International Day of fight against poverty: Time to tackle poverty among older people and guarantee decent life in old age!
Brussels, 17 October 2011
International Day of fight against poverty
Time to tackle poverty among older people and guarantee decent life in old age!
“Statistics do not reflect today’s older people’s social realities. We need reliable poverty measures combining all existing methods and approaches, such as relative income poverty and material deprivation indicators to provide the most accurate picture of the real situation faced by millions of older citizenswho are suffering from the consequencs of today’s crisis. This is crucial if we want to effectively prevent poverty and illhealth among this growing part of the EU population,” highlights Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary-General of AGE Platform Europe, on the occasion of the International Day of the fight against poverty on 17 October and the first Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion on 17-18 October in Cracow (Poland),
Ensuring adequate minimum income in old age is decisive for preventing and tackling poverty in old age. In today’s context when governments are introducing drastic budgetary austerity measures, it is indispensable to assess their impact on the daily lives of millions of older people, in particular the most vulnerable groups such as older women, people living on minimum old-age income, very old persons living alone or in rural areas, older Roma, migrants and those coming from ethnic minority groups etc, who are particularly affected by the cuts in the benefits in kind they used to receive such as free health and long-term care, subsidised transport, housing and fuel cheques, etc.
AGE therefore calls on Member States, when guaranteeing old-age income schemes, to ensure that the provided income is sufficient to cover what older people’s see as essential to preserve decent standards of living and personal dignity. Innovative approaches must be developed, such as budget standards for an adequate minimum income in old age i.e. through defining a national basket of goods and services for older people. These national standards should be adapted to different groups among the older population (i.e. broken down by gender and age sub-groups 60-79 and 80+).They should also take into account people’s non-monetary needs as they age such as access to quality health and long-term services, decent housing, heating, public transport, long-life learning, social or civic participation etc.
An adequate assessment of the situation and needs of the older EU population is necessary to ensure that this group will also be targetted in the national and local strategies to fight against poverty and social exclusion and that by 2020 a significant number of them will be lifted out of poverty
In brief, AGE calls for:
- Using reliable poverty measures that combine all three proposed indicators (unemployment, relative poverty and material deprivation) to provide the most accurate picture of the social realities and specific risks faced by all population groups;
- Developing national budget standards for an adequate old-age income to define what it should entail in order to preserve decent standards of living and dignified ageing;
- Strengthening the social dimension of the Europe 2020 through the Open Method of Coordination on social protection and social inclusion which links policy-making at national and European levels and involves civil society.