Aging must be addressed, not confronted

Aging must be addressed, not confronted
Fecha de publicación: 
14 January 2022
Imagen principal: 

Dr. Sc. Antonio Aja Díaz, from the Center for Demographic Studies of the University of Havana, recently confirmed, in a meeting between President Díaz-Canel and members of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, that aging should not be reversed or confronted; but addressed.

The meeting, the third of its kind held by the Cuban president, focused on the accelerated aging of the Cuban population.

Once again, Aja Díaz highlighted, also in this context, the need for such an approach, as he had already done in his article Política de Población. Experiencias desde Cuba (Population Policy. Experiences from Cuba) published in the journal Novedades en Población, by the Center for Demographic Studies (CEDEM), of the University of Havana.

In this text, the head of the CEDEM pointed out, regarding aging, “the need to harmoniously carry out welfare, with the achievement of an active, productive aging, not necessarily dependent, that embraces it as an irreversible process, which does not need to be confronted, but addressed, being paramount the fact of taking 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 economic and social development strategy nationwide.”

Each of the suggestions expressed in this paragraph should be carefully analyzed, reflect on all their potentialities, 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 core analysis focused on how to encourage Cuban senior citizens 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 entered in natural decrease (death rate greater than birth rate) while the aging of the population accelerated. And the main concern is not having a gray hair or wrinkles, but dealing with the entire present life and perspective of the nation, in all orders.

The estimates for the end of 2021, 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 will continue, while deaths will go over 120,000 with a population decrease of 20,578 inhabitants.

Covid-19, the external migratory rate, and other facts, lead to such situation. And although aging is not optional, different aspects of society and each individual in particular can choose, to the extent of the real possibilities, for alternatives that contribute to a quality old age.

Cuba has not ignored this fact in the last 20 years and boasts policies and legislation -including the New Family Code- for the elderly. But 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.

Notwithstanding pending issues, it is worth noting some recently outlined strengths in terms of Cuban senior citizens:

- The portfolio of diagnostic products and non-pharmacological therapies available to the BioCubaFarma group to treat neurodegenerative diseases, concomitant with aging. Scientific institutions have created 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, which it is not only about eliminating architectural barriers, but also about facilitating their mobility in other areas, focusing on the transport system as well. 

And the greatest strength that can go hand in hand with aging in Cuba is to know, 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.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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