‘Houses of hope’, the elderly hangouts in Iran

November 19, 2017

TEHRAN —‘Houses of hope’ are cultural and social institutions in Iran for the seniors to hang out and make new friends with those who share the same interest.

municipalities and provincial governor general’s offices to create places for the elderly to participate in socio-cultural activities, said the former director of the Civil Servants Pension Organization, Mohammad Eslamian, told the Tehran Times. 

Offering counseling and healthcare assistance and taking part in sports and artistic activities are some of the services such centers are providing to the elderly, Eslamian noted.

Currently, there are some 43 houses of hope nationwide in provinces of Isfahan, Khuzestan, Golestan, Fars, Qazvin, etc. which are projected to increase by 10 in the near future, he added. 

According to the Statistical Center of Iran, in 2006, some 5.1 million people were 60 or older in Iran, but the number rose to 6.1 million in 2011 and to 7.4 million in 2016. Currently, the country’s total population stands at about 80 million, of which some 9.3 percent is 60 or older. 

Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, two billion people, over 20 percent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. 

Unfortunately undermining older persons’ rights and blocking their contributions to social, economic, cultural and political life is pretty much common in almost all communities.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ageism, the stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age, is widely prevalent and stems from the assumption that all members of a group (for example older adults) are the same.

In 2014, governments around the world recognized ageism as “the common source of, the justification for, and the driving force behind age discrimination.”

Research suggests that ageism may now be even more pervasive than sexism and racism. This has serious consequences both for older people and society at large. 

Ageism has harmful effects on the health of older adults. Research by Levy et al shows that older adults with negative attitudes about ageing may live 7.5 years less than those with positive attitudes.

Ageism has been shown to cause cardiovascular stress, lowered levels of self-efficacy and decreased productivity.

Tackling ageism will require a new understanding of ageing by all generations. This understanding needs to counter outdated concepts of older people as burdens, and acknowledge the wide diversity of the experience of older age, the inequities of ageism, and demonstrate a willingness to ask how society might organize itself better.

CSPO is an independent legal entity under the governance of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and runs as an insurance company. This organization is responsible for the affairs related to the retirement of Iranian civil servants.

MQ/MG

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