Kapralska, Łucja; Mamak - Zdanecka, Marzena
Academy of Science and Technology , Poland
In Poland, elderliness constitutes a relatively new social problem. Illustrating it is official data: 14% of the general population is aged 65 or more, yet only 3.5% of these individuals is still active on the labor market. A “demographic panic” is provoked by an increase of seniors concurrent with a decrease in the birthrate. Nevertheless, there is a manifest absence of the elderly who are ghettoized, isolated, and marginalized in social life while the focus is centered on productive youth. Old age is not a positive value; connotations of the word “old” are negative. A longer lifespan overlapping with the transformation of traditional family models in which generations took care of one another, entails changes in the way elderliness is experienced. A burning issue associated with an ageing population is its activation and better management of its free time. This paper aims to describe the ambiguous circumstances of Polish seniors. Current models for the elderly will be presented as well as social initiatives intended to render ageing a more satisfactory experience. The agents in this process are the state and local governments, NGOs, and religious communities which introduce programs to mobilize seniors. Moreover, attention will be drawn to the “silver economy” in which retired individuals continue to work and to the consumer market in which seniors do play a role. Investigation of the above-mentioned will permit assessment of the situation of the elderly and retired in Poland – are they marginalized or are they active?