Retirement age will increase, Lynch
The Minister of State for Older People Kathleen Lynch has indicated the Government’s positive ageing strategy will involve increasing the retirement age.
“Those of us who are lucky enough to get to old age… and be relatively healthy and active have an enormous contribution to make.” Ms Lynch said.
The Government will have to take a serious look at “the cliff face of the retirement”. Some workers will want to retire in their mid to late sixties and “some people won’t”, she told an audience at a European Year for Active Ageing conference in Dublin today.
Ms Lynch indicated workers could retire on a graduated basis – “you know, a certain age maybe a half day a week” – which would make the transition from work to retirement less jarring.
The Government is due to publish its positive ageing strategy in the new year. Ms Lynch said the “thematic” plan will prioritise job creation for older people.
The conference marked the end of the EU-wide year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. Ms Lynch said "opportunities created within this year" should not be lost.
Ms Lynch, who met Wales’s older people’s commissioner Sarah Rochira on a recent trip to Cyprus, said Ireland will now work with Wales on strategies for older people because “Wales is so close to us”.
At the same conference Dr Maureen Gaffney said a huge social transformation must take place to properly address issues and stigma around ageing.
If the momentum built up during the year is to be sustained “the whole thing has to become a movement”, Dr Gaffney argued.
She compared ageism today with sexism in the 1970s, drawing a particular parallel with language and terminology.
Changing language changes consciousness, social expectations and social status, she said. By clarifying the correct use of terms such as Miss, Mrs, and Ms, the feminist movement achieved previously “inconceivable” change.
Dr Gaffney criticised the perception that older people could make a contribution to society, which she contrasted with the assumption that younger people contribute to society.
“Everybody at all stages of life has a give and take relationship with society,” she said.
She outlined four principles essential to bringing about this social transformation:
Lifespan perspective: Knowing in your heart that you are gong to get older and decisions you take in your 30s, 40s, and 50s will have consequences later in life.
Older people are not all the same: Age is the least important of similarities and least predictive of individual lives.
Age itself is not important: In light of the second principle, age alone is a poor basis for policy making
Age integration should be the major social policy goal: Social institutions must be reshaped in a radical way to accommodate older people. For example, it should be inconceivable that a discussion on education could take place without consideration of the needs and desires of older people.