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Sharing the burden

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Christian Lohr, a Christian Democrat from canton Thurgau, was born in 1962 with a birth defect related to thalidomide, and serves on the board of Pro Infirmis in addition to serving in the House of Representatives Keystone

Christian Lohr of the Christian Democrats sees solidarity as an issue for the future. Politicians are very aware of the two main problems to be addressed – financing of old age pensions and provision of healthcare services for the ageing population – but “they are not yet ready to make the necessary decisions,” he says.

In order to move forward, it’s necessary to have an overall concept that is fair for all the generations, says the parliamentarian from canton Thurgau. Shifting the burden to future generations is not an option, but neither is viewing elderly people only in terms of their costs for society.

Dancing seniors


Swiss politicians tackle the issue of ageing

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And young people also need to be allowed to explore various options for the future, from education to work experience. “It can’t be that they immediately have to concentrate on earning money” to finance the retirement of the older generations, Lohr says.

Much of the impetus for addressing the challenge will come from politics. “Politics is a part of society, and can motivate society to change or to reflect. Catchy phrases aren’t enough – you also have to be a role model. Fundamentally, politics has the task, or perhaps the responsibility, of offering perspectives, and not just – as is often unfortunately the case today – instilling fear.” 

“Where do you see yourself at age 75?”

“I would like to continue to be available to society. Politically, however, I would want to make way for the next generation and their ideas. For myself, I  hope to age with dignity in a community based on solidarity.” 

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