Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

The Quality of Life of the Elderly in Romania 1

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

The Quality of Life of the Elderly in Romania 1

Article excerpt

Quality of life can be defined by all the elements relating to the physical, economic, social, cultural, political, health, etc. situation in which people live, the content and nature of the activities they carry out, the characteristics of the relationships and social processes in which they participate, the goods and services to which they have access, the adopted consumption patterns, way of life and lifestyle, assessment of circumstances and outcomes of activities that meet a population's expectations, and subjective states of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, happiness or frustration etc. (Marginean and Balasa, 2002)

The practical purpose of determining the quality of life consists in indicating the actions that can be taken by an individual or a community to change for the better, to improve the existing living conditions. The evaluative nature of this endeavour includes, for each analysed area/aspect, a number of assessment indicators whose role is to transform the individuals' opinions and perceptions into quantifiable research data.

The elderly's quality of life adds to this definition the social gerontology component which is focused on identifying the transformations occurring in an individual's life once the working years passed. In this context, the presentation of the changes occurring in the life of an older person, the analysis of an older person's needs and the identification of the risks that a person runs as he/she gets older are a source of information for policy makers in the development of the public policy framework.

Ageing brings a number of transformations in individuals' life and they are reflected in the quality of their life. While during the working years an individual carries out an income-generating activity for the daily living, retirement causes both physiological and psychological changes. Physiological transformations consist in a gradual reduction of mobility, increased incidence of age-specific medical conditions (diseases of the circulatory system, bones, and internal organs) that limit the physical effort that an elderly person is able to make. From the psychological viewpoint, an individual loses its reference points, the feeling of loneliness or worthlessness occurs, interactions with others are limited. One effect of the transition from working life to retirement is the reduction in revenue, which causes an imbalance in the daily living of the elderly.

The issue of old age has become an important issue on the public agenda in recent years. The data provided by the Romanian National Institute of Statistics (NIS) supports this view, being based on life expectancy in Romania, in conjunction with the age structure of the population. A phenomenon of population ageing has emerged; for the first time in recent history the number of retired people is higher than the number of young people (The National Council of the Elderly, 2014). The ageing of the population, combined with increasing life expectancy can also be seen as a positive outcome of the modernisation of a society or of the integration of scientific discoveries in medicine; however, we must also analyse the living standards of these people.

The purpose of this article is to address the issue of old age based on the transformations affecting the life of the elderly, the aspects relating to the quality of life and access to social and healthcare services, and leisure. The analysed data come from both NIS's Online TEMPO database and the databases made under projects financed by structural funds. We also used data from interviews with representatives of retirement mutual aid associations affiliated to the 'Omenia' National Federation.

The research conducted in this paper is based on data from Eurostat, the TEMPO Online database of the National Institute of Statistics and research conducted under research projects funded by the European Social Fund through the Operational Programme for Human Resource Development 2007-2013. …

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