SUMMARY OF THE
INTERVENTION BY MR. JOSÉ MANUEL PÉREZ GÓMEZ
A WORLD CRISIS OF TRUST”
We live in a world crisis of trust. Moreover, we as elderly confront a
lack of social consideration. We
will examine these circumstances and try to establish the border, that is always
artificial, that separates the elderly from those who are not. After that, we
will emphasise the importance the elderly should have, and conclude with
reflections about the attitude, preparation, and requirements that will allow
this collective group, not only to build trust, but also influence positively in
the development of the western societies.
prevails in the world, and this is
noticed especially by the absence of credibility. Politicians, businessmen,
workers, etc. do not fulfil what they have promised. They lose credibility and
nobody is forced to give credence to one that is not trustworthy. For every good thing, there is a price.
The people that do and give more than what is expected have credibility, have
success. On the other hand, unsuccessful people are those that do less than what
is expected of them.
Generally, the majority gives much more than what is expected. That is,
it has credibility and builds trust. Furthermore, free time allows one to
re-earn freedom that one did not have while working, making it easy to choose
how to use that freedom, that time, in a way that gives more worth to his/her
Nobody considers himself/herself old. The others grow
we want to grow up, but nobody wants to be considered old.
- It appears
that the last years have passed all of a sudden.
- The physical
deterioration of the elderly decreases, but the moral deterioration
- Respect and
great consideration for the elderly has been overcome by
Why has the positive consideration for the elderly gone beyond the limits
to disregard for the “old people” in the present society?
There seems to be an opinion that
disqualifies the elderly “per se”. It is based on preconceived ideas. The
stereotype of an unproductive old person is set apart from the responsible
One main explanation is that in the patrimonial society, the old person had
authority that was respected due to the children economic
(Decreasing marginal usefulness). When a good thing abounds, its
subjective value decreases. On the other hand, when a good thing is scarce, its
Even though the
physical deterioration of the elderly is diminishing, the social deterioration
(lack of role) and even the moral deterioration (yielding of
responsibilities-self esteem) grows.
never retired. They died at the foot of a canyon and taught us to work hard and
to feel guilty for not working. In the traditional societies, the old person was
respected and appreciated. He/She was asked for advice and his/her authority,
wisdom, and moderation derived from experience was recognized. Nevertheless, in
the present day, they do not keep in mind these principles. The politicians have, very selfishly,
contributed to building this negative image and lack of consideration toward the
elderly (they can play amongst them or
with their grandchildren), with the consequent change in their worth and
lack of respect.
It is not the
age nor the physical or mental conditions, but society that classifies as old or
elderly all those people that, once they lose their working status, do not
develop any activity that is sufficiently appreciated.
AND WEIGHT OF THE ELDERLY
There are three
effects that unite and give, as a final result, an increase in the older
population. Firstly, a longer life. Secondly, the boundary marks of the working
life by anticipated retirements. Lastly, the diminishing birth rate. The three
effects together considerably increase the relative weight of the elderly
population over the younger ones.
Remember that in
order for a generational relief to exist, the national birth rate must be 2:1.
The forecast for 2020 is that 121 countries will be below this rate.
elderly population grows almost exclusively in the developed countries, contrary
to what happens with the younger population. Approximately 50% of the world
population is under 25 years of age. Half of that rate, only 13% live in
occidental societies and the remaining 87% live in poor
At the present
time, a million of people turn 60 every month. That is calculation that there
are 65 million people who are over that age (10% of the population). In 2025,
this number will duplicate and in 2050, it will be 2.000 millions, a population
that will be all, practically, in the developed world.
It is obvious
that with an importantly growing weight of elderly in the western societies,
these societies will not be able to continue their developing rhythm without
counting on this collective group. To count on them means giving them adequate
social consideration, even though, naturally, this consideration will not be
given for free. It is essential a positive attitude from the elderly, as they
will have to put themselves in the status that belongs to us in order to carry
out a socially appreciated role.
Half of the shopping decisions are taken by those over 50 years of age
and the maximum richness occurs from 65 years old.
AND BEHAVIOURS OF THE ELDERLY IN THE SOCIETY
In order to obtain this influence and standing, we should be aware of the
social changes that has driven us to a rushed, reductionist (ethical values have
become economic values), technological, intercultural, individualistic,
wasteful, globalized, unsafe, and distrustful society.
Sometimes we make distrust a wall that protects us from the outside
world, from the unknown. But does
it really protect us or imprison us? The truth is that it is complicated to live
without suspicion. Respect for strangers, distrust is the rule. This rule also
returns against us, for instance, as cameras that watch us and frisking at the
airports; we are all suspicious citizens.
