Since 1990, every year the world celebrates the International Day of Older Persons on October 1st, which was initiated by the United Nations to raise awareness of the issues affecting older persons.
As it is estimated that the aging of the world’s population is accelerating and that, by 2050, the proportion of people over 60 will almost double, it is urgent to become aware of the needs of our seniors and to act to adapt to this demographic change. October 1st is therefore an opportunity to sensitize citizens to the living conditions of isolated elderly people. This year, in order to mobilize and challenge both citizens and public authorities, the French association of Petits Frères des Pauvres is launching a large-scale campaign.
A large-scale citizen mobilization campaign
In order to raise awareness of the cause of isolated elderly people, the Petits Frères des Pauvres are launching a campaign on social networks and an alert film, broadcast on television and social networks.
The idea of the organization is to invite each citizen to become a “loneliness hunter” and to mobilize against the isolation of the elderly of his or her entourage. The “loneliness hunter” will be able to order a kit, composed of several tools that will help him to offer his help to the elderly people around him.
We hope that this device will allow citizens who have not yet dared to mobilize to take action! Because the findings made by the association on the occasion of the release of its latest barometer on loneliness and isolation, are alarming …
The French association publishes the “Barometer 2021 Loneliness and isolation: when you are over 60 in France“.
On the occasion of October 1st, the Petits Frères des Pauvres publishes the Barometer 2021, and establishes a heavy toll. In the four years since the first study was conducted, there has been a sharp increase in social isolation. There are now 530,000 people aged 60 or older who are in a situation of social death, almost twice as many as in the 2017 report.
The report reveals a sharp increase in the feeling of loneliness among seniors over the past four years, and for good reason, because the number of seniors isolated from family and friendship circles has also more than doubled since 2017 (+122%); 1.3 million seniors hardly ever or never see their close family in 2021, despite a strong desire among them to regain and strengthen the social bond with loved ones. Many more people also suffer from a lack of friendships (3.9 million vs. 1.5 million in 2017).
This increase in numbers can be explained by the passage of the Covid-related crisis, for confinements and restrictions caused many seniors to decrease or even stop socializing. The health crisis also pushed some seniors into sudden and abrupt isolation. But this is not the only cause. The aging of the population is announced and proven, but, as the report describes, “the health crisis has highlighted the flaws of a society that for the past twenty years has not been able to respond to the consequences of the aging of the population, although announced”. The organization has thus reminded us of the urgent need to provide sustainable solutions and to allow the elderly to age serenely, and has put forward a number of recommendations, such as:
“Recommendation n°6 Rely on local actors and support them in the construction of policies to fight against the isolation of the elderly.
Recommendation n°9 To carry out a policy to raise awareness among the youngest about ageing and the isolation of the elderly“.
For more information, the Barometer is available here.