Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions

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Index of documents > Reports and communications > Toledo 2010



INTERGENERATIONAL SOLIDARITY†-†SPAIN

The term Intergenerational solidarity is used to talk about interactions that are made between members of different generations who live in the same time.

A lot of intergenerational programs can be considered adequate instruments to improve integration and cohesion within our societies. Intergenerational solidarity is also an important principle of active aging, consisting not only at helping elderly people but also at promoting the necessary conditions so they could participate and contribute to the development and welfare of their society. In families as well as in communities and in nations it is fundamental to achieve, as United Nations has been proposing since 1995, that our societies should be for all ages.

A distinction should be made between the scope of the family and that of society: in each context, relationships between generations work according different codes. It is also important to recognize that living together with younger generations is not always the preferred option for elderly people and neither the best option for them.

Solidarity between generations has to continue being a cornerstone upon which one has to continue leaning, when living in difficult situations where specific services and also services adapted to the necessities of social care are needed.

The objectives of Intergenerational solidarity are specific attention to old people and dependent persons, as well as assisting their families to satisfy social demands related to prevention and attention to independence.

We live in a society in constant evolution undergoing major social changes due to politic, economic and demographic processes. Relationships between conventional generations in European society are†† rapidly evolving because of the decreasing birth rate and the increasing life expectancy.

The systems of Social protection, the pensions, the health insurance and the social security systems are all based on solidarity, which should not be understood exclusively in financial terms.†

Because of the changes in the demographic structures, intergenerational solidarity is today more important than ever, considering that existing solutions can no longer guarantee all citizens an appropriate level of social and health protection that forms the basis of any social or political society.

Intergenerational solidarity should be an integral component of every future discussion and agreement.† Solutions arenít spontaneously born out of nothing; all actors should commit themselves and look for them, with a final objective of achieving an intergenerational agreement which allows the creation of new relations in society.

Long-term cares are a practical example of solidarity. Although, at first, they are intended to people who need them urgently in their daily life, indirectly they offer security to all, because no one knows if heíll need them at some point in his life.

We have to find a new balance and new relationships between generations through innovative approaches and policies that promote intergenerational solidarity for a cohesive and sustainable society. Sustainable social development will be possible only with genuine contact and coexistence between generations whose base is intergenerational solidarity.

According to the media, there is an increasingly growing demand of citizens of any age to participate in volunteer activities, even from full time working people. The reasons used to be the following: the desire to do something useful for society, meeting other people who share the same life vision, helping less fortunate people, etc.

A Volunteerís job is the fastest and most practical way to promote the improvement of the quality of life to all generations and the development of a more cohesive and friendly society.

We should be aware of the important contribution to society of elderly people, who look after their grandchildren and their very old parents, keeping solidarity into the family.

And to finish, by commenting that we should be oriented towards using the three classic components: to know (knowledge), to know how to do (skills), and to want to do (attitude and motivation). In Spain we combine the three aspects regarding informal relationships: family, friends, and neighbours. In this way, we have to apply the cooperative principles of self help (with which we enhance ourselves as actors and principal subjects and exclude paternalism), mutual aid (everything worth doing alone, is enriched doing together) and subsidiarity (everything we canít get together from below, is required to those from the top but only insofar as we can control what they are giving from the top.

Domingo Perez Auyanet - Spanish Federation