“The Foundation for Healthy Ageing” in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Sport and Tourism, the capital city of Warsaw, and the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing were the organizers of the 1st Congress on Healthy Ageing. The event consisted of a two-day series of scientific sessions and panel discussions. It was held on January 30th – 31st, 2014 in the Porczynscy Gallery in Warsaw. Experts said i.a. that “Poles are one of the fastest aging societies in Europe” and “the percentage of Polish seniors active professionally and socially is several times lower than e.g. in Scandinavian countries”. The initiator and author of the Congress was professor Boleslaw Samolinski.
The opening speech was by Ewa Kopacz, the Speaker of the Sejm. She emphasized the need for a multidimensional approach to the problems of healthy aging. A major challenge for Poland is to overcome the unfavorable demographic trends. Nevertheless, that task cannot lie within the competences of a single Ministry.
“All of the studies, statistics and forecasts indicate that the time of our living will gradually extend. The point is that we should do our best to make this long life active and healthy – so we can enjoy each other, our children, grandchildren and as such enjoy the whole life for longer.” – said Ewa Kopacz.
The plenary sessions were preceded by speeches by special guests of the Congress: before mentioned Ewa Kopacz, the Speaker of the Sejm, Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland and professor Bolesław Samolinski. They called for a general social commitment to the realization of the idea of healthy aging. The President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski, expressed his support for the initiative in a letter read at the Congress. He stressed the importance of long-time activeness and participation of elderly people in social life.
There are only 13 working persons in a group of 100 people aged 60 +. In comparison, in countries such as Denmark and Switzerland this factor mounts up to above 40. Our southern neighbors are more active than Poles – every fourth person over 60 years old from that region is still active professionally. The current data on their involvement in social life looks similar. Polish and Hungarian seniors have the most negative attitude towards the state of their health. We note high intensity of depression and the rate of disabled or chronically ill people in Poland is up to 8-fold higher than e.g. in Austria.
Among many issues discussed during the Congress, one could not miss a lecture on the form of sense organs, which has a great influence on the development of society. We need proper hearing, sight and speech in order to conduct interpersonal communication.
According to professor Henryk Skarzynski, who moderated one of the plenary sessions entitled “The importance of disorders in the communication process” – one of the major challenges of modern society is to ensure proper interpersonal communication, which allows for constant learning process. Nowadays, each of us continually learns something. We may memorize slowly, it may be difficult to repeat information from the past – however, we still learn. Malfunctions or damages of human sense organs – especially those of hearing – may cause numerous disorders: the decline of cognitiveness, dysfunctions of some organs, and depression in elderly people with profound hearing loss occur 5 times more often than in other cases Statistical data regarding central disorders in people over 65 years old: 33% of them suffers from cognitive disorders, episodes of memory disorders occur in 80% of cases, and the probability of the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease is noted in 90%.
The early diagnosis of hearing impairment, and the ability to use the latest technology allow to control the hearing of people of all ages, ensuring their good communication with the environment. – said professor Skarzynski closing his lecture.