Why Age-friendly Cities are so important for the future?

Online talk on Saturday, 5. December 2020, 10–11:15 am

In Germany, around 30% of all people will be over 65 years of age in 2030, a development that can also be seen in many other European countries. The number of very old people in particular will increase. In order to be prepared for the demographic change, we need excellent concepts, such as the age-friendly concept of the WHO. Examples of Age-friendly cities and communities from different European Countries.

Christa Möller, HamburgSpeaker: Christa Möller-Metzger, MbHB, Seniors-Spokeswoman of the Green Faction in the Hamburg Parliament, Boardmember European Network of Green Seniors and Federal Green Seniors

Study of Biology, History, Sociology, State Examination; Editor, Head of Department in the largest publishing house in Germany, now freelance journalist, member of the Hamburg Parliament, senior policy spokeswoman senior.

On how to join …

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More mobility for older people in Hamburg

IMG_7270Recently, the Hamburg-based Green 60plus had a video conference with the State Working Group on Transport and Traffic – and our Green Transport/Traffic Senator Anjes Tjarks took part in it. The main topic was the Green 60plus bus paper – but at first there was an introduction by Christa Möller to age-friendly city and mobility:

What we want in general are: well-lit footpaths and wide cycle paths, longer traffic light phases, i.e. by individual chips that extend the traffic light phases, plans for fully accessible walks, age-friendly benches that are not only in parks, but on the daily paths, accessibility in transport, no stumble traps on the trails, but footpaths, which are regularly upgraded and a free HVVcard upon voluntary by giving back the driver’s license.

You can find our paper – in German – with the specific wishes for barrier-free, age-appropriate bus rides here:

https://www.gruenealte.de/bus-10-punkte-plan/

The traffic senator sees many of our points already or soon implemented. What is still missing in our view is enough space for rollators and bicycles in the busses. Bicycles are important for older people, if they are not able to cope with part of the routes so well and drive a bit by bus, then continue cycling.

We learned that the introduction of an anonymous prepaid card, which can be used to pay at vending machines on the bus, is being planned. We are also working on a special check-in and -out offer that is billed via an app and always automatically calculates, which ticket is the cheapest for the journey to make.

In our opinion, the question of communicating with the drivers of busses has not yet been solved. There is a camera in the bus, but when someone with a walking disability enters the bus, that is not enough. Drivers often go too fast because they don’t notice the problems. This would be for example a special call button which so far is only available for wheelchair-users. That’s a good way to expand it.

And there should be more seats at the stops. So far often only three people can sit. In addition, the seats are very narrow and there are no backs which would make it easier to get up. We remain in conversation with our Green politicians.

Author: Ursula Jäger

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Invitation to a videoconference on the UN world seniors day

hamburg-soll-age-friendly-city-4Invitation from Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Green 60plus, Hamburg to a videoconference about age-friendly cities and communities.

Dear all, I would like to invite you to a very special conference with top-class speakers. Conference-language will be German.

We want lively neighborhoods and good local supplies, new places to meet, new forms of living, barrier-free mobility and modern care and neighborhood concepts, analog and digital – the latter especially now in times of Corona!

Our goal: Age-friendly cities and communities
What still needs to be done for this? How is it going elsewhere?
We discuss this with experts from many other countries and cities. And for the first time, we also have an expert from the World Health Organization, which founded the network in 2010.

On International World Seniors Day, October 1, 2020, from 4 to 6 p.m.

With:

  • Manfred Huber, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, responsible for the network of Age friendly cities and communities, Copenhagen
  • Christa Möller-Metzger, member of the Hamburg Parliament Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen, spokeswoman for seniors
  • Evelyn Hunziker, Head of the Age Competence Center in Bern (Switzerland), member of the AfC network
  • Kordula Schulz-Asche, Member of the Bundestag Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, spokeswoman for care policy and senior citizens policy, Berlin
  • Karin Haist, Körber Foundation, Age and Demography Department, Hamburg
  • Kyra Springer, coordinator in the sponsoring association aktiv55plus in Radevormwald, the first AfC city in Germany
  • Harald Wölter, member of the GREEN council group in Münster, actively campaigning for AfC recognition for the city

Gabriele Heise will moderate.
The link to participate via Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83217419126?pwd=aVA2RWo0NDB3VlBZRnROcUZRRlZiQT09
Questions or comments can be sent via chat function or by email. Information: christa.moeller@hamburg.gruene.de

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8-point plan for age-friendly local public transport

IMG_6399Traffic-Notes from Chris in Germany:

In Hamburg, the group Green 60plus is discussing their wishes for the equipment of the new generation of buses in local public transport. This is our plan – what do you think? How about the public transport in your town or country?

1. Barrier-free entry: low-floor technology with mdb_277636_easy-bus_920x690_cp_51x0_1108x793lowering of the entry at the bus stop, so that people with walking disabilities and people with walkers, wheelchairs and prams can get on and off without outside help. In order for the bus driver to have an overview, a wide low-floor entry at the front of the driver would be good. If necessary, apply a program for adjusting the curb heights.IMG_6025

2. More space for rollators, wheelchairs and prams.

3. Some special seats, preferably near the entrance: wider, with side support, raised seat, seat with space for a rollator in front of it; Colored floor and seat markings show the way; sufficiently widened passage.

4. Sufficiently large monitors with information about stops, routing, transfer and connection options and acoustic information about stops.

5. Sufficient handholds, accessible even for small people and requirement button at the entrance to request that the driver only drives off when the guest sits. Helpful for this: camera for the bus driver for every entry.

