Is there active ageing in the post-socialist countries? Example of Croatia and Serbia

Sanja Klempic Bogadi, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Croatia
Vladimir Nikitovic, Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade

The two post-socialist countries - Croatia and Serbia belong to demographically oldest countries in the world mainly due to decades long below-replacement fertility accompanied by significant rise of life expectancy at birth as well as by permanent emigration of people in the most vital age. The process was specially intensified during the last three decades resulting in median age of population of 42.0 and 42.2 in 2011 for Croatia and Serbia, respectively; the share of population aged 65 and above is 17.7% and 17.4%, while the share of the oldest old (80+) is 3.9% and 3.6% in Croatia and Serbia. If we consider population ageing on an individual level as a chronological development that ought to be associated with an active way of life of people as they grow old, we encounter the issue of active ageing. This concept does not seem to be widely recognized in the two countries both on individual and institutional level. As a matter of fact, the results of the representative researches conducted during the last decade point to poverty and weak institutional and instrumental support as the major problems of the elderly population in Croatia and Serbia. Even though recent strategic documents contain active ageing component, there are still no concrete measures that could serve elderly population to actively join various activities primarily in their local community, that could use an advantage of experience and knowledge of elderly for the well-being of the community itself, which in turn induce active ageing reflected in raising of an individual's life quality and reducing of community costs for care protection of elderly. Given the certainty of increase in both projected number and share of elderly population, the issue of active ageing will undoubtedly emerge as one of the central strategic cornerstones in both countries.

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Presented in Poster Session 2