Special edition: The “Greying” of Europe
No where else in the world is the proportion of elderly people more important. Something partly due to the fact that life expectancy is increasing, one of the repercussions of this as we’ll see in Sweden is that less health care is reimbursed for the population as a whole. We’ll also go to Germany where as in the rest of Europe, elderly people struggle on the job market, and to Romania, where old age pensioners struggle full stop. All this is pretty negative. Does it have to do with the way that elderly people are portrayed in the media? Radio Prague has been looking into the issue. We’ll also head to the Netherlands where elderly gay people are getting organised.
Demography strikes back
We first head to Germany. As the country gets older and older, its job market is forever on the look out for younger workers and employees. It’s a cause for concern as the overwhelming majority of the five-million people searching for work are older Germans. But what’s considered ”old” these days, isn’t really that old at all, so how old is old?
Down and out in Bucharest
We go now to Romania where the situation faced by the older generation people seems even more dramatic. The country’s pensions system is in tatters, partly because Romania now has twice as many pensioners as active people. This means that being old there is pretty much about surviving.
In Sweden, some 18 percent of the population is over 65. In the 1980s and 1990’s the country experienced budget deficits just as the healthcare system took the impact of Sweden’s aging population. The country introduced competition, greater choice, and shifted more subsidies into elderly care. But overcompensating for the elderly now seems to have adversely affected other groups – especially concerning dental care.
Western societies are adjusting to the ageing of their population; this also means fighting the trend and encouraging people to have babies. In France and in Ireland, where the birthrates are the highest in Europe, there are many incentives and measures to allow mothers to combine career and raising children. That’s not the case in Poland.
In France there are more and more publications which target exclusively pensioners, and you often see them in TV advertisings now. But in the Czech Republic, a recent study has found that senior citizens are very often cast in a negative light by the media, something the report’s authors are hoping to change.
In France, over the course of the 20th century the country became home for migrants from southern and eastern Europe, and then from North and sub-Saharan Africa. These original migrants are now retiring from active life. How are they are enjoying their golden years here in France, and is integration is still an issue?
Pink Living Society
Many elderly gay men and women grew up in a society as intolerant of homosexuality as most other countries: they were permanent outsiders. And this feeling of isolation only increases, as one grows older. After all, relatively few gay men and women have children or grandchildren to comfort them in their old age. Enter the Pink Living Society. Two elderly gay Dutchmen are planning to take over an apartment building in The Hague and create a home for gays.
Closing music: ”Help and the Aged”, Pulp