6. Of course: emission-free buses!

7. Additional conductor on the bus: cashing in, assisting, ensuring safety.

8. All stops are covered and have plenty of seats.

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Corona update from Finland and Hamburg

AFE04EB8-2623-40AF-B715-D55A4804AB69_1_105_cShort report from Reino from Finland: “In fact the corona situation is quite good but the authorities are very much afraid about the second wave. Finland has almost isolated itself with the request on the maximum number of infections (8) per two weeks. There are only three other countries in Europe that meet this rule, and not any of your countries are included in this group – sorry.
This fear means also that one third of the people use masks at least in metro and reproach the others. The authorities quarrel between each other and the public doesn’t know which rules or recommendations are in force and which not. The tv and press are full of news, columns and discussions about the corona from all countries around the world – only two other items are included: Belorussia and Trump.
Not very pleasant time, now. And worse might be coming.”
Note from Hamburg, Germany from Christa: “The numbers are going up again – in the worst of times it was around 220 a day, then it went down to zero during the holidays – and since the travelers have returned to town, the numbers have been increasing. We are currently at around 25 to 30 new infections. Like Reino, I believe that it will get worse in autumn and winter. People in nursing homes can be visited for three hours a week, schools and daycare centers are open, masks are worn on buses and trains. On the other hand, in Berlin 38,000 people protested against corona restrictions, many of them right-wing extremists, who are using the situation for their own purposes. Bad! For me, wearing a mask means protection for me and everbody else. Particularly important for all risk groups!”

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Corona-Update from Sweden, Austria and Germany

VivianneOur Vice-chairwoman Vivianne Gunnarsson is very sorry about the corona-situation in Belgium and other European Countries and says about Sweden:
“I am sorry to learn about the Belgian situation and many others. Still in the midst of the sorriness I recognize much of what you put forward from the situation in Sweden. I have been in quarantine since 20th of march here in the archipelago. Now we have decided we will stay until last of september, Many people think we have no restrictions in Sweden, but this is wrong. Certainly for people 70 and over quarantine apply. Elderly can not meet anyone except personnel in nursing homes and home care. At last some nursing homes have  arranged meeting rooms with plastic or glass walls where they can meet only one person at a time. The positive side is the creativity. Artists come and sing and play theatre for free outside nursing homes as well as outdoor activities, picnics and young people organizing events and singing.  The good thing is, that at last also the oldest are  getting more attention and outdoor life. Something we have been pleading for politically a long time. We are also happy, that the amount of deaths shrinks every day and the last weeks have been only a handful a day.
One problem is that we elderly can not go by public transport – and other age groups also try not to go by bus or metro. The bus-drivers as well as the drivers of taxis are not safe and have no protection. If you go, you must enter in the back door and you can’t pay. The Stockholm region loses millons and millons every day. The boats in the archipelago have restrictions about the amount of travellers and you must order a place in advance, otherwise you can be left till the next trip the next day.
We buy food between 6-7 in the morning, when shops are open for elderly and vulnerable groups. Otherwise you can hippie-402607_960_720 klein Kopieorder by the computer and then they pick up everything and deliver to your car. Net Shopping has increased a lot and it is possible to shop medicine, wine and spirits and get it at the door. Many shops have closed down for good and many restaurants have a problem surviving. People don’t go to the gym , doctor, dentist or hair stylist. This has resulted in so -called corona hair style which is long straight hair for both men and women.
At least we have got summer and we can be outside. The forest is full of blueberries, raspberries (the pickers from thailand cant come) and mushrooms only to pick as much as you want. I can wave at my neighbors every day and we can have a corona coffee or wine sitting two meters from each other, shouting the latest news. And we can have a lot of skype meetings and the telephone functions.”
Bildschirmfoto 2020-08-03 um 13.39.19Our board member Irmgard from Austria asks: “What can I say?   Our own president – founder of the Green Party way back when – was caught breaking the curvey. It was in mid May, first day after lock-down to visit restaurants,  closing time was 23.00h.   And our president was caught by police after mid night  still sitting and chatting with his wife and two friends.   The  police were polite and it seems no charges were laid.   Why not demanded the right wing FPÖ :   Parliamentary reply by the interior minister (ÖVP and coalition partner with us greens) was: because  the president and his party immediately apologized and left the restaurant ….!

Quote from the newspaper Standard: …. Also, his topmost belongs to a “further inclusion of personal details and a notice and the administrative administrative distance,” her chief chef Nehammer in the decision response …

Can you imagine  a (Green) President having privileges!   This calls for a CELEBRATION!”

Christa from Germany completes with her impressions: “ In Germany and also in Hamburg the corona Foto klein Elfriede liebenow C.Moeller-Metzgernumbers are going up again after a long pause; people are coming back from holidays and bring the virus with them. The schools shall be open again after summer holidays next week and I afraid about what will happen then. There are different studies, that showed, that children can infect others – and can get ill themselves.

Most of the people are still in home-office, for parents the last months with home schooling and Home Office was very Hard.
The Greens are tired from Video conferences, the Parliament starts again with plexiglas partitions – and I am not sure, if I will like this. I have big respect for the virus.
There are many studies published in the meantime, that the virus infekts a lot of organs.
I fear, that we will have a similar situation as Belgium and people of all ages will be infected.
I support totally your  idea to demand smaller nursing home units. I just talked to a big player in the scene, which is a foundation (hospital zum Heiligen Geist, a very old institution) and they are planning to cut in half their nursing unit. And they dont want to have more than 12 people in one house in the future.
For the German town Münster, which is on its way to become an age-friendly city, is this the Main topic, to have small elderly homes.
Poverty of elderly persons is also a problem in Germany, which is becoming more and more important, so we have to take care about it.”

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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 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 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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