two speeches

referred to are sent to the European Commission, as these have been used as a framework for the work of

this meeting that we are holding, along with the conclusions of the different working groups.

In conclusion, the speaker pointed out that it can be said that nowadays, in addition to the different national

models, there is a common European social model, which has been taking shape in recent years. This has five essential

characteristics: a high employment rate; a high level of social protection; male-female equality and non-discrimination;

social dialogue and participation; State involvement in labour relations.

In addition to these five basic elements there are other components such as: education and professional training

for everyone; social cohesion policies; compliance with the “community acquis”; social and civic participation

bodies; a democratic system of labour relations; solidarity between generations; social responsibility from companies.

Using the open method of co-ordination as a tool at the service of a common social and economic policy will assist

the action of putting the social model into practice, in order to attain the Lisbon goal aimed at the consolidation

of the European economy in a context of high competitiveness and productivity. This is a question of demonstrating

that the European social model is sustainable in the modern world and can assist to sustainable development

in the European Union.

“Ageing and autonomy: the role of the socio-health services in intergenerational solidarity”

(Mrs. Teresa Bazo, University of the Basque Country)

Professor Bazo presented the result of the study that provides the title to her speech, known by the acronym of

the OASIS project, carried out on a sample of 6,000 people over the age of 25 in Spain, Germany, England, Norway

and Israel. Its goal was to study the impact that different personal, family and social variables have on self-sufficiency,

and the delaying of dependency for the elderly in different countries, in this way promoting their quality

of life.

She stated that there is a common perception in the five countries that the provision of social and health services

for the elderly is a personal right. The different societies studied have responded to the changes in the needs of

the elderly and their families, developing services for caring, both within the community and in institutions.

The study made an analysis of the interaction between the provision of care from the family and from the formal

services, as well as the variations in the family norms in the countries studied and the exchange of services between


In conclusion she pointed out that help from the family is preferred to that from the services, although with differentiating

nuances between the five countries studied.

Public social services do not erode family solidarity, but rather they are complementary. This is because greater provision

of services of an instrumental nature will allow for greater family attention to emotional support.

Filial obligations with respect to the elderly are maintained, but not as an absolute and unconditional value. There

is a significant demand for public responsibility in this respect, and it is considered that the State has the leading

role, which must be supported by the family. Obviously differentiating nuances between the five countries studied

can be demonstrated, and it was observed that in Spain there are a greater proportion of the elderly people sharing

their lives with their sons and daughters.

Under the heading of recommendations, there is agreement on demanding more extensive and better networks of

service provisions, since the elderly prefer assistance from the services so as to avoid bothering their families as

much as possible. Policies are sought that give greater power to the elderly, and that also promote intergenerational

relations. It is further recommended that polices for prevention be developed throughout the life cycle and that

there is better identification of the groups at risk from suffering dependency situations. It is also stated that the

central role of the family should be recognised, and that this role should be strengthened by means of the development

of programmes of learning and respite for the long-term care givers, which make it possible to reconcile

working life with personal and family life. There is a recommendation for better co-ordination between the social

and health services and for the proper supervision of the quality of the services to be carried out.

“Women and intergenerational solidarity”

(Ms. Mª Luisa Marrugat, retired professor from the Ramón Llull University of Barcelona)

The spokesperson made a presentation and analysis of the research compiled in the so-called Meri Project. The aim

of this was a review of the existing studies on the living conditions of women over 50 in twelve countries (Austria,

Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

The findings made can be grouped by themes in the following way:

1. In education, it was seen that elderly women have a lower educational level than men. There is still a significant

rate of female illiteracy in some Mediterranean countries, although on the other hand elderly women take

part in the university programmes for the elderly to a larger extent.

2. With regard to work, elderly women fall within occupations that are typically feminine, performing work for

lower pay than elderly men and working on a part-time basis.

3. Their financial situation is more precarious, with their earnings being lower than those of the men in the 12

countries of the study. Obviously, having carried on an employment activity conditioned by gender, their situation

as pensioners also suffers from these discriminatory effects, which are not compensated for by the pensions


4. On the other hand, elderly women as care-givers are much more involved than men in undertaking unpaid work

within the family, caring for people of different ages and facing up to the attention for the serious problems

deriving from unemployment, drug addiction and all types of illnesses.

5. In terms of the ways of living together, it was observed that elderly women live alone in larger numbers than

men, especially in northern countries. This places limits on intergenerational relationships and cohabitation with

adult children.

3. CONFERENCES / Workshop 4. Conclusions. Mr. Miguel Gil Montalbo


It was concluded that there is research concerning the problem of women older than 50. The differences between

the North and the South are very well-known. Statistical data are not always analysed in a way that is broken down

y sex and age groups, and so there is no cross-reference data from this perspective, making the group of elderly

women invisible.

The study ends with recommendations aimed at more research being carried out, at the obtaining of statistical data

and at greater awareness from political leaders, professional and society in general.

“Older persons new challengess”

(Mrs. Helen Hamlin, I.F.A.)

The speaker argued that the greatest challenge to take into account in designing policies for the elderly is not just

the population increase, but also lies in the change in the nature of the population itself, and, more specifically, of

the family.



After making reference to the two largest population segments: the “old youngsters” (the baby boom generation)

and the “old elderly”, their involvement as the providers and recipients of long-term care, and the new needs and

lifestyles, the focus passed to the changes that have lead families to be increasingly broken up.

She analysed the elements that have a bearing on the transformation of the family model: the high number of

divorces in many countries, the low birth rate, the increase in single-parent families and in second marriages, the

drop in the rate of first marriages with the consequent increase in the rates of cohabitation and the special needs

of the older homosexual community.

The reality described and the effects arising, of a psychological and also of a financial nature, affect both children

in their development towards maturity and their acceptance of the role of care-givers in the future, and the financial

position of women and the increase in circumstances of abuse involving the elderly.

It follows from this that governments, together with the NGOs, must develop programmes that are flexible in order

to adapt themselves to the changing needs of people. These include mental health services, offering the elderly

opportunities for participation, taking account of special needs groups, such as elderly homosexuals. Training

opportunities need to be offered to the elderly so that they can express themselves, take part in research, mix

amongst themselves and carry out activities that generate income.

In order to achieve a more effective form of protection of the human rights of the elderly, it is necessary to

demonstrate the value of the Principles of the United Nations for the Elderly. It is therefore necessary to promote

their translation into all languages, to distribute these throughout the media, at public events, in publications, etc.

“Solidarity participation by the older persons in modern society”

(Mr. Jesús Vizcaíno - SECOT)

Lastly, a contribution came from a representative of an association for elderly volunteers, who provide technical

co-operation for young entrepreneurs. He defended the idea that both the associative approach and specific participation

in volunteer organisations serves to re-establish social bonds and feelings of belonging and social recognition,

which are perhaps lost by the fact of retirement.

He denounced the social marginalisation of the elderly and the contradiction involved in making statements as to

the recognition of the experience of the elderly, whilst clear discrimination on the grounds of age in the world of

work —based on negative age stereotypes— takes place and is consented to, and there is clear marginalisation in

social and political life.

After presenting a set of data on the work of his association, he concluded by inviting a better assessment of the

economic and social contribution of the elderly, and for them to have greater presence in all types of public institutions.

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