Social policy for the third age people

Ageing population in developed countries is in our time a crucial issue provoking serious social, economic, welfare, and health complications. Especially in Greece, increased life expectancy and the dramatic fall of birth rate, results in our country as one of the most aged nations around the world along with Italy, Germany and Sweden. While in the U.S., the population’s proportion of people aged 60 years and over is 16.5%, in Greece this figure is 22.3%. The projection for the year 2030, reveals that the number of people over 60 years in our country, according to the National Statistical Service of Greece (NSSG) will be increased by 10%, reaching 1/3 of the total population.

The declining fertility and the modern way of leaving are changing the structure of Greek society and of the family structure. The grandparents these days almost surpass in total numbers the children. Today, a hundred children under the age of 15 account for 71 elderly people over 65 years. The year 2020, according to a survey of EKKE, the number of elderly people will be equal with the number of the children under 15. In correspondence, in the year 1853, the percentage of elderly was 3.2% and youth under 15 years 41.2%.

Building a trustworthy social care and protection system for the elderly, requires enormous spending of significant state funds. Today it is needed the radical expansion and upgrade of the whole range of policy measures and infrastructures such as KAPI shelters, elderly assistance programs at home, with the simultaneous promotion of the social assistants statute, and the substantial increase of the number of social care facilities. It is s also vital to strengthen the significance of volunteering, and of preserving the traditional Greek family ties, especially between the youth and the elderly. The role of Local Authorities, of the Church and various voluntary organizations and collective efforts are equally important.

Third age regarding the whole operation of the economy consist a growing quantitative and qualitative size. A complex set of workers, entrepreneurs, service and manufacturing, is operating and growing focused on this age group.The rapid growth of health spending, and the retirement, social security, housing, recreation and tourism costs, is directly linked with this reality. Entrepreneurs, professionals, technologists, researchers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, tax consultants, social workers, elderly people carers, physical therapists, workers and employees of industrial units, banks, recreation and tourism workers, all they depend upon the presence and care of older people.

Common point in the development and reform of health care systems of European countries is to promote an integrated network of primary health care and long-term care, which will provide a wide range of services to the community primarily in the residence of users. Indicatively, a few steps on the path of proposals for reform:

  • Coordinated evaluation and network assessment and identification of user needs and consequent design of the plan of care to meet these needs.
  • A standard way to access care services at home and to improve the availability and accessibility of the care services for people coming from the province.
  • Official development of cooperation networks between primary care physicians, hospitals and other health care providers to facilitate the provision of long-term care and tailored management of each case.
  • In the field of home care, it is required the development and coordination of surveillance and information systems and the support of these networks.
  • Creation of developing policies that foster cost-effective service solutions through a coordinated, continuous and constant care management, while they provide stability for clients, families and service providers.
  • Design of the organization process concerning home care and community care structures from the health system and local care networks.
  • To explore new options for providing support and assistance to families and informal home carers
  • The search for ways and methods for the wider adoption of technology (e-health and telemedicine) in the home environment and community services in general.
  • To encourage cooperation between home carers, suppliers and nursing home care, with the aim of achieving innovative, affordable and effective regulation of the elderly person’s life.
  • To continue exploring ways in which these challenges will ensure continuity, coordination, integration of care, individualization of home care and to ensure adequate human resources operation
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