Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 14



Last 20th and 21st April, we had in Alicante the Meetings of study and research concerning “Social challenges in the 21st century: The Elderly and the Media”. With the collaboration of JUBICAM and within the framework of the Observatory of the Elderly and Media of the Permanent University of Alicante, the activities and reunions were held in the Auditorium of the CAM in Isabel La Católica. This entity sponsored the event under the auspices of the program “Older People, Active People” from their Social Work Department.  The goal was to analyse, with precision, the treatment that the media give to the information relating to the elderly, and consequently promote the elimination of image stereotypes that exist about this collective group. 

      Along with the researchers of the mentioned “Observatory” of the University of Alicante, specialists from other Universities, such as professionals and experts in the different media, presented lectures, communications and “panels”. They also took part in round-tables and discussions with morning and evening sessions, arriving to a series of scientific conclusions (what we transcribe in the following documents) about the social reality that affects the older people and their reflection in the media.


     The opening session was presided by Roberto López, General Director of CAM; Josefina Bueno, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Alicante; José Barberá, President of JUBICAM; Francisco Bernabeu, Founder and first President of the Group of European Retired Staff of Saving Banks; Concepción Bru, Director of the Permanent University of Alicante; and Enrique Romá, representing the Social Work of the Savings Bank. In the opening session, an email was read, sent from Santander, where the Euromeeting 2009 was being held, written by the President of the European Group, José Roberto López, with the unanimous agreement from the Board of Directors itself, to transmit our congratulations for the importance of the event.


     Some of the professionals and researchers who took part in the programs were: Fernando González, journalist and writer; Juan R Gil, editor of the daily paper Información; José Soto, director of the daily paper Las Provincias; Ezequial Moltó, editor of El País; Benjamin Lorena, director of Radio Alicante; Matilde Pelegrí, editor of the magazine Senda; Loles Díaz Aledo, journalist and ex-director of the “Club of Life” from RNE; José Mª Perea, editor of the daily paper Información; Tomás Escribá, representing JUBICAM; Antonio Gil, editor of the magazine Panorama Mediterráneo CAM; Fernando Embid, from the UPUA Observatory; Irene Ramos, researcher and sociologist; Antonio Arió, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Valencia; Lorenzo Andreu, person in charge of the CAMON Platform; and Mª Luisa Mataix, Felipe Castejón, Carlos Alberto Fernandez, Isidoro Lozano, and Mª Carmen Molina, researchers and students of the Observatory of the Elderly and Media of the UPUA.


     In the closing session, they considered the proposal for the future editions of these meetings, every year, to evaluate the development and evolution of the results obtained.




The elderly have become the most important population segment in the 21st century and, therefore, an important attention area for the future market due to its economic and demographic weight. At the present time, they are over eight million of elderly people over 65 and another 33% in Spain are older than 50.

The people who currently are older than 60 feel younger and in shape, and their level of education is higher than in previous generations. They have been socialized in consumption. With all likelihood, the diversity concerning life styles and consumer habits within the elderly people, will see an increase as the Spanish baby boom generations start becoming adults. We are, nevertheless, facing a major heterogenic citizenship, where we find more diverse life styles instead citizens of a determined biological age.  This major citizenship has escaped the forced stereotypes in the last decade of the 20th century, since they constitute now a collective group with greater purchasing power, growing everyday and with a future.

 It is obvious the need to “redefine” the social and public image of the elderly. After two days of work in the meetings, it became clear the social ignorance that exists on “how the new elderly really are”. The limited visibility of the elderly in the media was mentioned, as they appear “little” and, when they do, it is generally under a stereotype and deformed point of view, not very relevant, and not very real. They continue using an old and obsolete profile that does not reflect the reality of the Spanish elderly nowadays.

There is still an old age stigmatization, and its rejection, an age discrimination phenomenon. This confirms the important role that the media play, as socializing and opinion moulding agents in the world where we live. The elderly, for the big media, “are invisible” as normal and full right citizens: national radio and TV stations, big newspaper headlines, and they are only a bit more important in the local media. Thus, there is a duty for the elderly to be reactive and the urgent need to become active and make ourselves visible, but not at any price, but through an appropriate and real manner. The stereotypes that surround the elderly should be banished. This becomes a responsibility for everyone; a shared responsibility but especially for the elderly, that sometimes self-exclude themselves.

They highlighted the importance to adopt an efficient and reactive role facing the aggressions to the elderly image, but also a proactive role, in a way that succeeds in overtaking, without delay, the existing “social near-sightedness” over the new reality.


It is also fundamental to take care of the language.  This has been defended before the media. We must be careful with the verbal and audiovisual language, since it is never neutral. The possibility of creating guides or style books was also discussed, and the use of real images and written symbols of the elderly citizen.

It is essential to work arm in arm with all the organisations, existing platforms, and media in order to achieve this objective.  Age can never be a cause for discrimination.

The media must ponder about the pertinence of avoiding topics and insisting in the news where the main figure only appears related to the decadent, depressing, and derogatory situations, and associated to passive and dependent situations. The media have to recognize the “new elderly”, with multiple examples and life models that represent real images of elderly people with initiative and that define an active aging represented by the elderly of the 21st century.


We have emphasized the importance of collaborating within institutions and collective groups (elderly associations) in this new image that promotes a highly active model, and the need to reach a society that lives the intergenerationality and respect for the elderly´s experiences in a natural way, as a step to reach a true “Society of all ages”.

Education throughout life, the initiatives carried out by the elderly themselves, and the work carried out by the social mediators are key for the new image and model change for the elderly integrated in the future society.