By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden, Gemany
(whose foreign born wife has not been able to enter Germany for 10 months--even though EU law gives her the right to come here).
I was bicycling on the Rhine River yesterday afternoon and stopped in the beautiful town of Eltville.
All along the way between Wiesbaden and Ruedesheim, I had observed signs of hard-working and friendly peoples who did not look particularly German (i.e. light colored skin and European face and hair shades). For example, there were well-integrated Asian and African faces speaking to their kids in German in several of the places I was at, including the cafe' I relaxed at.
In Eltville, I had stopped at a cafe' in order to enjoy a cappuccino and poppy-seed cake. I picked up the local monthly paper (September 2009), the RHEINGAU. On p. 5 of the RHEINGAU was an article entitled "WE NEED EVERY CHILD". The subtitle read: "What will happen when we are 125 years old?"
The story included a short summary of a presentation from a demographer, Dr. Winfried Koesters, to several regional working groups in the Rheingau region. The main points of Koesters' provocative discussion were that with new medicine and better models of living a more productive (and long) life, Germans needed to consider what the country's actual needs would be if and when the average age of the elderly were to reach 125.
The article shared important and interesting data, such as how the country needed not only care givers but trained specialists and lifelong learners and helpers to confront the challenge of an aging population. "For example, the 80,000 Germans leaving school with no diploma each year was obviously contrary to the needs of society." Dr. Koesters pointed out.
The tiny European state of Andorra already finds itself with the average age of life expectancy to have long since passed 80. Several other European states are nearly that far along.
Koesters addressed 4 areas that were of concern to the Rheingau residents.
Committees in Rheingau, by the way, already exist. These committees are looking into these following 4 areas in order to plan for better and greater development in Germany.
These four research questions to the Rheingau communities are:
(1) "How can the elderly choose to be more active in society and life?"
(2) "How can we promote more attractive villages and towns--and the multiple faces of the region?"
(3) "What new models of living in homes and community need to be developed?"
(4) "Do you just live here or do you do more than that?
All of these research queries require more participation by an increasingly larger number of younger citizens and residents.