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Autonomy and protagonism, keys to active aging


Euskadi designs a plan to improve the living conditions of people over 65 years of age Housing, leisure, public spaces, health, economy and family, among the issues addressed

That future to which, half a century ago, thousands of people looked straight ahead, without fear but with misgivings, is the present for many of them. Specifically, for more than 440,000 Basques who have already surpassed the weighted barrier of 65 years of age. For this increasingly large and heterogeneous group - it is estimated that in 2029 there will be some 600,000 people over the age of 65 in the Basque Country; three out of every ten inhabitants - it is essential to anticipate and design a program of action and attention at all levels with the aim of ensuring that their aging is active, healthy, participatory and integrated into their immediate environment.

Housing, public spaces, health, family, economy, physical activity, leisure... are some of the elements that define the quality of life of these people who, thanks to the increase in life expectancy, have the opportunity to embark on a new life project.

These are the central lines that in the next five years will be addressed and developed through the Basque Strategy for Active Aging, a document that proposes and sets the actions to be followed by the Public Administration to provide the best living conditions for these tens of thousands of people. "The policies aimed at people over 65 are already, more than a necessity, an obligation", summarized yesterday the Minister of Employment and Social Policies, Angel Toña, in the presentation of this initiative in whose approach have participated experts in gerontology and representatives of the associative movement of the elderly, among others.

From the Matia Institute -a reference in everything related to the care of this group- its scientific director Mayte Sancho encouraged institutions and society in general "to work much more thoroughly than they are doing now" to "change the attitude" in relation to old age. "We have to clearly fight against discrimination, ageism and stereotypes," she summarized. That is to say, to adapt to this new demographic structure that can already be seen in streets and squares.

And to do so in all areas by promoting anticipatory actions in the early stages of the aging process through advice on aspects that will condition this new vital stage: housing, health, family and social networks, social collaboration..... To this end, Councilor Toña felt it is necessary to turn "the discourse on the role of aging people in Basque society around, urging it, at all levels, to definitely face a process of adaptation and reformulation of its structures from the perspective of an aging society".

Needs and opportunities 

In this sense, we are committed to promoting the autonomy and independence of aging people through the implementation of preventive policies at all levels that facilitate decision-making on their life project. Thus, actions will be promoted to encourage a positive transition from working life to retirement; to prepare the home and the domestic environment for lifelong enjoyment; to promote healthy aging; and to incorporate lifelong learning.

Other elements that will be addressed in this roadmap that seeks to build a new welfare society will be focused on promoting actions to, as illustrated by the Minister of Employment and Social Policies, "promote the generalization of the friendliness paradigm in the Basque Country, guaranteeing the protagonism and participation of the people who are aging in this process".

The aim is to promote the growth of volunteering and participatory community collaboration movements among aging people, as well as to value the transfer of care and support provided by the elderly in the family environment and try to extend this lifestyle to all Basque towns and cities. Because, as Toña confirmed, the aging of the population will create new needs, but also new opportunities. "The Strategy that we propose is along these lines, that of helping Basque institutions to tackle this demographic challenge from the perspective of responsibility, from the positive perspective that this challenge is also an opportunity and from the commitment to build a new model through the participation and collaboration of all citizens".

Source: http://www.deia.com/2015/09/19/sociedad/euskadi/autonomia-y-protagonismo-claves-para-envejecer-de-forma-activa