ENGS Position Paper for EGP Skopje

woman-3188744__340Ensure participation for the elderly in the corona pandemic and break through social isolation

 The corona pandemic is particularly hard on the elderly. They represent the largest risk group for serious and deadly courses of the virus infection. Therefore the health protection of the elderly is rightly the focus of efforts to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic as far as possible. Nursing homes are increasingly becoming hotspots for the infection process. According to a group of researchers from the London School of Economics that analyzed data from five European countries, every second death from a nursing home is reported. Protection against infection in such facilities is therefore of particular importance both for those in need of care and for staff.

Rethink the situation in old people’s homes. In order to prevent the virus from spreading in nursing homes, a strict separation of Covid 19 patients and non-infected people is implemented. In the beginning, isolation appears to be the most effective means of choice. In the long term, however, the isolation of people in need of care raises new pressing questions. In view of the fact that the pandemic cannot be dealt with in the short term, the health consequences of long-term isolation must be given greater consideration. Because loneliness and inactivity put a permanent strain on health. Numerous studies show that e.g. the risk of cardiovascular diseases through loneliness and social isolation increases. Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder occur more frequently and a long-term study in UK shows that the probability of developing dementia increases by 40%. The aim of modern elderly politics is that older people are active, flexible and in contact with society for as long as possible. This goal must not be lost sight of even in times of Corona.

Social contacts as health care. But loneliness doesn’t just affect people in nursing emotional-50309__340homes. Since people over 65 in particular live predominantly in one and two-person households, social contacts with the family, with neighbors, friends and acquaintances increase life satisfaction significantly. And this in turn strengthens the health. Some elderly are fit and healthy, some with previous illnesses, some in need of care. Freedom-related restrictions on freedom should therefore not be based on the date of birth, but rather as specifically as possible on the risk situations. With the opening of shelters, paths out of the isolation can be paved and participation in everyday life can be made possible again.

Promote digital participation. If a temporary blocking of contact cannot be prevented despite all concerns, at least digital participation in social life should be encouraged, e.g. via messenger services and video telephony. Especially in the age group up to mid-70s, many older people already have access to the Internet.

woman-3972560__340 Integrate working people over 60 properly. If, according to most experts, a relaxation of the measures is justifiable, comprehensive protective measures such as distance rules, protective masks, disinfectants and gloves are also indispensable outside of clinics or nursing homes. In our view, however, it would not be a solution to limit the professional life of people aged 60 and over significantly, if the elderlies want to work. Especially in educational areas such as day care centers or schools, it is unacceptable to leave older teachers or educators in front of the door “for self-protection”, if they don’t want to stay at home. Further work must be based on the actual risk and voluntariness.

From this follows: For a gradual exit from Corona, we need a strategy in all areas of public life that is based on the current and individual risk of those affected. Democracy must prevail despite the pandemic for all age groups. In political life and other places or occasions where decisions are made arrangements must be made to secure attendance of elderly. We we need a strategy that takes all generations with it.

 

 

2020-05-16, Christa

 

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Hamburg has a coalition agreement – good for elderly people!

IMG_5259Elections were just taking place in Hamburg – and now the Greens rule together with the Social Democrats. The coalition agreement has just been passed. With many good points for the older generation.
The contract has over 200 pages, the negotiations were very tough, and that was emphasized again and again. After all, two electoral winners wrestled with each other about what future politics for Hamburg should look like. And we GREEN have not managed to get a majority in the city. Nevertheless, there is a lot of green content in the contract. Our green 2nd Mayor, Katharina Fegebank, says: “We have a really good coalition agreement with a clear green signature. Many of the green ideas and visions for which we campaigned are now becoming a reality. Climate protection runs like a green thread through the coalition agreement. ”It is a shame, of course, that Hamburg will not officially join the WHO Age-Friendly City Network. But many of the content-related issues are mentioned in the contract.

Below you will find a list of the most important points.

