Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 13



We talk about the elderly in gerontology magazines, in the daily press pages dedicated to health -if any- or successions and, of course in cases of death announcement. Apart from those issues -which are of course profitable- it seems that nobody really cares about the elderly.


So it is clear that they are not taken into account for what they are but for what they have. No doubt that they are good customers. That is why their personal details are very useful and a lot of companies seek them at all cost to inflate the venal data basis they use for many purposes. For example, they send personalized invitations for the promotion of a particular product in a hotel somewhere, offering them to attend the event. Who has never received those kind of letters?


And it seems people have forgotten their actual value: they are exclusively considered as passive people. In Spain they are even called “passive classes” (“clases pasivas”) despite the fact that more and more people grow older in good physical and mental health, feeling fully integrated in what is called “active citizenship”; even if for the moment they are not considered full right members  when they are not excluded and marginalised. We are aware of that. But there is no doubt that the situation will improve: manifestos are already out there, demanding the right to decide freely the age of retirement.


Assuming those statements are true, we can feel that a radical and rapid change in the fields of intergenerational relationships is in the air. To be efficient, this change will have to be based upon teaching. It is the logical consequence of new behaviours and a wider acceptance of ageing people who remain “young”, since they personally take care of their health, which is as critical for improving the quality of life, as their genetic predispositions. Nobody can deny that not only do they live longer but also better.


According to the press, they already have a name: they are the Dankai generation. This weird word is used in Japan for older people in good physical and mental conditions. This group is becoming the bigger social class of the world population. It is a good thing to have such a word to identify them, since it reaffirms the acknowledgement they deserve and must claim for, without giving up on anything.


We, the elderly, have always belonged to this “active citizenship”: we are active citizens because we have only retired from our jobs, not from our lives; because we have never given up on constant learning; because we are aware that the demographic change requires commitment and intergenerational understanding, a “social responsibility” in other words.


That is why we want to remain “active citizens” for as long as possible. It is fair; we want and we can help future generations to build our modern society. We have a wonderful example of intergenerational harmony: the Spanish football team, who won the European Football Championship, was lead by a seventy-year-old coach, who did very well with twenty-year-old players!


I am sure that we could easily find plenty of other seniors and anonymous veterans in many other fields, people able to motivate and contribute actively to the development of projects. And they exist, there is no doubt about this, but today they remain the exception that justifies our claims.


And as rights do not just happen out of the blue, we must defend, demand and insist on them until we get them. Our time is no longer for sale. We are retired, that is true, but we are active citizens, with the strength our experience brought to us, and we wish to contribute to the society.


Every day more and more people agree with us. And we are constantly ready to offer our enriching impartiality, the one we’ve protected ever since we retired.   



We have a lot to offer. Can this be underestimated?