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2010-2020: The Decade of the Senior Citizen

The Decade of the Senior Citizen

Longevity has come of age! An enormous demographic shift is upon us. Globally, unprecedented population aging over the next 50 years is anticipated with profound implications for many aspects of human life. And the consequences? Public and scholarly inquiry is called for. The Irwin Foundation announces a new project: “2010-2020: The Decade of the Senior Citizen” (DOSC).

The DOSC initiative of the Irwin Foundation will, through a series of meetings, highlight social, medical, health, and economic changes associated with the new demographics.

In the Developed World, the facts are plain: In the years to come, the present “population pyramid” - with smaller numbers of Seniors towards the top supported by a broad and stable base of Juniors on the bottom – will be superseded by a “wine glass.” A tapering aging population base will be topped by a geriatric bulge into ages 60 through 100 and beyond brought about by large numbers of older Seniors. In most of the Developing world, an explosion of Juniors will accompany this explosion of Seniors. What does all of this imply? We at the Irwin Foundation foresee opportunities and challenges. We envision new paths for Seniors making creative contributions to families, communities, private enterprises and public goods. Seniors bring experience and wisdom and can offer continuity and context to enrich the lives of those who are younger. We also envision major challenges. At the Irwin Foundation, we intend to address these issues through our diffuse global network with topical meetings in diverse geographical regions. Each meeting is envisioned as a node in our network. Meetings will be led by local universities and will focus on one of the many topics associated with the larger project.

Our 1st meeting has already occurred in September 2010 on the Island of Usedom on the edge of the Baltic Sea in Germany . Sponsored by the Medical School at the University of Greifswald , this meeting focused on issues associated with “Medical Ethics in an Ageing World.” Visit the website at www.ethics-morals.com. The inaugural German gathering began with the premise that our attitudes towards medical care for the ageing raise profound questions of ethics and social justice. Topics raised at this meeting, discussed by distinguished globally-recognized medical ethicists, physicians and scientists, included autonomy; trust and the ageing person; finitude of resources; end-of-life decision making; social brains and hearts; medical health delivery to the elderly – fact, fiction, or wishes; and anti-ageing medications. A “response” is planned at a major US Mid-Western medical school in September 2011 with other gatherings anticipated in the future. We will announce details shortly. Furthermore, we are planning future meetings in Manchester , England ; Reykjavik , Tokyo ; Santiago ; Paris ; Cape Town and elsewhere.

See also - www.ethics-morals.com






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