|Living Conditions of Low-income Older Persons in Human Settlements UNCHS (Habitat) (HABITAT, 1999, 38 p.)|
Let me first welcome you on behalf of the Netherlands Platform Older People and Europe (NPOE) to this excellent conference Centre Onze Lieve Vrouwe Maria ter Eem in Amersfoort. The theme of this workshop: Living Conditions of Poor Older Persons in Human Settlements, is a serious and important issue, which has been a policy issue on our political agenda for many years. As people grow older they develop other priorities, demands and needs; a different space or adaptations of their homes that bring them comfort when mobility or visibility is declining. They may also need a different environment in which shops or public transport is available in the neighbourhood, or communication equipment, etc.
On Friday afternoon we hope to tell you about the Senior Label which is a sign or insignia indicating that a house is designed for a whole life course. Senior Organization has developed this Label with a research institute and it is being applied in many communities. Good criteria for building and renovation and for the environment are extremely important for the future of a graying society. The Dutch social system is intended to provide care and attention to frail older people in such a way that they still feel and are independent.
One matter of concern is the expectation of loneliness among older People. European research in 1993 found that the percentage of older people who feel lonely in the Netherlands and Denmark is the lowest in Europe: 4 - 5 percent against 36 percent in Portugal and Greece.
NPOE is a project organization aiming at stronger participation of older people in international co-operation and exchange of experience, knowledge and technology. We have developed a number of projects of interest to you. I will mention two briefly.
One of these projects called Senior Web is an internet web site and a training and education initiative involving more than 400 volunteer senior ambassadors all over the country who train older people in the use of computers and the internet. A new communication channel is opening for older people and is becoming a tool in international communication.
Two, we use the same internet technology to spread news and views on ageing through a website www.MediaAge.net. We would like your Workshop to decide that the wonderful network of experts gathered here will continue through a list, or for a website that Senior Web might build for you to make use of new technology to keep each other informed.
Thank you for your attention. I wish you a fine and fruitful discussion.