The obligation of generations. Or: Who
takes care of the elderly – An international comparison

SWR 2, 19 Dec. 2006, 30 min.
In the future, more demands are supposed to be placed on the grown-up children of those who require nursing care in old age but can‘t afford it. This proposal from the German CDU Party has been criticised from many sides. Yet what kind of stance have other countries taken? Where does responsibility for taking care of the elderly lie more with the government, where with the younger generation?
The population is ageing worldwide, and not only in industrial countries like Germany. Threshold countries such as China or even developing countries like India are affected by this, too. But whereas the prosperous countries have had over 100 years to establish pension and social welfare systems, ageing in the Third World is proceeding so rapidly that all the governments have left are a few decades. At the moment the frequently existent sense of family is still cushioning the greatest calamities of old age, but the young generation’s feeling of duty is starting to crumble everywhere. Here, but also in industrial countries that have merely set up a weakly based old-age care system – countries like Italy or the USA – an impoverishment on broad social levels looms as people get older and older.

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