The seminar “Learning for a long life and the image of age”, held on October 1 in Stuttgart, was the frame to celebrate the Seniorforce Day in Germany, an event promoted by the European Commission in the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations to encourage senior volunteering.
Organised by the Parents' Association of Baden-Württemberg, participants in the event emphasized the important role of life long learning and voluntary activities after retirement. Professors Andreas Kruse, from the Institute of Gerontology, and Rudolf Tippelt, from the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, talked about the new images of age in the society and the role of education, and Norbert Lurz, Head of Section at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports Baden Württemberg, reminded the audience that the civic engagement of old people is needed. “Volunteering helps to stay active”, he said.
The Seniorforce Day in Stuttgart included lively discussions, presentations of projects and best practices and the personal testimony of a senior volunteer, who shared his experience working with students in schools and what it means to him.
The celebration finished with a performance offered by two 80+ ladies from the Old Voices project, who delighted the audience with a set of old songs.
In Italy the Seniorforce Day was also celebrated on October 1. The event was held in the city of Taglio Di Po, as part of the whole month of activities programmed in the Province of Rovigo to honour older persons. “This month is the occasion of our province to recognise the elderly as indispensable players in the organisation of family life and voluntary social work ", remarked Marinella Mantovani, provincial Councillor for Social Policies.
Tiziano Vecchiato, Director of the E. Zancan Foundation, defined as “psychological terrorism” the works of some economists who describe the elderly as a social problem which implies investments in health care. He stressed the importance of ageing well and volunteering after retiring. "We must invest in social economy and create ‘genetically modified seniors’: more active, more engaged," he said.
After the screening of a video where Alice Sinigaglia, Age Platform Europe, presented the Manifesto for a European Union for all Ages, local authorities talked about several ongoing projects for seniors in the cities of Rovigo and Porto Tolle, such as “Vegetable gardens for the elderly”, Internet lessons and public safety seminars.
A variety of stands offered visitors information on the various activities carried out by volunteers.
In Latvia, the NGO Baltā Māja in collaboration with the Ministry of Welfare organised a Seniorforce Day in the city of Livani on October 1, the International Day of Older Persons.
The celebration started with a present to the local Registry Office of 60 pairs of knitted baby booties made by senior volunteers to symbolize solidarity between generations. The first pair went to the proud parents of Sergey, who went to register the newborn when the event was being held.
Afterwards, almost 100 seniors from the city and surrounding districts gathered in Livani’s Culture Centre to enjoy musicals and theatre performances. The highlight of the morning was the special guest appearance of the famous Latvian pop-singer and Ambassador of the European Year 2012 Kārlis Bumeisters (Kaža), who performed his well know songs together with seniors.
At the end of the event Inguna Badune, director of director of Baltā Māja, gave awards to the most active and relevant seniors of the year.