Is considered old

Society of the Elderly

Old Germany - poor Germany?

On average, people in Germany are getting older than they used to be. At the same time, fewer children are born. German society is aging. Researchers argue about the effects of this demographic change.

For many of the "new olds", the increasing life expectancy is a reason to be happy: They are fitter than previous generations and only feel later that they are really old.

Others are skeptical about the future: more old people, it is feared, means less growth. The population development also has consequences for the social sector: So far, the vast majority of people have lived in private households into old age.

However, the lack of children weakens the social function of the family. The state has to adapt its infrastructure to the needs of an aging society. The need for home and care places is growing.

"Best Agers" and Kukidents

The more the crowd grows, the more important it becomes for the economy. According to the "Berlin Age Study", a study by the Berlin Max Planck Institute, those over 70 years of age already had a slightly higher income than the statistically determined average household income in the early 1990s.

Advertising agencies have long been looking for words to address the target group over 60: whether "Silver Agers" or "Best Agers", "Whoopies" (well-off old people) or "Kukidents" - really None of the terms has yet established itself.

The market, however, is increasingly oriented towards the growing group of buyers. A suitable aid is already on the market for developing age-appropriate products such as an easy-to-use mobile phone or a good walking aid: the "Age Explorer" simulation overall makes your legs heavy and obscures your view. Its aim is to help researchers develop new products.

Free time: new tasks in the third phase of life

Contrary to popular belief, most people today are in full possession of their mental and physical powers by the age of 75. That is why the period between the ages of 60 and 75 develops into a phase of its own that you look forward to and prepare for.

The "Berlin Aging Study" does away with the negative clich├ęs about old age. In this way, it shows that most old people are content with their lives. More than two thirds feel independent and believe that they can determine their own lives.

Pensioners are highly committed to society: They look after their grandchildren, look after relatives and do volunteer work. In many communities, seniors organize charitable projects.

The Family Ministry has also recognized this trend and is trying to support it. The fifth report on the elderly comes to the conclusion "that old age cannot be equated with illness and unproductivity, but that older people are already making a major contribution to social prosperity".

He also makes it clear that especially in an aging society, the skills of the elderly members of society increase in importance and must be used.

Fit and healthy

Whether the maximum age will continue to rise in the future and whether the largest population group in Germany will be around 90 years old at the end of the 21st century has not yet been clarified among scientists. What is certain is that today's senior citizens live on average much healthier and more active than previous generations. Many use further training offers and sports clubs.

According to the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), a good two million over 60-year-olds were members of sports clubs in 2003 - and the trend is rising. Nevertheless, the DOSB found that "too few elderly people are sufficiently active on a regular basis".

Above all, illnesses and the limited range of suitable sports facilities are barriers for many older people to exercise. That is why it is one of the main tasks of the DOSB to "secure and expand nationwide a qualitative sports offer for older citizens".

Exercise is important - especially for the elderly: In science, exercise has so far proven to be the only safe way to effectively slow down the aging process. Those who start regular endurance training in old age improve their cardiovascular system within a short period of time.

The reaction and short-term memory improve, the ability to coordinate increases, and the risk of accidents and injuries decreases. A study by the University of Ulm has shown that strength training is a very effective help against falls. The increase in strength through special training is enormous in older people.

Moderate fitness training can be started at any age. In any case, you should consult a doctor before starting the sports program and possibly have a stress ECG performed. For example, hiking, jogging, cycling or swimming are good for the heart and circulation.

In addition, sport opens up opportunities for social contacts. The best thing to do is to find out about suitable sports offers for seniors from your community. In some cities, universities or specialized fitness centers also offer senior courses.

Diet in old age

People's energy requirements and appetite decrease with age. This can lead to an undersupply of the body. Malnutrition is a common diagnosis in the elderly. Dehydration and a lack of important nutrients are a major danger, as the body no longer utilizes protein, vitamins and minerals as well.

Older people therefore need particularly high-quality protein every day. Lean meat or fish, dairy products and eggs are the main sources of this in sufficient quantities. Since meat and sausage shouldn't be on the table every day, nutrition experts also recommend soy products or legumes.

When dealing with fats, it is advisable to choose cold-pressed vegetable oils such as olive or sunflower oil. Whole grain products are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. There are many easily digestible types of bread such as graham bread, which even sensitive people can tolerate. Sugar as well as sugary foods and drinks should be replaced as often as possible with fruit or only sparingly sweetened pastries such as yeast cakes.