The coalition agreement states:
We want to ensure cross-generational social participation for older people. The programs to promote innovative senior work will be further developed and strengthened if necessary. We will take into account that the needs and necessities differ depending on the social structure and other offers in the social area. Volunteering in open senior work is supported both qualitatively and quantitatively. The home visit for the 80th birthday is carried out permanently in all districts and developed further as needed.
With our demographic concept, we are also exemplary on an international scale and want to exchange and network with other cities. We are further developing the demography concept in the sense of an age-friendly city into a neighborhood-oriented action plan that is implemented across authorities. The newly established small-scale demographic monitoring provides the data basis for spatial focus areas. The focus should be on barrier-free living and mobility, local care and health and nursing care in the district. Online platforms and meeting points in the district should contribute to better networking of neighborhood aids.
The “Staying in the neighborhood” program supports the emergence of new forms of living that enable lifelong living in lively neighborhoods, even when people are in need of care. In addition, residential communities in old age and technical support for help are financially supported. At the federal level, we are also committed to ensuring that digital assistance systems in nursing and for age-appropriate living in nursing insurance are better taken into account.
Our quarters in the city should be adapted to the needs of older people. A variety of housing types and care facilities that open up to the district can support older people. Barrier-free or low-barrier apartments are a guiding principle in residential construction. In all districts, senior-friendly housing offers are to be created.
It is also about safe cycle paths, protected bikelanes, maintenance of cycle paths and footpaths, digitization, accessibility, places to meet, senior citizens’ meetings, a culture of participation, fair and equal participation for everyone, poverty should be combated on a sustainable basis. The central library is to become the home of the digital world, the range of public toilets is to be expanded to be accessible and gender-friendly.
In the future, the topic of senior citizens will be separated from nursing and come to the scientific area that Katharina is responsible for. I think that’s great, because the whole topic of seniors is a cross-cutting issue, there are overlaps with urban development, sport, health, environment etc.
The contract is a good basis to make Hamburg age-friendly! Here we go!

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Corona: Call for Convention on Europe Day

flag-2608475_960_720The European Green Seniors decided today, on Europe Day 2020, the following declaration:
We see it as our political responsibility to express our collective concern at this time of the tragedy that has hit us all.
COVID19 virus has hit the global community, the effects are devastating. It hit with the power of a gigantic earthquake that shook the foundations of societies around the world. No country was prepared for it, let alone had or still has drugs or vaccines against it. The scientific community is working closely to develop both, and expects a breakthrough after clinical studies are completed in 2021 at the earliest. They are doing their best to advise politicians about the medical aspects and effects of this pandemic.
It is now up to politicians to take measures to contain this pandemic and to adopt measures to protect the population.
While the current pandemic is slowing down, at least in some countries, some groups, including the older generation, are at greater risk of infection and mortality. It is imperative that no legal and moral rights are violated.
But much more than that: There are major challenges and changes worldwide. There can be no more neoliberal, finance and profit-oriented “business as usual”: not for the many disadvantaged people, whether old or young in the European Union, not for companies, trade, industry, transport, agriculture. And especially not for diplomatic relations within the Union.
Our generation was the founder of the Greens and saw the party develop into the positive force that it became worldwide. Without the Greens it would be unthinkable what would have happened to Europe. We are now senior citizens of the European Greens. Our voice, our mind, our visions are still strong.
We hereby propose: All European Greens organizations call on the European Union to discuss, negotiate and implement social adjustments and changes.
With green voices and vision, a socially just Europe can become a reality.
flag-2608475_960_720

2020-05-09, Board of European Network of Green Seniors

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Mistakes in Finland and uncoordinated exit in Germany

New informations from our ENGS Members in Germany and Finland

Foto klein Elfriede liebenow C.Moeller-MetzgerChrista from Hamburg

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of infections in Germany is developing positively. “The number of reported infections continues to fall. This is very good news, ”said President Lothar Wieler.  But the previous recommendations would have to be followed to keep the number of infections low. “Keeping distance is the new daily routine,” he said. The number of people infected with the corona virus in Germany are 163,860.  The RKI has recorded 6831 deaths so far. The number of those recovered was approximately 135,100.

In several german countries, however, there is sharp criticism of the uncoordinated advance. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) emphasized: “You can’t stay together if everyone has decided beforehand what to do.” Some countries may have given some the impression that carefree encounters are possible again.

