The “Aging and Healthy Aging Symposium” organized by Afyonkarahisar University of Health Sciences (AFSU) Atatürk Health Services Vocational School to draw attention to old age and the needs of this period, was completed with the welcoming speech of our Vice Rector Prof. Dr. Ümit Dündar and the presentations of the field experts.
In the event organized online due to Respect for the Elderly Week, Akdeniz University Faculty of Health Sciences, Head of Gerontology Department Prof. Dr. İsmail Tufan, Lawyer Gökhan Kılıç from AFSU Legal Consultancy and Emine Sağlam, Director of Afyonkarahisar Provincial Directorate of Family, Labor and Social Services made presentations.
At the symposium moderated by AFSU Atatürk Health Services Vocational School Head of Health Care Services Department Dr. Lecturer Ayten Küçük, our Vice Rector Prof. Dr. Ümit Dündar said that aging is an uninterrupted process that starts from the mother’s womb and continues until her death.
Drawing attention to the fact that old age is a stop in the biological life cycle that all people will go through, and in this respect, it is an inevitable period Prof. Dr. Dündar noted that individuals in this period have their own unique needs and problems.
The Problems of Our Elderly Are Not Only Limited To Health
Prof. Dr. Dündar continued his words as follows: “We know that while human life is prolonged with scientific developments, some chronic diseases have become widespread and new diseases are also on the agenda. Of course, the problems of our elderly are not limited to health. Therefore, the topics to be discussed in this event are of great concern to individuals of all age groups and those responsible for improving the quality of life of the elderly.
The elderly population in the general population has increased proportionally due to the effect of many demographic and social factors and the decrease in the population growth rate. As in many countries, in Turkey changes have emerged in the population pyramid. This situation brought the needs of the elderly to the agenda more and it has influenced many policies from education to working life, from social security to health services.
Studies have been carried out at various levels by public institutions, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations about the segments of society such as women, children and the disabled.
However, unfortunately, not every segment is as advantageous as those I have mentioned. The elderly are at the top of the groups which are neglected and less work done on them than others.
Are We Aware of Our Responsibilities Towards the Elderly?
Our elders, who carry social and cultural experiences from past to present, are one of the elements of the family institution, our guides, in accordance with our core values. The elderly is a source of abundance for our society. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have witnessed a massive erosion of the perception towards the elderly. The prejudices that the elderly cannot keep up with the conditions of the age, they are conservative, unchangeable and burden to the family, especially as a social wound we witness in city life, upset us. Now the question is: Do we expect the state and NGOs to assume all responsibility for the elderly, accepting the problems caused by the proliferation of nuclear family structure and unplanned urbanization as a reality? Or will we defend that all individuals as a whole have a responsibility to show the elderly people the respect and value they deserve?
One of the functions of universities, which have scientific autonomy and public legal personality, which provide high-level education, scientific research, publication, and consultancy, is to serve all segments of the society without discrimination.
As AFSU, we want to undertake structural and long-term projects related to the elderly. We will inform the public when our work on this subject reaches a certain maturity. Therefore, at this stage, I want to leave the floor to the speakers by mentioning a few points that indicate your basic perspective on the subject.
We will implement our projects
There are precautions and steps to be taken to increase the number of successful and healthy aging people in the society, and the importance of a conscious academic vision in taking these steps cannot be denied.
We think that the idea that aging individuals cannot play an active role in society is incompatible with our culture. In this respect, in terms of the elderly people’s continuing to transfer their savings to the society; We believe that conditions should be provided that will enable them to participate in life in this period of their lives.
Hopefully, as a university, we will implement our concrete projects on this subject in the not distant future. With these thoughts, I hope that our symposium will yield fruitful and effective results, and once again express my gratitude on behalf of my institution and myself to everyone who contributed to the realization of the organization. “
After Prof. Dr. Dündar’s greeting speech, Akdeniz University Faculty of Health Sciences, Head of Gerontology Department. Dr. İsmail Tufan emphasized the important needs of the old age period by mentioning the physical and social dimensions of old age and old age in his presentation titled “Lifelong Learning”.
Speaking about the aims and campuses of the Refreshment University established at Akdeniz University for individuals over 60 years old, and his observations regarding this study, Prof. Dr. Tufan also shared remarkable information about the gerontology department and the employment of its graduates.
At the symposium, which continued by explaining the legal dimension of old age in national legislation in the presentation titled “Legal Dimension of Old Age” by Lawyer Gökhan Kılıç, detailed explanations were made about the legal regulations for the elderly in our country and around the world.
The last speaker, Social Service Specialist Emine Sağlam, made statements about the services of the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services for the elderly and especially the services offered to our elderly people who receive care both in institutions and at home during the pandemic process.