Some recommendations on policies for elderly intellectuals – a matter of urgency and practicality

Posted at: MONday - 12/12/2016 11:39 - post name: Cộng tác viên

Source: The Internet

Source: The Internet

The rapid development of the socio-economy with marvelous achievements in medicine, health care and tremendous and effective efforts of many policies in health care for people (HCFP) have constantly improved life expectancy in many countries and ethnic groups which brought about the continuous increase in the elderly population.

Since the 50s of the last century, the average life expectancy of people in the world has increased by 20 years and is estimated to increase by 10 more years in 2050, bringing the average life expectancy of the world to about 76 – 78 years old. In 2002, the elderly in 10 countries in the group of countries with a population of over 10 million people accounted for more than one-fifth the population and it is expected in 2025 in such countries as Japan, Germany, Italy etc. the people aging 60 and older will make up about one-third of the population. In 2050, the number of elderly in Japan will be a half of the population. In these countries, people have thought of “elderly export”. Population aging or a revolution in rising life expectancy is posing both hopes and challenges to many governments and countries.

Vietnam has undergone a young population structure and entered the aging population pyramid. The number of elderly people tends increase to 6.3 million people in 2000, approximately 7 million people in 2010; and around 10 million people in 2015. Currently, the percentage of elderly in the Red River Delta has reached the threshold of 10%, which means the population has entered the aging threshold. This increase trend will also behigher over the next few decades.

The increase of elderly in the population is a good sign, reflecting the tremendous achievements of the Party, the State, sectors and branches at all levels, of all the people, especially the HCFP work on a national scale.

However, as a country which has just experienced a long war and moved out of the list of poor countries to enter the lower middle income group (internationally ranked), it is actually a big challenge.

Based on a longstanding tradition of respecting the elderly, gratitude, descendants’ filial piety to grandparents and parents, the Party and State of Vietnam always take care and nurture the elderly. The promulgation of the Ordinance on Elderly by the National Assembly Standing Committee, the Circular No. 02/2004 of the Ministry of Health on implementation of health care policies for the elderly as well as the publication of a series of books such as “Research on actual and theoretical background on making social policies for the elderly in Vietnam” of the Office of the National Assembly (Department of Social Affairs) in 2000, “International action program on aging” of the World Assembly on Aging (Madrid 2000), “Age-friendly Primary Health Care (PHC) Center Toolkit” of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Institute of Gerontology, Ministry of Health in 2002 are clear evidence of the Party and the State of Vietnam’s concern about the elderly. The good news is that the policies, documents and guidelines on health care for the elderly not only contain the aspects of demography or health but also be more comprehensive and cover more aspects. In “Guidelines for making health care policies for the elderly”, the authors mentioned the concept of “active aging”. According to the analysis, “active aging” is the process of rationalization of opportunities for health, social integration and be social security in order to enhance quality of life as they age. Active aging applies to both individuals and population groups. It allows people to realize their potential to achieve physical, mental and social happiness throughout their lives, allowing people to participate in the society according to their needs, interests and capabilities, at the same time also providing them with security and care when needed. This approach is based on the perception of older people’s rights including the right to independence, social participation, protection of the person and dignity, care and self-determination.

In the Ordinance on the Elderly, Chapter II “Directions on elderly care” there is a section on “Promoting the role of the elderly in the national construction and protection”. In this section, the National Assembly of our country pays great attention to encouragement, mobilization and creation of favorable conditions for the elderly to exercise, participate in learning, promote their talent, intellect and accumulated experience and use their good qualities in setting a positive example and actively participating in social activities, contributing to the construction and firm protection of the socialist homeland, ensuring and increasing the peace of life.

Also from such approach, we would like to propose some policies towards promoting the role of elderly intellectuals in the community and the society and towards national industrialization and modernization. From the policy perspective, it is necessary to change from the concept and thinking to policy enforcement solutions, not only focusing on caring for the elderly intellectuals but also on nurturing, motivating, encouraging them to continue to work, devote and contribute in a useful way to the society. It means exploiting the elderly and the potentials they have accumulated. Anyone of us also understands that senior intellectual group is a particular social class. The particular is that, they are a social group of the elderly with the same features as other elderly people but this group consists of highly qualified workers, the great majority of whom has much experience and grasps many secrets. Many of them have merits, position and authority, power and respect of the community. The reverence and respect of the society to them is not only for their morals, lifestyles, norms, ethics and family but also for the achievements, scientific examples they have showed, dedication and contributions. They are often considered by juniors as the banyan tree, giant tree, motive, leading bird, and the people with merits and being respected and admired by the contemporary generation. Many of them have merits and received Feat Order, Labor Medal, the State Award, Ho Chi Minh Award and other prestigious awards. However, many of them have not finished research works in need of further completion. They earnestly wish the Party, the State and authorities would know their situation and expectations so that they can continue to finish their career and also fully devoting their long-standing vow to the society. It is clear that the Party, the State, the Fatherland Front and the authorities cannot ignore this truth and should make policies promptly and appropriately.

First of all, we think that the State and authorities at which the elderly intellectuals are working should have policies to respect the elderly intellectuals; creating the best conditions for their continued dedication; creating forums to honor them, creating favorable conditions for them to develop their potentials and roles (including premises and working facilities).

Second, for elderly intellectuals who have or are about to retire, we need to constantly care, paying attention to their legitimate aspirations, encouraging them to energetically do uncompleted works, especially the professional activities, programs and projects that they have nurtured and devoted many years to implement for the development of the community and the society.

Author: Prof. Dr. Nguyen Dinh Tan,President of Vietnam Sociology Association
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