In Hamburg the playgrounds are open again and church services are allowed again. Museums, memorials and zoos may also open subject to conditions. Individual sport outdoors is possible.

Visits to nursing homes continue to be prohibited and many residents suffer from loneliness and depression. The Hamburg Greens consider the strict ban to be wrong and are discussing the conditions under which easing may be possible. Some nursing homes have found creative solutions. The restrictions affect not only older people, but also young people with disabilities and restrictions.

 

IMG_4517Reino from Finland

The virus has now killed 240 Finns. Situation is quite good – intensive care facilities are still available because restrictions have been strict.

Most of the dead are elderly, as in all other countries. As I wrote earlier, defining who has died of corona and who of other diseases is not easy. In some countries, the number of deaths might include all deaths, not only deaths for corona.

The government of Finland is considered to have made three mistakes in managing the corona.

1. In the early days of the disease, ski tourists returning from Alps and other areas were allowed to continue their journey from the airport without supervision and guidance. Some left in their own cars, but most walked from the airport to bus or train. Only after a few days the public transport users were directed to a week of quarantine at the airport hotel.

2. There are not enough protective masks in emergency stocks, even for the use of medical staff, let alone ordinary citizens. Their acquisition was a serious failure by the Security of Supply Center. It ordered millions of masks from two shady entrepreneurs and even paid in advance. And finally, most of the masks turned out to be unsuitable for the purpose.

3. The government promised economic help for companies that would suffer the most from restrictions. The subsidies were started from small entrepreneurs who employed at most five people. The money was distributed by an agency called Business Finland, according to loose criteria. The Agency was established to support innovative companies and money was given e.g. for desk drawer companies without net sales, IT and media consultants, etc. A few public figures also received money to make TV programs, games, etc. Delicious material for the yellow press and TV. And, of course to the opposition.

Now the public debate shifted to the following topic: coronaexit. Yesterday (May 4), after two days meeting, the government announced the first steps to lift the restrictions. They were as follows:

• Libraries open immediately

• 14.5. kindergartens and primary schools are opened, work travel from Estonia is allowed and outdoor activities are opened

• 1.6. schools of second stage and universities are opened, restaurants will be opened as long as distances are taken care of, sports competitions will be allowed – without the public, museums, theaters, youth and club facilities, swimming pools and other indoor sports venues will be carefully opened and the gathering limit will be raised from 10 to 50 people; big events for more than 500 people will remain prohibited at least until 31.7.

The recommendation to use telework, where possible, remains valid. For people over the age of 70 the recommendation to avoid physical contact remains in force.

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Seniors in europe in times of corona

Our members of the board of green seniors actually all wanted to meet in Skopje in May – now it looks like we’re going to meet digitally. And we exchange ideas regularly to hear how everyone is doing in the different countries. Here comes a small excerpt from Finnland, Belgium and Sweden. Next more from Austria and Germany. And it would be great if you also wrote from other countries about how you are doing!

VivianneVivianne from Sweden, 3.4. und 15.4.20

I am totally isolatet in my summercottage in the archipelargo together with my partner. I have not gone by public transport or met anyone since 14 of March. We elderly can go to the shop for purchasing food in the morning between 7 and 8. I have not seen friends or relatives since February. In the politics we have reduced meetings as much as possible and the party meetings is taking place on telephone or Skype. Last saturday I was on two yearly meetings on computer. First 3,5 hours in the morning with Green party Stockholm and then 6 hours after lunch with Green party Stockholm Region. It was over 60 persons in each meeting. Very tiresome, I was exhausted for two days.
We do what we can to avoid the virus but we are not sitting inside all the time. We are walking every day to be in shape and we work in the garden. On TV we have got a gymnastik program every day half an hour an they send old films all the time.

“The situation with the pandemia prevails. In Sweden the curve for new incidents is flat and the situation in Stockholm is a bit better but we now have over 1000 dead with the middle age 59, 75% are men and 25 % women. Worse parts of Stockholm are two of the immigrant dense areas but that is not the fule in other parts. Now they have found virus in the waste water also and this is really scaring. I get a report every day from our cityadministration, both generally and for my part of the city. It is very sad to understand that the right safety equipment is scarce in the home care organisations and elderly homes. Most people who died are old and this is not uncommon with ordinarie fules eather but here it has to be due to bad instructions and equipment. Furthermore elderly in elderly homes with care are fragile already when they get into the homes. Most elderly are at home even if they are very old and need a lot of help both from home care and from the health care. Many get more than 25 different people visiting their home over a two week period.

