Where people used to rely on the authorities for care and social facilities – at least in the Netherlands at this moment – things are rapidly changing now. As a result of cut down of expenses and decentralization things like home care stop working, or are downsized to a cheap and hardly sufficient level. Homes for elderly people are shut down, one has to live on his/her own as long as possible with help from family and neighbors.
What this means in my opinion is that we, society, needs to look after those people, take care of the needy and miserable people. What is most important for needy elderly people to have a local person who people can talk to, a person with a local network, but also knows how to find and reach organisations for helping people like meals on wheels.
The elderly need someone who can do small things for them like replacing a light bulb, fixing some, some food shopping, and for some people also house cleaning and cooking (meals on wheels for example). For poor people there already are some local initiatives where poor can buy without money. They can deliver services like the ones described above, earn points with it and buy stuff in the store for those points. Those ones needing the services can deliver goods they do not use anymore, and get points for them, so goods can be exchanged for services or other goods.
To make it more specific for the shopping strips I am researching, a point of contact will be of great help, but also a sort of sitting room where people can exchange news, knowledge and just chat (real life), all this based on local social networks who can support each other. In this sitting rooms maybe a computer can be available, where the younger ones help elder ones on internet, and elder c.q. experienced ones can help the younger c.q. inexperienced/unskilled ones. For care nursing should be provided by local government and/or by insurance companies.
Which at the same time brings us at education. For education in the world we have to hold a torch, but for this I would like to refer to and give the floor to Malala Yousafzai, who lately won the Nobel prize of peace. Lately (before receiving the Nobel prize) she did an nice 45 minutes interview (except for short 15 sec introduction completely in English) [click here]. In the Netherlands, every child from 4 till 16 years of age is obliged to go to school. After that, going to college or university becomes more and more expensive. Therefore I think that learning while working will grow, and society has to pay attention that talents get a chance on good education.