Constant changes in the demographic relations amongst age groups on EU and national levels are a reality, which has been spotted decades ago. Ageing of populations is no longer only a matter of older people. This became obvious when initiatives for intergenerational cooperation came to the spotlight of social debates all over Europe. Europe needs a society of all ages and is no longer directed towards closed age groups which deal with single age-related problems. On a declarative level this was pointed out in the year 2012, the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between generations.
ZDUS as the largest representative NGO of older people in Slovenia has been aware of the need that age-related problems of older people need to be addressed intergenerationally for several years. Therefore, in the year 2018 ZDUS stepped together with the MSS, ŠOS and DOS and formed currently the largest civil member society in Slovenia called MeKoS. The main objective of the MeKoS coalition is to address the challenges of a long-lived society together. The first challenge was admittedly addressed in the year 2019 when ZDUS organized the first Intergenerational Coexistence Days in Slovenia, a three-day event which brought to the light issues of young and old concerning labour market, education and retirement. The event took place between the 14 and 16 May at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, under the honour patronage of the Prime Minister of Slovenia Mr Marjan Šarec and was substantially supported by the Ministry of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities and by the Ministry of the Environment and spatial planning. Other members of Slovene Government also gave support to the event, which seeks to become a national yearly event for intergenerational exchange of ideas, experiences and knowledge.
Intergenerational Coexistence Days brought together 7.000 visitors of all ages who took part in round-table debates about labour market and retirement in Slovenia, in several lifelong learning related workshops and attended many cultural events where mutual creativity of the young and the old was presented. Three days debating shed light on an individual’s life cycle, where young people face difficulties when entering labour market (unsecure and unstable forms of work – precarious work), the need of the Slovene education system to adapt and follow demands on the market, the needs to age-related adapted job positions, crucial transmission of knowledge from old to young (mentoring schemes), needed pre-retirement seminars, examples of active ageing, benefits of volunteering in retirement, the measurements needed to ensure a decent living standard of older people. By not dealing with problems of younger, we prolong their difficulties in older age and by not dealing with issues of current older people, we let them for the next generation of older people to follow. Therefore the key message of the first Intergenerational Coexistence Days was to step together and deal with issues intergenerationally.
The conclusion of these debates will be presented to the Government Council for active ageing and intergenerational cooperation. The next Intergenerational Coexistence Days in 2020 will debate about housing and mobility.
Lara Valič (firstname.lastname@example.org), ZDUS