PastedGraphic-1Reino from Finland, 15.4.20 and 18.4.20IMG_4517

Yesterday, there were 64 corona-based deaths in Finland – the number is still low compared to many other countries but obviously still rising. Two thirds of deaths have occurred in care homes for the aged (!!)
The news of today is that the isolation of Uusimaa region will be lifted as from today 13.00, even if the great majority of deaths have happened in Uusimaa. The reason for lifting the restriction is mainly legal – the proportional difference between Uusimaa and other regions is not anymore big enough.
Even if the restriction is lifted, the Government strongly recommends that people not move or travel to Lappland or to their summer cottages. Fortunately the weather does not attract moves to summer cottages – from yesterday on it’s snowing even in Helsinki.
On the other hand: the travel restrictions to neighbouring countries have been tightened – so even the workers shuttling from and to Estonia have been stopped from Holy Thursday. The shuttle boats only transport goods and truck drivers.
The schools, kindergartens, restaurants, cafes and bars remain still closed. Also the meetings of more than 10 people stay prohibited.
Face masks are not requested nor prohibited, but the Government does not recommend the use of them. They are too risky and unreliable and normal people don’t know how to use them properly.

 

Versie 2Kris from Belgium, 9.4.20

The Belgian situation was not the worst situation, but not also the best. Since the 15 March we are in lock down and in a strict quarantine system !!

You can live your home only for a little walk (only or with max 3 persons from the same family),  to buy food or to go at your work (necessary – because the mainstream is to work by internet). We have a population of 11 million people with 1,3 million are temporary unemployed. Even in our country, elder people suffers more from the corona crisis. And now we have a  strong emergency plan in the retirement homes.  But it is clear that the poorest people and families are hardest hit. It is not easy to live in a small apartment with three adults and four children.

The situation has now stabilized. It seems that we have reached “the peak”. The quarantine period runs just to 15 April. But an extantion just to the end of April is probably.  However, normality will take a long time. Probably until September when the schools starts again. Travel will be allowed sparingly. And above 65 people will not be able to board the plane. Maybe people of other countries are allowed to travel (Austria, Denmark ??) , but it is sure that not every country will be ready on that time. We only have more clarity from April 15. But I’m afraid we won’t be able to travel before July.

As member of the urban sociale services of the city of Leuven, I was fully involved (and I still I am) in setting up urgent aid systems for this people. Fortunately, the population responded quickly with many volunteers. And most of them young people. In the meantime we learned to have regular meetings with videoconferences. (zoom and other programs).  And also with our children and grandchildren we are in contact with apps, video and together systems.

If you need a doctor, only by your homedoctor. He/she will indicate a hospital if you need. No shops, no restaurants, no theater or concerts, no hairdresser, and so on.

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Presentation in Tampere: New Finnish Policy for the Elderly

IMG_4517Reino Lampinen (photo on the right), Secretary of the Aged Greens in Finland, spoke at the fringe meeting in Tampere, alongside the 30th meeting of EGP Council, about the New Finnish Policy of Elderly. Here comes his presentation:

Bildschirmfoto 2019-11-20 um 15.07.42The new Government

  • After the elections in April 2019 the negotiations on the new Government were started, led by the Social Democrats.
  • In a short while, and rather easily, a new coalition was formed.
  • It consists from members of the SDP, Centre Party, Greens, Left and Swedish – the Centre Party is the only one from the former Government.
  • This coalition represents 56 % of the votes, hence it has a quite clear majority.

The Greens in the GovernmentBildschirmfoto 2019-11-20 um 15.28.52

  • There are now 20 Green MP’s, compared to 15 in the former Parliament (total number of the MP’s is 200).
  • There are three Green Ministers in the new Government, and they have very heavy posts:
  1. External affairs
  2. Internal Affairs
  3. Environment and Climate

The Programme

The Programme starts with a very ambitious sentence:

“Climate change, globalisation, urbanisation, the ageing of the population and technological development are all transforming Finland and the world perhaps faster than ever before.”

