ELDERLY TOWARDS 2020, FROM SURVIVORS TO SOCIAL PROTAGONISTS

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ELDERLY TOWARDS 2020, FROM SURVIVORS TO SOCIAL PROTAGONISTS

 

 

The year 2020 (the “Twenty-Twenty”) will mark an important turning point for the humanity. In fact, it will see the impact of the European Baby Boomers (the American ones have already arrived) with old age.
A true “silver tsunami” of seventy-year-olds, many and aged all together, will fall on the social and health care system of high-GP countries. Also emerging countries and, soon, even those with very low GP will see the elderly population explode beyond any previous experience (see figure).

 

 

 

The “Helthy People 2020″ a program of the Department of Health and Human Services (USA), a kind of comprehensive road map for health and well-being  takes into consideration the social determinants of health, the equity of services, lifestyles, etc., includes a whole series of specific chapters concerning older people.

 

In the new study Ce.R.R.Co. tried to explore some of the strong points of aging, especially the aging of the “New Elders”, that is the Baby Boomers. On them we had already published the book “The Elder who will come, from care to take care”, result of a study on the different characteristics of that generation compared to the past, their greater longevity and the problems related to caring, from Bioethics with Active Aging..

 

This new book” deepens the topic thanks to the contribution of specialists and experts who point out possible scenarios for both health and social welfare with particular reference to the most recent and important problems such as addictions, pain, loneliness, the pursuit of spirituality and likewise the need for new and more suitable structures, environmental furnishings and suitable forms of physical activity (mobility and posture).

The growing up of population needs new professional figures, new roles and skills is emerging. Just think of the figure of the general practitioner, that of the psychotherapist psychotherapist, the extension of the Psychiatrist and Neurologist’s skills, the figure of the geriatrician who “cares but does not heal”, a professional figure that is crucial to accompany the elderly with his pathology and morbidity.

 

Perhaps it is from our “Latin” and “Mediterranean” psychological archetypes that derives this attention from the less rational and technological aspects of the “advocacy” of the elderly. Ce.R.R.Co. focused his intervention at the last international conference of the American Society on Aging (ASA — San Diego — 2014), “technology, management / economics and human caring”, always tuned to the frequency of “human touch”. We believe that these three realities must be developed in a unitary and integrated way, oriented to the elderly person to ensure the best of the services they need. Culture of the “empowerment” of older people, diametrically opposed to that of the so-called “ageism”, a term coined by the American psychiatrist and gerontologist Robert N. Butler who explains it: “the underlying foundations of ayism are dreams and the fear of aging , become sick and dependent, get closer and closer to death. People are frightened and this leads to profound ambivalence “. In everyday life, ageism does not only manifest itself in discrimination (for example at work) and in petty hostility, but it comes to abuse and systematic fraud. In the US it is estimated that about 10% of the elderly are abused, neglected or exploited each year (Beach 2010, Acieno 2010).

Other studies have shown how the new generations of Elders look forward to be more involved and to preserve their autonomy and independence for as long as possible, not only physical and psychological, but extended to all aspects of life. For this reason they do not stop working and updating themselves and continue to “move” in their environments; environments more and more adapted and structured for such user. They want to live in their home, more and more in rural areas, in the countryside or at the sea, assisted by the local home care and services, or in good institutions (Primary Care Centers, Hospitals, RSA etc.) well integrated the territorial and socio-health context in which they have spent their life. They have a modern concept of quality of service, they know how to perceive and demand. The large cities very closed to the neighboor or countries where they live guarantees them good medical assistance of every level, even hyper-specialist.

These people are aware that the current level of welfare and health care is no longer sustainable. The increased needs for assistance and quality of life, the desire/need to live at home for as long as possible require new and more modern services that complement the essential ones provided by the community: cultural and artistic activities, development of the spiritual dimension, to enhance at most an aging peopl already or still active.

A concept therefore more deep and complete of the well-being.

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