After collaborating with a U.S. non-profit group, Turkey is ready to build a commune for the elderly in order to promote healthy aging.
Gerontologist Dr. Kemal Aydin, also chairman of Turkey's World Healthy Ageing Council (WHAC) says they are ready to launch a huge project of retirement tourism to host 1.5 billion retired people in the villages.
Representatives of We Care for Humanity (WCH) arrived in the capital Ankara on Tuesday to discuss the way forward with WHAC.
The collaboration aims to build the Eco-Palace for Humanity that will set Turkey apart as a leader in healthy aging globally.
Turkey is a point of attraction in health tourism with its nature, technical infrastructure and cultural heritages, said Aydin.
Referring to the World Aging Summit -- held in Turkey in 2005 with the participation of around 1,000 prominent people, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- Aydin said Turkey is expected to be the new hub for healthy aging.
"World Health Organization (WHO) also attended the summit back then and told us that Turkey should be the hub of healthy aging.
"After the summit we worked hard to make this come true and rolled up our sleeves for the 2022 World Healthy Aging Assembly Expo," he added.
Sultana Mariam Amor, the founder of WCH, told Anadolu Agency that the project is also planned to launch in Uganda, Cambodia and the Philippines.
Eco-Palace holds a different role in every country depending on the need, Amor noted.
"In the Philippines, we designed our eco-palace over the recent incident in Marawi, which was seized by the ISIS/Daesh terror group, so we had about 20,000 displaced families in need of permanent homes.
"We will be responding to the emergency cases in such countries, whereas in Turkey the elderly of the lower income group are the priority for us," Amor said.
She said their partnership with WHAC will promote healthy aging which is also promoted by President Erdogan.
Amor will also promote the project in Turkey as the current healthy aging ambassador of the program," Aydin stressed.
"The eco-palace will be a center for free education, health care, livelihood program, culture and arts for humanity.
"This area of eco-tourism, where elderly people will spend time to live a healthy life, is also an economic contribution to the country," Amor said.
Amor said the key is to first have the land where the structure will be built, to bring the project to life.
She emphasized that the goal is to sit on the table with the governments and the private sectors for the land which will be used for the eco-palace and also for commercial purpose where people and investors of the land can do joint ventures.
"All eco-palaces are ecotourism where people can come and travel this will sustain and become an additional income for the Eco-Palace," Amor said.
There are about 962 million people over the age of 60 in the world today -- more than twice the number in 1980.
By 2050, this number will more than double again to reach nearly 2.1 billion. This rise in the elderly population along with declining birth rates means that by the middle of this century, there will be more people over the age 60 than those under the age 15.
The elderly represent a massive opportunity for almost each industry with consumers facing new challenges that businesses can help solve.
By addressing those challenges, companies can build new markets for their products and services while also creating social value.
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