Pledge for fair and equal treatment across generations

Older people are worried about the availability and quality of services and how they will be able to cope. … we want to guarantee a dignified old age for everyone so that nobody is left alone.

Attaining the employment goal requires measures that support the supply of and demand for labour and alleviate the labour market mismatch:

Employment of older people and others with poor employment prospects will be increased.

A socially sustainable and egalitarian EU

Decision-making within the EU will underscore the importance of measures against age discrimination and promote greater inclusiveness among older people and the notion of dignified old age.

Accessibility in the living environment, in services and in digitalisation, as well as lifelong learning and age-friendly work will be promoted within the EU.

Fostering an age-friendly society

Finland will be a more age-friendly society that recognises and prepares for the social effects of its ageing population.

Older people are not only service users; they are also an important resource in society.

The aim is to raise the number of healthy years, improve people’s functional capacity and secure efficient and timely services.

Reinforcing wellbeing and functional capacity

The Government will prepare a horizontal programme on ageing in collaboration with ministries, municipalities, third sector organisations and other actors.

The Government will bring the preventive measures against memory disorders in step with the prevention of other chronic diseases.

An office of an ombudsperson on older people’s rights will be established.

Improving services

The Act on Care Services for Older Persons will be updated, and the scope, quality and effectiveness of services for older people will be improved.

A statutory minimum staffing level of 0.7 for care personnel in units providing 24-hour care will be enacted.

Care intensity will be used as the main criterion for determining appropriate staffing levels.

Most older people live at home, hence the quality and resourcing of home care will be developed

Government age programme in Finland 8.11.2019 10 alongside 24-hour care provision.

Reforming social security

EUR 183 million will be used to increase the smallest pensions by around EUR 50 a month in net terms. The increase would be targeted at those whose pension is less than EUR 1,000 a month.

The increase will be implemented through the national pension and guarantee pension systems.

A tripartite review will be started on how to improve the status of pensioners with the lowest earnings-based pensions within the employment pension system. The review will also examine ways to introduce a net increase of EUR 100 to pensions that are less than EUR 1,400 a month without increasing the level of pension insurance contributions.

Plenty of promises – any achievements?

The new Government has already released bills and budget proposals in order to meet the promises.

A working group prepares a horizontal programme on ageing.

An ombudsperson on older people’s rights was included in 2020 budget.

Social and Health Ministry’s working group has prepared a draft bill to increase the staffing level on care personnel to 0.7 per patient in 24-hour care units.

Smallest pensions will be raised by EUR 50 a month – the money required is included in 2020 budget.

Problems?

Money! Finland got a letter from the European Commission – the Finnish budget deviates from the recommendation of the Commission.

Politics! Not only Commission but also the opposition Parties in Finland will oppose vigorously some of the proposals.

Next elections! The monthly polls on the popularity of the parties show that the Finns Party has constantly increased its share, and in the latest poll had 23,0 percent of supporters.

You might be eager to tell us about programmes and plans in your countries!

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Three-year annual report for 2016-19

ENGS holds every third year an election of the board at the General Assembly. Usually ENGS holds a General assembly every year. Our General Assembly and most of the board meetings take place during the EGP meetings. We attend the EGP arrangements and put forward our view on the actual topics if they have got aspects affecting elderly. Examples are proposals of a third pillar in EU and the 2018 election manifesto. We attend the amendment and voting sessions and express our positions but we cannot vote. We try to get sympathy for our standpoints among the elected EGP members from our own countries. At all meetings we have had information stalls where people from the board are present and answer the questions of other people.

During the period 2016-19 the following meetings have taken place.

