“For age is opportunity no less Than youth itself,
though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Population ageing is a demographic process which affects the entire continent. The aging of the population happens in all regions and countries at different levels of extension with a faster progress in developing countries. Therefore we can consider ageing as a triumph of development as nowadays people live longer because of better nourishment, health care, education, advanced medicine, and economic well-being.
Not only are the South Eastern countries connected by the legacy of breaking the communist regime, but they also have a lack of a comprehensive national strategy on ageing owing to political uncertainties, lack of public consensus, and financial instability. The notion of active ageing is rather associated with the term “accelerated ageing,” which relates to an individual living a life under hard living conditions or a society facing rapid increases in the relative number of older people, and consequently carrying a negative connotation -such as older people being a burden in the society.
In fact, active ageing is seen as a process of optimizing opportunities for energetic participation in society’s life in order to increase quality of life as people age. It helps people achieve their potential for physical, social, and mental welfare all through their life course. Being “active” refers not only to be physically active or to participate in the labour force but also to continuous participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs. Active ageing targets to an extended healthy life expectancy and quality of life for people as they age. It should take place within the context of friends, associations involved in seniors’ life, neighbours and family members. This is why interdependence along with intergenerational solidarity are important values of active ageing.
Active ageing offers tomorrow' seniors the opportunity to:
- have an active role in society;
- share their experience;
- live a healthy and rewarding life.
Moreover, we can state that active ageing is important for both seniors and other groups of a society as it can provide a significant part of the human capital of our community. There are many strengths which can be brought by older people as participants in the society, and we can indicate only a few of such strong points: rich experience, maturity in thinking and decision-making, in-depth expertise in a variety of professions and several skills which, if not taken good care of, are about to be lost although they represent important parts of our cultural heritage.
Unfortunately, at a general cultural level and in the public policies addressing the cultural sector, seniors occupy a relatively humble place as compared to other groups of our society. Therefore, developing cultural, artistic and educational activities for seniors becomes central in this perspective.