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Government improving lives of the elderly says minister

The rate of poverty risk for people over 65 has dropped sharply from 46.4 per cent in 2009 to 17.3 per cent in 2015, the labour minister said on Wednesday

Cyprus has succeeded in taking measures to improve the living conditions of an ageing population by following a strategy for the elderly, but challenges still exist that must be tackled, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou announced on Wednesday.

In a statement on occasion of World Seniors Day, she said that the number of elderly people has increased significantly as a result of an increase in the average life span and a decrease in the birth rate.

“The rate of poverty risk for people over 65 has dropped sharply from 46.4 per cent in 2009 to 17.3 per cent in 2015. The proportion of people aged over 65 who are facing serious material deprivation also fell from 9.5 per cent in 2009 to 5.1 per cent in 2015, data show,” she said.

Measures have been taken such as the promotion of new incentive schemes for the unemployed and economically inactive population groups, including a special employment plan for people aged 50 and over, public and semi-private education and training opportunities, disease prevention and an injury prevention scheme for all ages.

According to the minister, Cyprus was recently assessed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, which found that the country has succeeded in harmonising the social welfare system in line with demographic, social and economic changes in the society. The commission said the government has promoted measures that meet the social and economic consequences of an ageing population and has taken measures to safeguard the quality of life of all ages and to preserve independent living.

“The strategy for the elderly is based on pillars such as encouraging longer working lives and maintaining work capacity, promoting and safeguarding the opportunities for participation, non-discrimination and social integration of the elderly, promoting and safeguarding their dignity, health and independence and maintaining and reinforcing solidarity between the generations,” Emilianidou.

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