Moderator: Stefan Barth, Co-founder and managing director AGAPEDIA Stiftung für Kinder, Soziales und Bildung gGmbH

12:00 – 12:20 Lecture 1: Wellbeing, Life Satisfaction and Happiness among older people in the countries from the Danube Region

Speaker: Prof. Rumiana Stoilova, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

This presentation aims to respond to the current pandemic in a way that respects the needs and dignity of older people focusing on the use of modern information and communication technologies among older adults and its impact over the subjective feeling of happiness. Peoples’ life satisfaction by country in April 2020 fall below the levels observed in 2016 and that is not surprising. The important questions are: How effectively can be increased the feeling of happiness among older people? Which factors could be influenced positively by specific policy measures? Based on data from European comparative empirical surveys, carried out before and during the Covid 19 crisis, this presentation will reveal several factors for happiness, which perform differently in the Danube countries. Some of the observed findings are that in Austria and in Germany older people are more satisfied with their life than older people in Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia. Age differences in subjective feeling of happiness are less pronounced in Germany and Austria. But older people in Bulgaria and Serbia use more internet than the same age people in Austria and Germany. Hence the discussion on the barriers preventing the improving of digital skills among older people in different countries is essential for increasing the level of the perceived happiness. Two additional factors for happiness of older people will be discussed – the assessment of the income or rent as justice and the role of the experienced employment insecurity during the whole life. This presentation aims fostering regional networking and mutual understanding between people leaving in the Danube countries. EU integration is happening on different levels – supranational, regional and national. Covid 19 crisis is showing both the shortcomings and the positive effects of the EU solidarity.

12:20 – 12:40 Lecture 2: Discrimination of older people and their rights

Speaker: Dr. Heidrun Mollenkopf, vice-president of the AGE-Plattform Europe and board member of BAGSO, Germany

Discrimination on grounds of age is among the most frequent reasons for complaints – mostly in the field of work. But Discrimination or – in other words – ageism is occurring in many more everyday situations. During the last weeks older persons felt quite often discriminated: they were regarded as “risk group”, they had to stay at home, residents of care homes were not allowed to see their relatives and friends – all limitations to their rights of autonomy, social relationships and dignity.

Which limitations to older persons’ rights can we accept – and how can we counteract such discriminatory attitudes? This presentation will reflect on such questions.

12:40 – 13:00 Round of questions from the audience

13:00 – 14:30 long break