The rationale, objects and needs
An increasingly larger part of the population in industrialized countries is spending longer time in retirement than before. On average, people can expect a retirement that will last between a quarter to a third of their lifetime. The increasing life expectancy of individuals will lead to a steady increase in the number of people in their “third age”. In Europe one can expect up to 25% of the population in this category.
The additional life expectancy of European citizens who have reached the age of 65 is estimated to be around 20 years, and has increased considerably over the last decades (Eurostat Demography Report 2010). The UN report on World Population Aging 1950-2050 maintains that: “Europe is currently the world’s major area with the highest proportions of older persons and is projected to remain so for at least the next 50 years. About 37 per cent of the European population is projected to be 60 or over in 2050, up from 20 per cent in 2000. Almost 30 per cent is projected to be 65 or over, up from 15 per cent in 2000”.
Consequently, it is of utmost importance for the future of Europe to guarantee the highest quality of life for this large group of citizens and to ensure that their valuable resources of experience and knowledge are made accessible to the younger generations and society at large.
It is against this background that this project emerges. It aims at facilitating the entry into retirement through early and successful planning. Research and experience leads us to believe that early planning for this transition is crucial for a successful, productive and enjoyable active retirement. It has been shown that people's attitudes towards retirement are split between a feeling of abandoning their normal routines without anything to look forward to and seeing it as a liberation from their duties in order to embark upon a new and exciting engagement and contribution to society.
We believe it is essential to establish guidelines and practices to best prepare individuals for the inevitable upcoming retirement, to plan for an enjoyable and active “third age” with emphasis on creating a stimulating learning environment and ambiance and on the exchange of knowledge. It is urgent to raise stakeholders' awareness of this vast and increasing “third age” human resource of knowledge and experience and its importance for the society. The existence of competent, active and productive retirees is a vital asset for promotion of social, economical and cultural changes in all countries. This resource should not be wasted or left unused.