  • 20 May 2016               board meeting and General assembly, election meeting, Utrecht
  • 2-3 Dec 2016               two board meetings, Glasgow
  • 1 April 2017                 board meeting, Liverpool
  • 29-29 July 2017          board meeting, Hamburg
  • 24 Nov 2017                board meeting and General assembly, Karlstad
  • 19 May 2018                board meeting Antwerp
  • 23-25 Nov 2018          board meeting and General assembly Berlin
  • 3 Oct 2019                   board meeting Wien
  • 8-10 Nov                      board meeting and General assembly election meeting Tampere

General assembly, election meeting, Utrecht

The board was elected as follows:

  • Annette Muggenthaler, Germany, chair
  • Vivianne Gunnarsson, Sweden vice-chair
  • Franc Hauser, Germany, secretary general
  • Tony Cooreman, Belgium, treasurer
  • Birgit Meinhard-Schiebel, Austria, press officer
  • Reino Lampinen, Finland, legal officer

The meeting followed the agenda for the general assembly and a proposal about change of the statutes.

Board meeting Utrecht

The meeting was constitutional and planning next period.

Fringe meeting Utrecht

The meeting was an open round table. Due to the recent attacks in Paris, Ankara and Brussels the round table discussed democracy and a peaceful society ending in a written statement about: We the older generation are also responsible for how future generations can live together in solidarity.

Board meeting Glasgow

ENGS had two board meetings. The first was held to follow activities in different countries and formalities about budget and changed statutes. The second was to plan activities to get more members and more countries interested in the activities of ENGS. It was decided to produce a folder about the organisation. This was realised 2017.

Fringe meeting in Glasgow

The topic of our seminary was the gender pension gap. The pictures from the seminary and a short report were put together and published in facebook.

Board Meeting in Liverpool

The meeting took up formalities and discussed the French proposal: Strengthen the pillar of Social Rights – an age perspective. ENGS commented the proposal in the EGP voting session.

Fringe meeting in Liverpool

The meeting was a discussion on strengthening the situation for elderly in Europe, together with the Green Seniors of England and Wales and with attendance also from Australia and different European countries.

Board meeting Hamburg

An extra meeting was held to sort out the future after the chairwoman had left ENGS.

It was decided to share the work between the Board members. The vice-chair would take on the responsibility as chair until next General assembly which should be hold in Karlstad. A by-election would be arranged at that meeting. The board was invited to a meeting with Hamburg seniors by their chair Christa Muller.

General assembly Karlstad

The General assembly was held and ENGS had made efforts to find persons for the vacancies at the Board but no-one volunteered. Hence it was decided that the vice-chair ought continuously take on the responsibility.

Board meeting Karlstad

It was decided that Vivianne Gunnarsson should be temporarily chair until next autumn and Kris Fierens should be a co-treasurer (under Tony Cooreman’s illness).  It was also decided to invite Christa Muller to the board meetings (hopefully to take a seat at the board in the future). The plan for next fringe meeting was to combine seniors’ voluntary work and the labour market for elderly. The resolution in Liverpool from the French group on strengthening the pillar of Social Rights was not carried but the EGP council decided on a proposal by Ska Keller to set up an activity group to elaborate the resolution. ENGS will ask for a place there.

Fringe meeting Karlstad

The title of the fringe meeting was “No discrimination on the job market”. ENGS made an introduction to the topic followed by a lecture by the Swedish Parliamentarian, Stefan Nilsson.

The conclusion is that there exists age discrimination all over Europe and that people fall out from the job market earlier than ever.

Board meeting Antwerpen

We went through internal questions such as budget, contact list and e-mail addresses. The Flemish greens had put forward a resolution on the 3-pillar issue that ENGS had made amendments on. Two of these were taken by EGP.

Parts of the board visited our founder Tony Cooreman who was in hospital since a long time.

During the summer he died and left us in bereavement. Shed peace over his memory.

Fringe meeting Antwerpen

ENGS held a seminary on the issue “Loosing elections by losing the elderly voters” beginning with an introduction by Secretary General Frank Hauser.

ENGS sent 3rd July 2018 a note on the Antwerp fringe meeting results, based on Frank’s presentation, to Monica Frassoni, Reinhardt Bütikofer and Mar Garcia/EGP to use in the manifesto. In this note we pointed out topics of importance for the elderly in EU:

-               old age poverty,

-               accommodation and neighbourhood,

-               mobility,

-               discrimination of the elderly (as early as from 45 – 50 years) in the job market,

-               passing on of experience – life-long learning,

-               voluntary work,

-               access to health care – at home, nursing home or hospital?

