Older people take centre stage at a festival in Ljubljana
To mark International Day of Older Persons, the theme of which this year is “The Journey to Age Equality”, Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana hosted the 19th Festival of the Third Age, which ran until Thursday and featured ten expert panel discussions and more than 200 educational and cultural events. Around 17,000 people visited the festival over the three days.
National Assembly President Dejan Židan, who is the festival’s honorary patron, used his opening address to stress that our ageing society was a civilisational achievement of which we could be proud and one that we should accept as a challenge and, at the same time, as a major development opportunity. He also pointed out that it was crucial for the government to adopt a system of solidarity for long-term care during its current term of office. “As a society, we cannot let down those pensioners who are unable to afford care themselves,” he said.
In her address, Ksenija Klampfer, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, outlined some of the key challenges awaiting the government. These included providing decent pensions and ensuring the sustainability of the pension system, as well as building retirement homes and expanding home care provision. As minister, she would continue to endeavour to ensure that greater attention was paid to the human rights of older persons and to the issues of dignity in ageing and violence against older persons, she added.
As the organisers pointed out, the Festival of the Third Age is something special in European terms, as it brings together non-governmental organisations working with older persons, representatives of academic professions and political decision-makers.
The festival was launched almost two decades ago at the initiative of the government at the time – and it continues to receive government support. Talks are under way to make the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities the central ministry responsible for the festival.