In order to build trust, the corrupted circle needs to be broken. If
I distrust, then the consequence is that others will not trust
Secondly, a positive attitude
facing life by maintaining happiness and initiative that, together with physical
exercise and an adequate diet, will allow the elderly to maintain, for many
years, a rewarding activity. This activity will contribute to changing the
derogatory classification that exists for the old age, and to build a social
prestige for this stage in life.
of good humour needs to be valued.
An older person should be satisfied with
his condition, age, and situation. He/She can remember the past with
pleasure, but without nostalgia.
Life is what comes, not what it
was. Let’s treasure our memories, but always enjoying the present before it
passes by and is lost forever.
with health, should be put on the top of our priority list. We must maintain a
balance between being kind and
considerate with others and with oneself, trying to discover the people with
negative attitudes, because they can
influence our self-esteem. One
should not fall in the error of pretending to change them. Usually they do not
change. WE should surround
ourselves with positive people.
Avoid elderly temptations.
As we know, they are four:
physical immobilization, brain immobilization, emotional immobilization, and
Old age is a stage to fill with projects and illusions without worrying
(only within a just measurement) about other people’s attitudes towards the
All this contributes to the fact that the elderly can be the counterpoint of certain deficiencies in the
present society, sharing happiness and serenity that contrast with the
stress of the younger ones, arranging their free time to be actively and
creatively used, as a compensation of the deficiencies that unavoidably start
appearing with years of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social
In third place: Strategic plan
professional life, we have developed strategic plans. We will accomplish one
more in our personal life.
yourself with those that you like: family, animals, music, plants,
- Your home is
your reflection, but do not close yourself up inside it.
- Do not succumb
to nostalgia. Leave your house. Go to another city, to a foreign country, but
not to places from the past. It can
Preventing illnesses is not a cure.
- Maintain an
activity that forces the development of our mental power.
exercise and an adequate diet.
with life. Maintain illusions and hopes.
contact with the society and with nature.
- Maintain pride
for the accomplishments, and for the preservation of moral principles of the
society. The elderly person has known wars, hunger, economic troubles, lack of
education, and has worked hard, without complaining, to survive and has created
the best conditions for the present society.
In fourth place:
Practice – Fields of conduct
In the mature
age we know more and posses secure, reasonable, and solidly organized
understandings. It is a stage where the
teacher and the researcher can fulfil their greatest achievements. The senior counsellor figure is perfectly
applicable. It is regrettable to see how they misuse people who have
participated in important negotiations, that have led fundamental change
processes in their companies, that have created or rebuilt them with success,
reasons are applicable for the independent counsellor figure in the
businesses, to defend the rights of the shareholders.
that allows an appropriate use of time and it establishes new relationship bonds
for the elderly, is found in volunteering for multiple public
causes. It can be for cultural, leisure, assistance, charity, professional
organizations, and others.
Narrate life and experiences.
– Defend rights and other aspirations of the
The mission of
the youth is to learn. Elders have to teach, transmitting all the experience
that has been learned in life. Once passed the stage of the patrimony society,
the economic testament loses interest and the moral testament recovers its vital
importance at the same time.
main patrimony for the elderly is their own experience. Bequeath their own
legacy, transmit this experience, and demand a double activity: 1st-
Rebuild personal memory, formulating a retrospective judgement that allows one
to judge not only for what has been done, but also for what is left to do. 2nd- Transmit it to those who
should listen to it and can benefit from this legacy.
The elderly represent authority, transmit culture
to those nearby, the traditions. They symbolize the historical memory, family
memories, the link that unites everyone, the kind flow of traditional values of honesty, work,
austerity, and prudence. The elderly know, better than anybody, rank
hierarchically, play things down, build bridges, because they know the incentive
of strength, of downfalls, and wisdom that await.
man needs to feel his life. That is achieved with an activity that appreciates,
feeling that his work makes perfect. The greatest satisfaction is obtained when
one notices that his actions benefit others, proving with it, that the purpose of life is not to be happy, but
to be useful, that precisely being useful to others is how to achieve
satisfaction of being certain that it has been worth living – in our own way-
creating a family, some friends, visiting places, and developing a professional
activity. With the illusions
invested in projects that do not present competition or nervousness anymore, nor
nudging to reach the goal, feeling ourselves at peace with others and ourselves,
we can say, like Amado Nervo:
Life, you do not owe me anything
Life, I do not owe you anything
Life, we are at peace.