Aging is not faced, it is cared for

Dr Cs. Antonio Aja Díaz, from the Center for Demographic Studies of the University of Havana, stated recently, in a meeting between President Díaz-Canel and members of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, that aging is not reversed, it is not faced; aging is taken care of.

The meeting, the third of its kind held by the Cuban president, had on that occasion the theme of the accelerated aging of the Cuban population.

Once again, Aja Díaz underlined, also in this context, the need for such an approach, as he had already done in his article on Population Policy. Experiences from Cuba, published in the News in Population magazine , of the Center for Demographic Studies (CEDEM), of the University of Havana.

In this text, the director of the CEDEM commented regarding aging “the need to harmoniously carry out welfare, with the achievement of an active, productive aging, not necessarily dependent and that recognizes it as an irreversible process, which does not need to be faced, but if taken care of, and above all take advantage of the potential, in a country like Cuba, of that older adult population with significant educational, professional, technical levels and accumulated life experience, which should and must be used by the development strategy economic and social status of the country and its territories ”.

Aging is not faced, it is cared for
The Cuban population ages and decreases. The low level of replacement of the population dates from the 20-30s of the last century. Photo: taken from missions.minrex.gob.cu

Each of the suggestions contained in this paragraph should be carefully analyzed, reflect on all the potentialities they contain and act accordingly.

Consequently, the aforementioned meeting of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel with members of the Cuban Academy of Sciences (ACC) was held, where the axis of the analyzes was how to encourage the elderly Cubans to live with the greatest dignity and well-being and what to do from the institutions and society to guarantee it.

It happens that the country is going through a complicated demographic situation, to the point that as of 2020 the population began to decrease naturally (more deaths than births) while the aging of the population accelerated. And the issue is not even remotely a problem of more or less gray hair or wrinkles, but rather concerns the entire present life and perspective of the nation, in all respects.

The estimates for the end of the year that ended, not yet confirmed at least publicly, were that, based on the data for the first half of 2021, the negative trend in the case of births would continue, below 100,000, deaths greater than 120,000 and a population decrease of 20,578 inhabitants.

From the Covid-19 to the external migratory balance, passing through other realities, condition such a situation. And although aging is not optional, the different fibers of the social fabric and each individual in particular can choose, to the extent of the real possibilities, for alternatives that contribute to a quality old age.

Although in the last 20 years it has not stood idly by in this regard and the country has policies and legislation – including the New Family Code – for older adults, there is still much to do.

So much so that, as announced by the Cuban president, a joint meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the PCC and the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers will be convened to discuss the issue.

Aging is not faced, it is cared for
Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

Despite the pending, it is worth pointing out some strengths, also recently enunciated, depending on the Cuban elderly:

– The portfolio of diagnostic products and non-pharmacological therapies available to the BioCubaFarma group to treat neurodegenerative diseases, concomitant with aging. Scientific institutions have obtained therapeutic molecules for this purpose.

-The potentialities in the so-called Industry 4.0, such as 3D technologies to manufacture large-scale devices -such as hearing aids-, artificial intelligence, and advanced computing and automation.

– The conviction of the need to adapt the physical environment to make it more friendly to this population group, and it is not only about eliminating architectural barriers, but also about facilitating their mobility in other areas, hence the transport system is located also on the bullseye.

And the greatest strength that can accompany the aging of Cubans is knowing, as Díaz-Canel pointed out, that having reached those ages is a result of what the Revolution has done in all areas, starting with health, despite being a poor and blocked country.

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