By Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey is a leading country in elderly care through its projects, laws, culture and opportunities, according to a gerontologist.
"We announced 2019 as the year of older persons to raise awareness and run projects about ageing and elderly people,” Kemal Aydin, head of the International Center for Ageing and Development (ICAD,) told Anadolu Agency on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons.
An expert in studies related to aspects of ageing, Aydin said Turkey is a leading country in elderly care due to its approaches such as the “Peaceful Home” project, which gives priority to home care facilities instead of retirement homes.
“We are against retirement homes. The place where a healthy person stays is their own home, the society. Systems and technologies that value them and make them healthy are delivered to the ones in need in Turkey,” he said.
ICAD aims to organize an expo in 2021, Aydin said.
“During the expo, exhibitions and forums will cover the health culture in Anatolia such as recovery homes and social complexes and also Anatolia’s historic complementary medicine: music and water therapies,” he added.
Speaking about the projects, Aydin said a documentary competition will be held focusing on the stories of centenarians, or people aged 100 and above.
“We also plan to establish a charity fund to help elderly people in need,” he said, adding money from the fund will also be spent to build age-friendly cities across the country.
“When we establish the world's largest Alzheimer's village with health diplomacy, everyone will wish to visit it.”
Around 1.5 billion elderly people in the world with 125 million of them in Europe alone creates a sector of its own, Aydin said.
“Turkish entrepreneurs can create content for media, competitions, holidays and learning programs targeting elderly people.”
“Turkey is a point of attraction in health tourism with its nature, technical infrastructure and cultural heritages,” he added.
“The World Ageing Summit was held for the first time in Turkey in 2005 with the participation of around 1,000 prominent people, including President Erdogan, who was then prime minister,” Aydin said.
“In order to achieve the summit, we worked hard to promote Turkey since 1990, when the UN General Assembly declared Oct. 1 as the International Day of Older Persons on Dec. 14, 1990,” he added.