How rural seniors in Denmark avoid social exclusion
For and by the seniors themselves.
Retired farmers and farm-partners in Denmark have the options to purchase a house in a nearby village or to rent a farm-house from the neighbour, who recenty bought their farm. Occcasionally it may be their son or daughter.
The retirement is often felt stronger by the husband than by his wife, but both of them enjoy social activities , discussions and events with people at their own age, and particularly with colleges with an experience similar to their own.
This is the reason for farmer families together with rural artisans to organize senior farmers clubs accessible for retired farmers all over the country. It has developed during the last fifteen years . At present we have 60 clubs of different sizes but in average 200 members per club totaling 12.000.
They have all been set up by former farmers and their views tipically 5-7 persons forming a council to be elected once a year. Nearly all of them subscribe to a national forum Landbrugets Seniorklubber, and most of the clubs have a common objective as “to further an active and rich age for present and former farm-families and other residents in the district.”
Each club prepares a programme once or twice a year offering speeches, discussions, visit to enterprices, farms and theaters, shorter and longer excursions and also abroad. Training in data processing, language courses, traffic-safety and bowling is also popular. Participants are equally divided between males and females.
Hopefully these activities enrich the third age for the participants, and the local councils are concerned to minimize the risk that isolated farmers should feel lonesome. Inwiting isolated neighbours is felt as a must independently of membership. Entering the club we want him/her to feel comfortable. The wellknown cultural songs support this and give a strong feeling to keep together.
It may be unique for Denmark that activities as above are organized by members of the target group. It reflects the tradition among Danish farmers that in case something is missing we may organize it ourselves. The entrepreneurship again was inspired by the folk high school invented by Grundtvig and Kresten Kold, with whom Landbrugets Seniorklubber feel in debt and we are proud recently to have developed a new cooperation with the folk high schools and the sport clubs. Agrricultural colleges often facilitate these activities.