Topic 73: In many countries, the proportion of older people is increasing steadily. Do you think it is a positive or negative change to the society?
In many countries, the trends toward fewer children and more senior citizens are proceeding at an accelerated pace. A long and healthy old age was previously a cause for celebration, but now viewed as a "burden on society". As far as I sec, fears that problems will arise from an ageing population are unfounded
People tend to believe that the ageing of a society leads to slower growth of population size and to a shrinking workforce. The dominantway of looking at an older society has been to see this as a problem — an increasing burden on the working population. The fact is that as the number of young people falls, organisations will find it harder to recruit from their traditional pool of school-leavers and graduates. To tackle this problem, an increasing number of sectors and companies are now desperate tokeep their highly experienced older workers. Therefore, an ageing population will by no means constitute a problem because older people should work at or beyond retirement age. Nor will it lead to a crisis of labour.
Another widespread worry is the sufficiency of wealth available in society to sustain the retired population. Paradoxically, when people are concerned about the public expenditure on the retired population, they have ignored private transfers of time and money from the old generation to the young one. It is important to note that parents' earning capacity grows nowadays because of having fewer children. The total time they spend caring for dependents drops, and they are thus releasedfor productive work. When they reach retirement age, they are in a stronger position with better financial security. In later years their children should receive an adequate inheritance, assisting them in turn to achieve a comfortable retirement.
In addition to establishing a solid financial base for families, older people also have time to offer for other benefits of family and those of the community. Healthy and energetic, they are the backboneof voluntary services. Voluntary services are not worthlessjust because they are unpaid. Senior workers can provide families or voluntary organisations with legal, accounting, computer or other skills for free.
As suggested above, the fear (hat people will suffer from the "burden" of too many elderly people is unreasonable. Any issue that arises from having a larger, older and healthier elderly population should not be viewed as a challenge for the century to come, because improving health and increased life expectancy mean that today's older population is able to lead a fuller life than any generation before them.
1. unfounded = groundless = tenuous
2. dominant = leading = main = major = prevailing
3. desperate to = anxious to = eager to = keen to
4. release = free = liberate
5. inheritance = legacy = heritage
6. backbone = main part
7. worthless = of no value = valueless = useless
Topic 74: Currently more and more people respect elders and become convinced that older people should live with their families, which is in contrast to the view that older people should live at a nursing home. What is your opinion?
The swellingof the aged population is an inescapabletrendin many countries. There is no point in denying that managing this fundamental social change is an unprecedented challenge, such as presenting suitable housing and care options to the elderly people. As to whether a nursing home suits the elderly better than their own homes (where they can stay with their families), my view is that it is a decision that varies according to personal needs and characters.
It is true that nowadays, many older persons are able to stay active in their old age because of medical advances, healthier lifestyles and anti-ageing technologies. It is time that people rethoughtthe perceptions of what it means to be old. Many retired people feel the need to contribute to the community after a lifetime of service to businesses and their families. They love to be involved in all sorts of activities and enjoy being included in groups. Considering their desire to maintain their independence and be part of society, if they do not have a decent quality of life, they will feel excluded. For this reason, the retirement home is not a preferred option.
Families and friends are the key to a happy old age. Elders can enjoy the companyof the peers of the same age in a nursing home but meanwhile, suffer a loss of family life. Living away from their families, older people are more prone to the feeling of loneliness. The lingeringstereotype of the average senior citizen as afrailand passivefamily member should be scraped now. Older members are capable of shoulderingmore family responsibilities following their retirement. Their sense of well-being is linked to the extent to which they are involved in family duties.
Despite the strong preference among the elderly for staying with their families, a nursing home functions well to help those who do not have the company of their families. In addition to offering the access to social activity and engagement, a nursing home provides professional care service to old people, most of whom are not capable of caring and cooking for themselves. For those who are taken to hospital frequently for treatment, the rest home is particularly a good choice, as there are many health and medical specialists.
As suggested above, considering the fact that nowadays, many elderly people are able to remain healthy and active, they should be given the chances to participate in social and family activities as well as pursuing hobbies and other interests. Only when their ill health or emotional well-being becomes a serious problem, should a nursing homo be taken into consideration.