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AGE Platform calls authorities to tackle the increasing risk of poverty and social exclusion among older people in Europe

12/12/2012
AGE Platform calls authorities to tackle the increasing risk of poverty and social exclusion among older people in Europe © Matias Rothkopf

The publication “Older People also suffer because of the crisis” was presented by AGE Platform Europe at the Second Annual Convention of the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, which took place on 5-7 December in Brussels hosted by the European Commission in partnership with the Cyprus Presidency.

In this new document, AGE and its member organisations provide further evidence from the grass-roots level on the growing risk of poverty and social exclusion across the EU. The publication also builds on the outcomes of the thematic seminar AGE co-organised with the Committee of the Regions on The impact of the crisis on older people in June.

The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion is one of the flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It was launched in 2010 and sets out actions to reach the EU target of reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020.

“Although this is not always properly reflected in statistics, millions of older people in the EU have been experiencing on a daily basis the impact of the financial and economic crisis”, highlighted Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary-General of AGE Platform Europe, at the eve of the EU Convention.

The vulnerability of older people is first of all related to their lack of financial resources. With the persistence of the crisis, living conditions are worsening for a growing number of older people with incomes just above the poverty threshold who are consequently no longer eligible for any available social transfers. This results in a sudden increase in the pauperisation among older people, including the middle-class, all across the EU.

The crisis negatively affects older people not only in financial terms nor in their difficulties in accessing the health or social services they need, points out the report. Many older people are confronted unexpectedly by these new forms of vulnerability and are affected  by deep helplessness or distress, withdrawing gradually from family life, social participation in their communities, public and political involvement etc.

The complete AGE Platform report may be downloaded here.