At this time, in developed countries, 1 in 5 people is over 65 and, in the horizon of 25 years, it is expected to be 1 in 3. Developing countries also follow these trends. The International Centre on Ageing (CENIE) understands that in addition to the challenge we have as an ageing society we have an economic opportunity around this sector. A new reality that, far from the negative connotations, offers new opportunities. The centre is innovation and actuality, they are anticipating the demands of an ageing population that, in the coming years, is expected to increase.
Until now, the actions dedicated to this phenomenon were practically null, but, CENIE has changed the usual formula to understand it or has pointed the right way. This change is due to demonstrable evidence: we are facing unprecedented demographic data and, therefore, a new reality to face. However, with the initiative of the centre we have the opportunity to see ageing as the most novel possibility of the future.
CENIE emerged thanks to the General CSIC Foundation with the purpose of responding to one of the social phenomena that is changing the world in which we live. And it is that the ageing of the population is a phenomenon that affects most of the European territories and, especially, the border areas of Spain and Portugal that today are characterized by the depopulation and consequent ageing of their communities.
The CENIE project, endowed with a budget of almost seven million euros and co-financed by the FEDER funds at 75%, is promoted by the General Foundation of the University of Salamanca, together with the General Foundation Superior Council of Scientific Research, the General Directorate of Health of Portugal (Direção-Geral da Saúde) and the University of the Algarve. His wish is to lay the foundations for the construction of a common vision between Spain and Portugal in the face of this new social reality. It also promotes collaboration between companies and the academic world with the intention of multiplying the benefits of public and private investment.
Source of opportunities
It is important to be prepared to respond to the demands and concerns that come with an ageing society. But also, the ageing of the population can be a source of opportunities. From boosting the economy, to creating new jobs or promoting research and innovation.
In CENIE they know that it is time to change their attitude towards ageing, recognize opportunities in the face of problems, and promote a cultural change. And so, to help people to have a longer, active and independent life, and also to help our societies take advantage of the opportunities inherent in new and rapidly ageing societies.
Among the data they offer on their website, we see that the elderly are a large market to which we have not yet taken their juice. If we think which age group is the most consumed in supermarkets, we would not imagine that people older than 60 years participate more in the purchase of products than any younger age group. Even those older than 75 do so much better than people between 25 and 39 years old.
Traveling is being established as a way of life. According to the data of CENIE, the number of trips that people over 60 have made in the last two years is greater than the number of people who are younger. Although, the difference is not excessive can be significant. The average expenditure of a person over 60 years during his holidays is 510.60 euros while people with a lower age invest an average of 382.28 euros.
They also show us that people between 60 and 70 are the ones who invest the most in companies. Experience is the mother of science and we can not deny that older people have a valuable history.
As the Principal Beneficiary, the General Foundation of the University of Salamanca wants to promote the development of CENIE and the achievement of its objectives. For this, they have opened a process of competitive competition for the selection and contracting of multidisciplinary research on ageing. 600,000 euros will be allocated to these research works in order to help deploy an excellent research network whose results may be of interest to Spain and Portugal. The registration period is open until 2:00 p.m. on April 30.
Among the research priorities are the current methods and alternatives to preserve the safety of the elderly; main factors of a healthy ageing; new models of family and institutional functioning; quality of life and ageing in different cultural, socioeconomic and environmental situations, among others.
According to the bases of the announcement, the procedure is open to nonprofit public and private entities with their own legal personality, which carry out R & D activities as well as being defined in their statutes as a main activity, and generate scientific or technological knowledge.
Through a series of research projects led by the Centre itself, led by the avant-garde in this area, the promotion of projects that meet the social challenges raised and awareness, CENIE aims to achieve its main objectives.
Among these initiatives, a series of dialogues were born headed by the journalist of the Sexta, Iñaki López and Dr. Aubrey de Grey, who defines himself as a pioneer and a medical researcher. They spoke in the first chapter of "Conversations in Salamanca: Understanding the Ageing Process", an initiative that was born with the objective of taking advantage of the enormous potential of the elderly in the 21st century.
For De Grey, old age is a natural phenomenon in the same way that tuberculosis and ageing are a disease that can be cured. He considers that "it is controversial that we can not do anything about it". And, he knows what it is to generate controversy since, in 2005, he decided to bet on something that few had previously investigated.
CENIE responds to the current demographic needs in the short and long term. It is undeniable that life expectancy is increasing at a critical time for birth rates. The society is facing a global process of ageing and the population pyramids have long ceased to have the shape of pyramids. These facts have important social and economic consequences.
The increase in the population over 65 is a determining factor in the current social panorama. In the year 2060, this population will represent 30% of the European population according to the report on ageing, The Ageing Report (2015), of the European Commission.
The ageing of the population is one of the great future challenges set by the European Commission and the European Council. A firm response must be given to this demographic phenomenon that has nothing to do with the usual European social model.