-               assistance to elderly migrants,

-               generation policy empowered by both young and old.

Mar Garcia answered 11 July: ”Thank you very much for your concise report! We will bring it to the Committee meeting that is happening this weekend with the aim to take it into account in a build-up of the Manifesto. 

General Assembly Berlin

The general meeting went through the formal issues and there was a discussion about the chair since Vivianne Gunnarsson had taken on the responsibility until the autumn 2018. No new names had been visible for the post. Hence Vivianne promised to sit until someone else comes forward, hopefully next general meeting.

ENGS had arranged a table with a book and photo of Tony Cooreman for people to give condolence.

Board meeting Berlin

Besides formalities we discussed the preparation of amendments or other input to the ongoing EGP-meeting i.e. from the EGP Activity plan. We discussed preparations for the elections of a new board next spring (unfortunately the meeting in spring 2019 was cancelled due to the EU elections). Another issue was the upcoming EU election and our efforts to increase the membership.

Fringe meeting Berlin

More elderly to vote in the EU elections, round table discussion.

Forthcoming meeting:

Board meeting in Vienna

Extra board meeting to make plans for Tampere and future of ENGS.

General assembly in Tampere with election of the board for next 3 years

Election of a new board.

Board meeting Tampere

New members of the board plan the future of ENGS.

Fringe Meeting Tampere

New Finnish Government programme – policy for the elderly, seminary with invited guests and invited seniors from Tampere.

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Invitation to the General Assembly in Tampere, Finland 8-10. November 2019

Vienna
4 October 2019

Dear representatives of Green Seniors

You are cordially invited to the next General Assembly (GA) on the European Network of Green Seniors. The Assembly will convene Saturday 9 November 2019 at 13.00 – 14.15 in Tampere, Helsinki alongside the 30th meeting of EGP Council. The venue of the GA will be the venue of the EGP Council, namely Tampere-hall, Yliopistonkatu 55, 33100 Tampere, Finland.

This invitation is sent to all Member associations of the EGP. We cordially ask you to distribute this information to your Green senior’s association or, if no such association exists, to the senior members of your Party. (If there isn’t a Green Senior association in your country, we would strongly recommend establishing one. The population in all European countries is ageing and the Green movement cannot prosper if the older generations are not drawn to the activity of the Green Parties.)

In accordance with Article 6.3 of our Statutes (https://www.greenseniors.eu/about-us/statutes-engs/) the GA convenes once a year. The agenda for the meeting is the following:
1. Opening – Chair of the meeting, secretary, confirmation
2. Confirmation of entitled to vote
3. Notice to attend the GA
4. Approval of the minutes of the last GA in Berlin 2018
5. Elections of chairwoman/man, treasurer, secretary general, decision about the number of members of the Board, election of Board members in addition to the elected ones
6. Annual report for 2018 and three year report for 2016-2018
7. Financial report for 2018
8. Audit
9. GA gives approval of the period´s performance to the previous Board
10. Membership fee
11. Plan and budget and the current finances
12. Proposals from the Board
13. Motions from members
14. Other questions raised in the beginning of the meeting
15. Closure.

The Board kindly asks everyone who is interested to join the Board and in particular in the role of the chairperson for ENGS to notify her/himself by sending a CV to our Secretary General Frank Hauser hauser@hauserfrank.de by 26 October 2019 at the latest.

Vice-Chairperson Vivianne Gunnarsson

Secretary General Frank Hauser

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GREEN AND ACTIVE IN OLD AGE!

19 Feb 2019 Finnish Greens’ Parliamentary Fraction published their senior policy guidelines, prepared in cooperation with the Aged Greens in Finland and Helsinki area Evergreens. You can read the guidelines hereunder:

“Green senior policy is based on respect for elderly people. Elderly people have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and abilities. Their active social participation entails benefits for all of us and is, above all, a source of pleasure for themselves. Each aged person deserves to get good-quality care and support in every-day life and, likewise, versatile stimuli.

The essential thing in good old age is to retain one’s decision-power regarding one’s life. Elderly persons shall have a right to full life and to self-realization within their physical and mental capabilities. The Greens support an active role of elderly people as citizens.

