Local Agenda on Ageing in 1990s

Neighbourhoods, families and individuals

Local government, town community leaders, families and individuals may wish, as appropriate, to:

  • Integrate the needs of older persons in urban and community planning, including for housing, transport, health and social services, bearing in mind the diversity of older persons including, among others, indigenous elders, migrants and refugees;
  • Draft local plans of action on ageing in co-operation with representatives of olderl persons, and support establishment of community-based organizations on ageing including "99 committees" to spearhead preparations for the International Year;
  • Establish senior advisory groups ("silver legislatures"), comprising seniors who advise local Government on community matters, especially those concerning ageing;
  • Open a seniors' bureau to establish and maintain a directory of seniors according to talent and expertise, and a parallel directory of paid and unpaid opportunities in community development;
  • Arrange a lecture series for and by seniors, for example by: a family educator on mutual care-giving in the family; an agriculturalist on improving farming or gardening; an accountant on financial planning; a physiotherapist on physical exercise; a doctor on nutrition; a pharmacist on drugs; a police officer on safety and security, and a lawyer on making wills and on recourse in case of abuse:
  • Open community training-cum-recreational centres, in co-operation with local enterprises, which would serve older and other citizens currently under-employed and wishing to improve their entitlements and capabilities;
  • Commission a history of the district, by a group of seniors and, for example, girl and boy scouts or other citizens. Information could be collected from libraries, local historical societies, individuals, museums and historic sites;
  • Organize sports tournaments, encompassing all age groups;
  • Support family integration and solidarity through dialogue in schools, community forums, and local media on: inter-generational exchanges, family consultation, equitable task-sharing within the family, especially care-giving, causes and remedies of abuse of older persons in a domestic setting or family;
  • Introduce surrogate kinship programmes of families or community groups for older persons living alone, as an aid to their remaining in the community:
  • Establish comprehensive community care systems spanning the formal and informal sectors;
  • Integrate residential homes and day centres in the wider community, and involve residents and their families in planning and running services;
  • Introduce or support practices that ensure dignity in death, support in bereavement, and respect for the wishes of older persons in these regards.

The Business Sector

Where not already established, the business sector and professional societies and individuals may wish to:

  • Establish employment agencies to identify and promote suitable work opportunities and environments for seniors in consultation with seniors;
  • Expand life-long on-the-job training and retraining opportunities for new technologies, community service, and income-security in old age;
  • Support senior enterprises and co-operatives in their initial stages including, for example, small-scale print shops, laundries, farms, mills, bakeries and so on. These could be established in or close to residential homes for the ageing;
  • Examine whether expanding work opportunities for seniors in the neighbourhood implies contracting work opportunities for the young, and whether both age groups could co-operate on joint projects;
  • Organize a seniors' trade show for seniors who are plumbers, weavers, herbalists, farmers, nurses, electricians, accountants, carpenters, photographers and artists;
  • Issue a seniors' directory listing seniors willing to share expertise and support local, national and international development efforts;
  • Prepare a manual on income-generating activities by seniors to which end local business clubs and organizations may provide useful advice, models and practical support;
  • Publish a handbook on fund-raising for local self-help or service organizations to enable them to tap financial backing from different sources;
  • Request community leaders to issue business awards to enterprises that have special rates for seniors, give generously to seniors' organizations, or make other significant contributions to seniors' well-being;
  • Support employees who are care-givers through introducing flexible work hours, and integrated day-care centres for dependants of all ages, possibly in co-operation with the local Government and the voluntary service sector;
  • Introduce flexible retirement ages and practices and organize pre-retirement consultations;
  • Design and market a wider and more attractive range of health-promoting goods and services for all ages, which would especially benefit the ageing.

Schools and Colleges

Surveys, youth assemblies on ageing and other activities appropriate for schools and colleges are listed elsewhere in this action programme. Additionally, universities, open universities, Universities of the Third Age, community colleges, junior and high schools may wish, as appropriate, to:

  • Expand education for seniors by (i) opening to them a number of places in regular courses at reduced rates or free of charge, (ii) organizing special courses for seniors on themes directly relating to ageing, such as health maintenance, income security and changing images of older persons;
  • Arrange lectures and workshops for journalists, advertisers, architects, employers, social and health care-givers, family care-givers, volunteers, and members of local government on the implications of an ageing population and options in responding to it;
  • Conduct surveys, in co-operation with seniors for use in developing local plans and programmes on ageing, including, for example, a survey of training needs of the ageing, their families and socio-economic and political institutions. A parallel survey could be conducted on the preparedness of adult and other educational institutions to provide the required training;
  • Write and perform an oral history play where, first, a group of students make tape-recordings of seniors talking about their lives and then write a play on the basis of the recordings, in which seniors would play themselves as they are today and youth would play the seniors as they were during the events recorded;
  • Launch a poster and/or essay competition offering prizes for the poster or essay that best depicts a theme related to inter-generational co-operation. Prizes could be donated by local business or shops; winning posters could be exhibited, and the best essays published or broadcast by the local media;
  • Establish gerontology as a core subject for students of social sciences, journalism, education, as well as nursing and medicine where geriatrics may also be made a core subject;
  • Organize exchanges between retired teachers in developed and developing countries to support literacy as well as cultural understanding and enrichment.

The Media

Thirty-eight suggestions are given in the Local Agenda on Ageing for the 1990s, encompassing neighbourhoods, families and individuals; the business sector; schools and colleges; and the media.