Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume 6, Issue 5, September 2018, Pages: 143-149
Received: Sep. 25, 2018;
Accepted: Oct. 25, 2018;
Published: Nov. 19, 2018
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Esther Sitges Macia, Department of Health Psychology, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, Elche, Spain
María del Carmen Segura, Department of Social and Human Sciences, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, Elche, Spain
Enrique Conejero Paz, Department of Social and Human Sciences, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, Elche, Spain
Rapid population aging and the constant rise in human longevity represent one of the greatest social, cultural, economic and political transformations of today, especially in developed countries and, as a consequence of this, population aging has become one of the most important challenges for modern societies. In this regard, the World Health Organization said that due to the increase in life expectancy and the decline in the fertility rate, the proportion of people over 60 years of age is increasing more rapidly than any other age group in almost all countries. The aging of the population can be considered a success of public health policies and socio-economic development, but it also constitutes a challenge for society, which must adapt to this in order to improve the health and functional capacity of older people as well as their social participation and their security. For this reason, it is necessary to design political initiatives that are capable of responding to the different social demands but which, in turn, safeguard the rights of elderly people, focusing their activity on the concept of Active Aging, as proposed at the II World Assembly on Aging (2002). In Spain due to health policies and a healthier lifestyle has increased life expectancy, in this sense it is expected that Spain is the country in 2040 with this indicator highest in the world with a life expectancy of 85.8 years. On the other hand, the current design of the Spanish pension system is unsustainable in the long term since it has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. This document aims to deepen the debate on aging in Spain from a political and social perspective, based on the approach that active and healthy aging opens a window of opportunity for social and political innovation.
Esther Sitges Macia,
María del Carmen Segura,
Enrique Conejero Paz,
Challenges of the Aging Policies in Spain, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Vol. 6, No. 5,
2018, pp. 143-149.
See Bernice L. Neugarten, Los significados de la edad. Barcelona: Herder, 1999.
In this sense Juarez (1997) expresses this well: “population aging constitutes a new sociopolitical phenomenon that concerns developed societies”, see Miguel Juarez, “Política social para personas mayores”. In Mª del Carmen Aleman & Jorge Garces (coords), Política Social. Madrid: McGraw-Hill, 1997, pp. 447-478.
In the Prologue to the IAP, countries were urged to consider it “as an integral part of the main regional, national and international programs and strategies formulated in response to important worldwide problems and needs. Its main targets are to strengthen the capacity of countries to effectively address the aging of their population, to attend to the concerns and special needs of the elderly and to promote a suitable international response to the problems of aging through measures for the establishment of the new world economic order and increasing international technical cooperation activities, particularly among developing countries. See http://www.un.org/es/comun/docs/?symbol=A/RES/47/5, accessed on 10th March, 2018.
The tendency from the biological perspective to promote a negative view of aging is already a phase overcome, since there has been a transfer of the conventional definition of aging as a stage of decline and loss of cognitive function to an important historical change in the Psychology of aging, see P. B. Baltes; A. M. Freund, & S. C. Li. “The psychological science of human ageing”. In M. J. Johnson, V. L. Bengston, & P. Coleman (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 47-71.
See María R. Belando. & Anne M. Sarlet, “Políticas de atención a la vejez en los sectores sanitario y social”, in Jose Buendia (ed.), Gerontología y salud, perspectivas actuales. Madrid: Editorial Biblioteca Nueva, 1997, pp. 199-232.
Report on the Second World Assembly on Aging, Madrid, from 8th to 12th April 2002. A/Conf.197/9.
The former UN General Secretary, Kofi Anan, in his opening address, urged the 189 attending countries to build a proper society for everyone of all ages and highlighted that aging is now definitely not just a first world problem. What was of secondary importance in the XXth century is on the road to becoming a dominant theme in the XXIst century.
At the end of the 20th century, a new paradigm of aging emerged that has been transformed according to its terminology such as successful aging (Rowe & Kahn, 1987), good aging (Fries, 1989), healthy aging (WHO, 1990), competent aging (Fernandez-Ballesteros, 1996), or active aging (WHO, 2002). See John W. Rowe & Robert L. Kahn. Human aging: Usual and successful. Science, 237, 1987, pp. 143-149; James F. Fries. Aging well. New Cork: Addison-Wesley, 1989; Rocio Fernandez-Ballesteros. Psicologia del envejecimiento: crecimiento y declive. Madrid: Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, 1996.
See World Health Organisation. Active Aging. A Policy Framework. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2002, p. 12.
In the Spanish constitution it is contemplated that Public authorities will guarantee, through adequate and regularly updated pensions, economic self-sufficiency for citizens during old age. Similarly, they will promote wellbeing through a social services system and will attend to specific health, housing, culture and leisure problems.
The National Gerontological Plan was presented at the beginning of 1993, this Plan aimed to bring together the different policies on the elderly and improve social services. This program was agreed between the Central Administration and the different autonomous communities, and it included programs such as Residences, Home Help and Telecare.
See the Plan de acción para personas mayores 2003-2007 (Plan of action for elderly people 2003-2007). Ministry for Employment and Social Affairs (IMSERSO), 2003.
See Proposals for the development of European Union Council guidelines, of December 6th 2012, regarding elderly people. Debate document, at http://www.imserso.es/imserso_01/mas_informacion/agenda/2014/febrero/IM_083029, accessed on 12th July, 2018.
Feliciano Villar et al., Abordando la diversidad en el envejecimiento activo: Una propuesta de clasificación, Aula Abierta, 47(1), 2018, pp. 55-62.
See Joan Subirats, Una concepción del envejecimiento abierta e inclusiva. Edad y ciudadanía. Aula Abierta, 47(1), 2018, pp 13-20.
See Aitor Urrutia, Envejecimiento activo: un paradigma para comprender y gobernar. Aula Abierta, 47(1), 2018, p. 35.
See Joan Subirats, Op. Cit, in this regard he also argues that the full insertion of the elderly in Spanish society it does not just happen to have guaranteed dignified living conditions, enjoy individual autonomy and see their personal and collective specificity recognized.
See Aging 2.0 and the 8 challenges on aging: 1. Engagement and Purpose; 2. Financial Wellness; 3. Mobility and Movement; 4. Daily Living and Lifestyle; 5. Caregiving; 6. Care Coordination; 7. Brain Health; 8. End of Life, in https://www.aging2.com/about/, accessed on 17th June, 2017.
See Aitor Urrutia, Op. Cit, pp. 29-36.
See R. Serrat, et al. “Factors associated with Spanish older people’s membership in political organizations: the role of active aging activities”. European Journal of Ageing,1, 2015, pp.239-247.