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ostatnia aktualizacja: 13-11-2014, 12:08

Age-friendly environments in response to demographic change - conference

Representatives of European and Polish NGOs and public institutions met at the conference held on 14 and 15 June 2013 at the Warsaw School of Economics. The participants shared experiences and good practices in the field of creating age-friendly environments. The event was organised by AGE Platform Europe, Foundation for women Ja-Kobieta, FORUM50+. Seniors of the Twenty First Century. Warsaw School of Economics was a partner of the conference.

The conference “Age-friendly environments in response to demographic change - good practice in Poland and EU” was officially open by Professor Tomasz Szapiro, Rector of the Warsaw School of Economics on Friday 14 June at 10 am. The purpose of the conference was to discuss innovative solutions aimed at addressing the demographic challenge and to promote the rights of older people, in particular through the creation of ‘age-friendly environments’ (AFE) at local level across the EU. Maciej Kucharczyk - Managing Director of AGE Platform Europe and Halina Potocka - Vice President, AGE Platform Europe spoke at the outset about campaigns carried out by AGE Platform: a campaign calling on the European Commission to launch an EU Covenant on Demographic Change and virtual forum linking stakeholders (public authorities, NGOs, service providers, industry, researchers) interested in the promotion of AFE at local, regional, national and EU level.

The following experts took part in round table discussion:

Prof Irena Lipowicz – Ombudsman. Prof Lipowicz addressed the specificity of Polish elderly people who are weighed down with historical past of the country. She gave examples of exclusion of elderly people in Poland as well as examples of solutions to prevent such occurrences. In her speech she referred to a monograph ‘The strategies of action in an aging society. Theses and recommendations’ published under the auspices of the Ombudsman.

Elżbieta Seredyn – Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy. Ms Seredyn presented the foundations of the Government Program for the Social Activity of Elderly People 2012 -2013, adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2012. In her presentation Ms Seredyn focused on the long term goal which is the development of the main objectives of long term senior policies in collaboration with a pool of experts, members of the Council for Policy on Ageing.

Włodzimierz Paszyński – Deputy Mayor of Warsaw. Mr Paszyński familiarized participants with the background, objectives and implementation of the program ‘Age friendly Warsaw’.

Dobiesław Tymoczko PhD – Deputy Director of the Financial System Department of the National Bank of Poland (NBP). Mr Tymoczko spoke about financial services aimed specifically at seniors and stressed the importance of educating the elderly in the field of financial services. Mr Tymoczko also referred to the project ‘Finances for 50+’, which had been carried out by the Foundation for Women, Ja-Kobieta and NBP.

Prof Piotr Błędowski – Warsaw School of Economics and President of the Polish Society of Gerontology. Prof Błędowski emphasised how important it is to teach the most vulnerable elderly people how to manage their personal finances.

The conference was attended by the representatives of Polish NGOs – FORUM50+. Seniors of the Twenty First Century members, representatives of AGE Platform Europe members and representatives of the Gruntvig – Life Long Learning program. The discussion time consisted of a question and answer session with questions from European guests and Polish NGOs. Participants were interested to find out more about ‘Age friendly Warsaw’ program, the Government Program for the Social Activity of Elderly People 2012 -2013 and education of elderly people about financial services to suit their needs. The concluding remarks were given by Jan Pierre Bultez Vice-President of AGE Platform Europe. He expressed his enthusiasm about the conference itself.

Maciej Kucharczyk, the Managing Director of AGE Platform Europe remarked: 

“The seminar was extremely valuable in the context of continuation of European Year 2012 as well as in familiarising quest organisations with AGE aims and projects (for example, the campaign to appoint the European Agreement in response to demographic change). It was a turning point in thinking about ageing in Poland. Now it is the time to undertake further actions and projects by individual entities on every level”.

Program of the conference. More>>

After the main seminar, the participants were split into two groups and each group continued their discussion separately:
  • Representatives of FORUM50+. Seniors of the Twenty First Century used the group session to hold Annual member conference. This year the members of the coalition discussed the ethical issues surrounding the code of conduct of NGOs working on behalf of elderly people. The opening comments were given by Professor Ewa Kozdroń, President of ESPAR50+ - the coordinator of FORUM50+. Seniors of the Twenty First Century. After Prof Kozdroń’s presentation Katarzyna Batko-Tołuć, from Citizens Network – Watchdog Poland, provided an introduction to the subject of ethics, and all participants, in collaboration with Katarzyna Tadeusiak-Jeznach and Olga Ślifirska, took an active part in creating the Ethical Code for FORUM50+.Seniors of the Twenty First Century members. The Code has been approved and was adopted on 15 June 2013. The participants were also invited to take part in a workshop devoted to fundraising and cooperation with media.
Programme of the conference. More >>
  • Representatives of SIEG and Gruntvig groups travelled to Ursynów district Social Services Centre in Warsaw. The purpose of the visit was to present the activities of the Centre as an age-friendly environment aimed at preventing social exclusion of elderly people.
Summary of smartSENIOR program. More>>

After the group sessions there was some time remaining for the Polish and European guests to share their experiences with one another. 

Marta Gaworska PhD

ESPAR 50+*

* The coordinator of FORUM50+. Seniors of the Twenty First Century