Dutch politicians, social organizations team up in "aging with dignity" manifesto

A number of Dutch political parties and civil society organizations teamed up in a manifesto calling for more effort to be put into making sure that elderly people can grow old with dignity. A coordinating minister for elderly policy and encouraging family care are two of the priorities in the manifesto, ANP reports.

The manifesto was initiated by ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers, director Jan Slagter of broadcaster MAX and director Manon Vanderkaa of elderly organization KBO-PCOB. Their plans are supported by political parties CDA, SP and several Dutch celebrities. It can be signed online.

The manifesto is titled "Aging with Dignity" and according to Segers, it is one way to make sure the quality of life for older people increases again in the Netherlands. He adds that opinions on how to improve quality of life for the elderly will continue to differ. "But where we can find each other politically and socially is in a commitment to a society in which older people are seen and appreciated."

Other calls in the manifesto include a call for the "acceptance and revaluation of old age", making volunteering more attractive and countering loneliness among the elderly. There should also be "life coaches", instead of death coaches, who can answer the elderly's life questions and can help where needed.

Last year the government presented a plan to help people die who feel their life has been completed. The CDA, SP and ChristenUnie are against this plan, feeling that effort should rather be put into preventing people from experiencing their life as already done.