The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Active Ageing Strategy launched

Malta Independent Monday, 25 November 2013, 18:24 Last update: about 7 years ago

The National Strategy on Active Ageing aims to transform the country into a more just and equal society. However, a change in mentality is needed. Society needs to realize that reaching retirement age does not mean that one necessarily has to stop working.

The strategy, which was launched during an event in Castille this evening, includes a number of measures aimed at encouraging the elderly to “retire gradually” and at the same time learn new skills.

Speaking during the launch, Parliamentary Secretary for the Elderly Franco Mercieca said that the aim is to have a more inclusive, just and equal society. Elderly people should also have a bigger say in the decisions that affect them directly. “The elderly are still considered as a resource for the labour market and society. “

Echoing his words, Social Solidarity Minister Marie Louise Coleiro Preca said that the strategy aims to ensure that elderly people are offered every opportunity to live a higher quality life in the community.

The strategy encourages a more gradual and flexible retirement, and elderly people will be able to take part in training schemes.  The mentality that older people are not employable has to change.  “This strategy is the impetus that will transform Malta into a more age-friendly society.”

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the government is looking at active ageing in a holistic way. This is why the responsibility for the elderly was transferred from under the Health Ministry.

Dr Muscat said that longer life expectancy is a challenge the country is facing. “Two generations ago, the challenge was to formalize the welfare state. The story today is altogether different. We now have people who reach the retirement age but are still fit for work.”

The Prime Minister said that when it came to job seeking, older people should not come second to younger candidates. Everyone should be given the same opportunities. But the country also needs to generate more jobs for everyone.

The implementation phase is the most critical. This phase will see the implementation of standards for residential homes, where the aim is to have the elderly take control over the decisions that affect them. “Residential homes should not be parking lots for the elderly. They should be encouraged to remain active and come up with proposals on how the same homes should be run.”

National Commission on Active Ageing Chairman Marvin Formosa said that the strategy was drawn up after a wide consultation period. It does not recommend an increase in the retirement age. However it encourages the elderly to keep working.

Commission member Professor David Mamo spoke on the need to look for a long term vision on health promotion. The risks arising from the use of certain medicines will also be assessed and there will be a drive to strengthen the rehabilitation sector.

Dr Stephanie Xuereb, Director of the Department for the Elderly and Community Care, spoke on the importance of the elderly participating in voluntary activities and organizations. In this regard, the elderly should be provided with the relevant information on the voluntary sector.

The strategy will also encourage more people to participate in ICT courses. Dr Xuereb said that the participation rate for people over 55 in the EU remains quite low, at around 15%. Local Councils were also encouraged to appoint sub-committees on active aging. 

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