The joys and tribulations of old age

By Natalia PiknaLex Kleren

Fear of old age permeates our society, from ads celebrating youth, movies with little screen time for the elderly, to policies reducing it to a burden. Capitalism hints that without work as purpose we become practically useless. What does that imply for people who retire, has their worth vanished?

Within the EU, Luxembourg has one of the highest levels of satisfaction among older people after Denmark and Finland according to a Eurostat study from 2019. As of January 1st 2019, people aged 60 and over represent 19.8 per cent of the total Luxembourgish population. The Lëtzebuerger Journal has set out to meet with people who are getting older and enjoy life just the same. They have had the generosity of sharing their experiences and insights of what old age has brought them, the negative but mainly all the positive surprises that come with passing a certain threshold of life, and how one can prepare for this new phase.

Gero – Kompetenzzenter fir den Alter (Competence Centre for Ageing), is an association founded some 30 years ago, at the initiative of the Ministry of Family Affairs, which continues to support many of its projects. One of their aims is to develop innovative approaches that positively influence the lives of the elderly in Luxembourg. They also create different opportunities for seniors to volunteer. One of these projects is called "Raconte-moi une histoire" (Tell me a story), where the participants visit nurseries, schools and libraries and read to children between the ages of 2 and 9 in their mother tongue. This creates a unique cultural exchange between the seniors, who take on a sort of ''Grand-Parent'' role for the children.

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