(1)        Sufficient livelihood to everybody

The total monthly retirement pension of nearly every fourth pensioner is under one thousand EURO. The position of women living alone and over 75 years of age is especially weak. The livelihood of pensioners getting the lowest incomes has to be improved.

We want to:

-        make a fair increase in the amount of the guaranteed pension;

-       ensure that in case of an equally high pension or salary, the take-home amount is equal; and

-       harmonize the maximum amounts of medicine, travel, and patient charges.

(2)        Flexibility at working life

Employees approaching the retirement age are a resource for enterprises and Society. Working life has to be improved through the introduction of flexible working hours for ageing persons.

We want to:

-        extend working careers by flexible and tailor-made arrangements;

-       improve job well-being through enabling part-time hours at the approach of retirement; and

-       prevent age discrimination in all situations.

(3)        Good care

Each elderly person deserves to get high-quality care. Families and the personnel shall be able to report mistreatment without fearing consequences.

We want to:

-       ensure a sufficient number of nurses to be stipulated by legislation;

-       improve the surveillance on implemented care; and

-       create national rules regulating home care by family members.

(4)     It pays to look after one’s health

Independence and the possibility to decide on one’s life improve the life-quality of an ageing person. Meaningful occupation supports the well-being of seniors.

We want to:

-       establish elderly people’s welfare clinics;

-       provide pay-checks for motioning and cultural activities, and arrange daily outing facilities; and

-       give also support to the rehabilitation of severely disabled persons older than 65 years.

(5)        Loneliness to be prevented together

The experience of loneliness does not depend on age or gender. Many lonely seniors are suffering from memory disturbances, depression, and lack of safety, which all contributes to increased social isolation.

We want to:

-       encourage joint activities by nurseries, schools, and elderly people’s homes;

-       support friend and senior social work; and

-       cut traffic charges for elderly people.

(6)        Housing according to phase of life and individual wishes

Regarding housing arrangements of elderly persons, each senior’s own wishes are to be complied with in the first place. Instead of expensive institutional care, less heavy collective alternatives are to be preferred.

We want to:

-       offer various kinds of housing forms to elderly people;

-       provide to married couples the possibility of spending their old age together; and

-       ensure local services by sound community planning, transport pools, and digital services.

(7)         Accessibility inherent in daily life

Accessibility is vital element of moving, running errands, acoustics, seeing, and perceiving. Equal and non-discriminatory services shall be the principle running through all public planning and construction.

We want to:

-       reinforce home services for seniors;

-       facilitate the moving of elderly persons and persons without cars; and

-       support the installation of elevators.

(8)        More taste of life to senior days through participation

Elderly persons shall be listened to in relevant decisions. The Greens want to encourage elderly persons to take part in decision-making at all levels.

We want to:

-       establish the office of an Ombudsman for Seniors ;

-       stabilize the position of local Old People’s Councils; and

-       increase the possibilities of elderly people to contribute to decision-making.”

PLEASE INFORM US ABOUT YOUR OWN WISHES!

Heli Järvinen, MP, Vice Chairman of Parliamentary Committee for Working Life and Equality

Tel. +358 50 512 1736

e-mail: heli.jarvinen@eduskunta.fi

Reino Lampinen, Chair/Aged Greens

+358 50 5151 303

reino@lampinen.eu

Auni-Marja Vilavaara, Chair/Evergreens of

Helsinki Region (IKIVI)

+358 50 542 5174

auni.marjavilavaara@live.com

 

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Bulletin on climate change from Finnish elderly Greens

From Reino Lampinen, legal officer, Finland

In Finland, this spring we will have two major elections: parliamentary elections in April and as all others, EU Parliament elections in May. The political Parties are busy in preparing material and standpoints for the elections.

In all countries where the Greens are a political Party, it has been known as a Party for the young. We, the aged Greens in Finland, wanted to remind the members of our own Party as well as the other political Parties that also we elderly are concerned about the climate change. We distributed this text to the other Parties and media. And, on purpose, the day when IPCC published its request to keep the warming under 1,5 degrees.

Finnish bulletin 2018

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