Lifelong Learning Needs for Ageing People with Sensory Disabilities

Date: 24 Jul 2012

European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations

It is already a well-known fact that people in Europe are aging rapidly.
According to the latest researches of the World Health Organization
(WHO) the median age of the Europeans is the highest in the world and
the proportion of people aged 65 and older is forecast to increase from
14% in 2010 to 25% in 2050. Thanks to the positive developments in
health treatment and social achievements, today people in Europe are
living longer but their chances of spending these later years in good
health and well-being vary between countries and in accordance with
their health status.
These developments in longevity can be considered as an extraordinary
achievement but they also will be a great challenge for the future: ensuring
the quality of life of an unprecedentedly large elderly population.
In particular, for social and health service providers, as well as families
and policy makers at both national and European levels this phenomenon
represents various problems that needs to be solved but also many
opportunities. Most citizens feel that people aged 55 years and older
play a major role in key aspects of society-family, politics, in the community
and the economy. Opinions are divided as to whether in the future
they should play more of a role or the same role as now in each of
the areas, but those aged 55 years and over tend to feel they should
have more of a role.
In order to address these demographic changes the European Union
declared 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity
between Generations. The year is intended to raise awareness of the
contribution that older people make to society. It seeks to encourage
policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels to take action with
the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening
solidarity between generations.
One of the very serious aspects of those demographic changes in
Europe that needs to be addressed is the quality of life of people with
disabilities. In the framework of the research done for the European
Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, launched in December
2010, the European Commission has identified persons with disabilities
and elderly people as being at high risk of falling into poverty and social
exclusion. This means that elderly people with disabilities are facing
double disadvantages and risks in society. Elderly persons with disabilities
are also more likely to live in residential institutions and often do
not have the opportunity to choose their place of residence and with
whom they would like to live. The adoption of the UN Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2006, which promotes
quality of life, choice and inclusion in society of people with disabilities,
has already marked a huge step forward to launch the discussions
and create awareness at political level. Nevertheless, there is still
a long way to go in order to meet the needs of older persons with disabilities
and to ensure their inclusion in society.
During the last years EASPD brought the discussion on the special
needs of elderly persons with disabilities on the political agenda by organizing
and participating in various events and projects dedicated to
the topic.

Read all in the attached SensAge Newsletter March 2012