A new month has begun and along with all the fall fun October brings, this date also marks the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons. The umbrella theme of this year’s campaign is “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World”. The world has changed dramatically for today’s seniors who have had to adjust to pandemic upheaval, new technologies, natural disasters, and social change. Lawmakers must include this rapidly growing proportion of the population in policy changes that address age, gender, and race discrimination.
Older adults are living longer, and because many seniors live alone without the support of family, or with low incomes, it has become increasingly important that policy development supports the health and well-being of older persons, creating supportive, and enabling environments. The UN encourages countries to challenge negative stereotypes about older people and aging, and create environments where seniors can realize their potential.
Already, the number of people over the age of 60 outnumber children under the age of 5, and over the next 30 years, the senior population is expected to more than double, with 80 percent living in low to middle-income countries. Living longer brings opportunities for seniors and their families – more time for education, a second career, or pursuing passion projects. But only with good health can these opportunities be realized and used to contribute to society.
By changing the way people and governments think about aging and older people, the lives of seniors and their loved ones can be improved. Protection from elder abuse, healthcare, transportation and housing programs, and caregiver support all help to ensure seniors can enjoy a healthier, safer, and more engaged old age.
Observing Day of Older Persons
- Chat with an older person – make time to talk to an older family member or neighbour today – you may be surprised by what you learn.
- Volunteer your time to make life easier for an older person.
- Become an advocate for seniors and help older people continue to contribute to their community.
With greater longevity, it will become commonplace to live well into one’s 80s, and there is much to look forward to in older age. Studies have found seniors are happier and more content than their younger counterparts, and they have much to teach us and to learn about our world and ourselves.