The UNECE is launching the Road Map for Mainstreaming Ageing in Georgia, a document to guide the country in strengthening its policy response to population ageing. The report is the result of more than a year’s research, including a desk review of existing policies, contributions from national and international experts, interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholders and intensive consultations on different drafts. The report was officially presented at the 7th meeting of the UNECE Working Group on Ageing, on 20 November 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. With the Road Map on Mainstreaming Ageing Georgia considers its policy framework on ageing for the first time in a comprehensive manner.
The Road Map sets numerous recommendations in various substantive areas, with particular attention to those identified in the 2012 Vienna Ministerial Declaration - adjusting labour markets and supporting longer working lives; participation, non-discrimination and social inclusion of older persons; dignity, health and independence in older age and maintaining intergenerational solidarity.
With regard to the labour market, for example, to address un-employment as well as under-employment, economic growth strategies should support the creation of paid employment, with a view also on generating new and diversified opportunities for workers of all age groups. As many older people live in rural areas, government programmes should concentrate on helping older people to become more productive in their agricultural activities.
To achieve a fully inclusive society, a complex set of elements needs to be in place. The living environment is important, e.g. barrier-free pedestrian areas, possibilities to sit down or public toilets. Minimum standards of accessibility and safety of housing for older and disabled persons should be elaborated to make public and private buildings more accessible to people with reduced mobility. Public transport also needs to be made more accessible for people with disabilities, especially for wheel chair users. As society changes and becomes more individualized, community and neighbourhood networks, volunteering or self-help groups should be expanded to prevent loneliness and social isolation, offering cultural or learning activities.
In terms of access to health care, expenses for medicine, especially related to chronic illnesses, are not covered by the state-funded Universal Health Programme. This makes people of 65 years and above vulnerable to catastrophic out-of-pocket payments. Affordability and access to medicine should therefore be a priority in future. A coordinated long-term care approach – currently missing in the National Health Care Strategy - is crucial to address older people’s needs. A continuum of care should cater for older people with different needs. Home-based care should be made available more widely, matching real needs. Complementary geriatric care, palliative care for older persons, places in residential homes and day care centres also need to be scaled up.
Intergenerational solidarity is traditionally a strong factor as the multi-generational family – ideally with all of its members living under one roof – is a key entity to provide care and support. The main household tasks such as preparing daily meals, doing the dishes, cleaning the house, child and elderly care are mainly performed by women. As more women participate in the labour market and as their perception about their roles changes gradually, men should engage more equally in the household. Public campaigns may be useful means to advocate for sharing employment and family responsibilities more equally between men and women and between generations.
Note to editors:
Ageing in Georgia
Population ageing is advancing rapidly in Georgia. In 2010, out of its 4.4 million people more than 14 per cent were 65 years and older and about one third were 50 years old and above; by 2030 these shares are expected to grow to 21 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively. Life expectancy at birth, which in 2010 was 78 years for Georgian women and 71 years for Georgian men, is predicted to rise to 80 years for women and 73 years for men in 2030.
Road Maps help realize Madrid Plan on Ageing
To address the challenges of population ageing and reap its benefits, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and its Regional Implementation Strategy (MIPAA/RIS) were adopted in 2002, providing guidance to governments in adjusting their policy frameworks. Road Maps help to strengthen implementation of the MIPAA/RIS principles in a particular country. The Road Map for Georgia is the third in the series, following Armenia (2011) and the Republic of Moldova (2012).
The Road Map for Georgia was prepared in cooperation with the Georgian government, under leadership of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (MOLHSA), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Georgia Country Office. The full document is available here: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=34544#/.
The launch of the Road Map for Georgia is accompanied by a photo exhibition of older people from Georgia which is on display in the Passerelle to the E-Building until 28 November 2014.
More information: http://www.unog.ch/culturalactivities.