The Grey Gold Of Europe
2012 – 2014
According to the studies and reports, most people in retirement period in Europe follow sedentary life styles, which leads to an increase in diseases, invalidity, psychological problems and a decrease in vitality, social contacts and learning. In addition, low use of and access to Internet communication is reported, which deepens the social isolation of this age group. People in pre-retirement period start to worry about these negative aspects of retirement period. Therefore, active ageing is becoming one of the priorities of the EU and all EU governments included active ageing policies in their strategies for demographic development and health. But most of them are still on papers and these older adults are not viewed as active actors.
The Grey Gold of Europe project assumes older adults, specifically focusing on pre-retirement and retirement period, as precious golds whose potentials should be used in a way that they can all be active and at the same time learn to maintain active in life which results in the most precious integral part of our lives;health and well being.
This will be achieved by some concrete activities in which older adults will be active and will learn to remain active in a multigenerational athmosphere. These activites cover several active ageing “Learning Actions” which will be peculiar to each of the partner itself and will compose a European appraoch altogether towards active ageing.”Experience Sharing Workshops” will be useful to help them feel that they are still important for the community while “Short term ICT interactive courses” will support them to gain or develop their skills of social communication by easier and useful ICT social networking.
It is a matter of common knowledge that one of the most important and effective ways of maintaining a healthy life is living actively both physically and mentally. In the earlier stages of life (childhood, teenage and early adulthood) the importance of active living is underestimated by the individual since the living conditions somehow makes them active enough to a certain extent. However, after the years of a (in a sense) compulsory active living, towards the end of the working life, the individual seeking for a restful retirement years ,at the same time, starts worrying about the inactiveness and other negative aspects of those years such as losing social prestige, thus social communication and facing health problems, dependency etc.
Proving their rightness, the researches show that pre-retirement and retirement years are not spent on active engagement in the labour market, education, community and society. Home-centred leisure activities predominate among elderly and the additional free time is not used actively. Data illustrate that self-care which includes personal care, sleep and rest and passive leisure (mainly TV watching) takes the greater parts of people’s life at higher age in Europe. Less time is spent on sports, learning and ICT. Of course there are differences across EU countries, but in general active ageing remains low. This passivity in ageing may lead to some negative aspects: disuse (lack of practice), illness (chronic diseases, depression, etc.), behaviour (increased consumption of medication and alcohol), psychological (lack of motivation and confidence), social (loneliness and isolation).
There are already national policies to cope with these negative situations but most of them are putting emphasis on employment and vocational skills. However, active ageing is more than “just” employment – it is being independent, stable and capable of giving and advising. First, older people should be stimulated to remain physically, mentally and socially healthy so that they can enjoy a better quality of life. In this way their existential needs such as the desire to feel useful, to be around people, to do meaningful tasks and to continue learning will be met, thus keeping them active in both employment and society.
Therefore, in line with the European Year of Active Ageing 2012, a group of interested organizations has decided to compose a consortium which assumes those potantial (grey haired) older adults as precious (gold) of Europe, so that these older adults in pre-retirement and early retirement period can learn how to care for themselves and each other as they get older and how to broaden their social contacts thus shifting from a sedentary lifestyle to more active and healthier one and also by making use of their experiences in this process. There is nothing more important than your own health and wellbeing. Then follows the active engagement of individuals in community, society and employment. The project will also be based upon inter generational learning because yesterday’s child is today’s adult and tomorrow’s senior. Active ageing is long process throughout the life course of an individual. To get active, healthy and independent older people in the future, we need intergenerational solidarity today.
PROJECT OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY
The main aim of this project is to provide support to seniors in pre-retirement and early-retirement periods from various professions to remain active for a longer time in society, community and learning, thus living a healthy life.
The specific objectives are:
-To develop ‘learning actions’ where these seniors will learn how to age actively in terms of their health and social communication.
-To raise awareness about active ageing and its benefits.
-To make positive use of the experiences of seniors.
-To help seniors to overcome feeling unimportant and useless.
-Learning to use ICT to maintain socially active through intergenerational solidarity.(ICT can be the common language between grandparents and grandchildren.)
-To ensure the opportunity to integrate numerous senior citizens to the learning society.
-To give seniors the opportunity to see different lifestyles of their peers throughout Europe.
The problems that will be addressed include:
-Concerns on transition from a long years of a very active life to a passive, sedentary life
-Losing social prestige and thus losing social contacts
-Feeling useless and unimportant
-Fear of facing physical and psychological difficulties and possible health problems.
The project approach to achieve the objectives:
1- State of art analysis to identify the general lifestyle habits and general activity tendency of the seniors in pre-retirement and the beginning of the retirement period in each partner’s respective countries. These analyses are needed in order to better understand the current situation of the these seniors.
2- ‘Learning Actions’ will be one of the key focuses of the partnership. It is the general name for all the activities that each partner will implement in which the target group will learn to live more actively and remain healthy including awareness raising activities on active ageing in a multi generational atmosphere
3- Organizing Experience Sharing workshops in which the volunteer retired seniors will share their experince with those still working, and with those who are still having education.
4- Short term ICT interactive courses on using Social Networks for these seniors in order to support them to maintain their social contacts and learn new and easier ways of communication and socialization.
All of the activities will be achieved in multigenerational atmosphere, also with the inclusion of the third generations,where applicable.
Kocaeli Provincial Directorate of National Education. (Kocaeli.Turkey)
Haus der Zukunft e.V. (Bremen.Germany)
A-12 Estudis i Recerca Interuniversitaria (Barcelona. Spain)