Elderly folks a precious resource: experts

November 04, 2020 - 08:00
Starting businesses among the elderly is considered a solution to ensure social security for them as the population ages, experts said at a forum held on Monday in Hà Nội.
The elderly join a morning exercise performing at the Nguyễn Huệ walking street in District 1 in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hương

HÀ NỘI — Starting businesses among the elderly is considered a solution to ensure social security for them as the population ages, experts said at a forum held on Monday in Hà Nội.

The forum about livelihood and entrepreneurship for the elderly was held by the Department of Social Assistance and the Tạp chí Lao động Xã hội (Labour and Society) magazine.

The Population and Housing Census released in April last year by the General Statistics Office found the country had about 11.4 million people over 60 years old, accounting for about 11.86 per cent of the population. In which, there are more than 1.9 million people aged 80 and over, accounting for about 16.5 per cent of the total elderly population.

As many as 40-45 per cent of the elderly still work and have income besides their pension.

Referring to economic policies for the elderly, Nguyễn Hải Hữu, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Association of Vocational Education – Training and Social Work Profession, said the State should have specific livelihood support for the elderly, especially those living in disadvantaged areas.

The elderly also needed vocational training to change careers in accordance with the local situation, he said.

There should be policies to reduce training fees, fees for technology transfer and product consumption for the elderly.

“Livelihood supportive policies are an important premise to help the elderly ensure their own income and minimise their dependence on children,” he said.

The State should plan to develop and implement economic support policies for the elderly in accordance with the country’s socio-economic context and elderly people’s actual situation.

Nguyễn Lê Minh, former deputy head of the National Programme of Employment under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the elderly were a valuable resource.

“The elderly have the advantage of professional experience and social relationships built through years that young people cannot have. These things contribute to success, development and entrepreneurship of the elderly,” he said.

Việt Nam is preparing for a programme for the elderly in 2021-30, in which the State would work with the Elderly Association, Small and Medium Enterprises Association, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Farmers Association to help the elderly start businesses, according to Minh.

Even when the elderly have successfully started a business, the State and organisations will continue to work with their businesses and help them with matters related to laws and product consumption.

Nguyễn Thị Kim Hoa, a lecturer from the Hà Nội University for Social Science and Humanities, said it was not easy for the elderly to find a job, as there was no recruitment information channel for this group.

“The elderly group lack information about the labour market,” she said.

To solve that problem, said Hoa, the Department of Employment was working with job centres to organise job exchanges for the elderly.

"There are a lot of jobs the elderly can do without affecting the young’s opportunity to find work," she added.

In addition, she said, when the elderly join the labour market, it would create a better stimulus, especially when Việt Nam enters the ageing population period. — VNS