International Day of Older Persons: Spare Sometime to Love & Care but Don’t You Dare Leave them with Despair
Mom, dad, grandma and grandpa who were our superheroes and superwomen in our lives suddenly become a burden and an excess baggage that most children are ready to throw away. We hate our grandpa requesting us to read out his passbook account number due to his ageing vision, we dread our grandma starting tales of her younger life time and again and pray that our parents don’t ask us to spend a weekend together with them trying to relive olden golden days. A hearty welcome to all of you who have either been accepting this nodding your heads vigorously or dismissing all/any of these with a broken heart. Today is International Day of Older Persons-a great opportunity to correct our harsh attitudes towards the ageing generation and surround them with warmth and regards.
There are more than 700 million people over the age of 60 living across the world most of them suffering from physical pain, emotional trauma or both together. Time is not far away (estimated to be 2050) when more than 20% of the world’s population would be those above the age of 60. Developing countries face maximum growth in the number of elderly persons with Asia topping the charts.
International Day of Older Persons
United Nations started embracing a day to celebrate the existence of the elderly population in the 1990 and ever since that, Oct 1st is designated as the International Day of Older Persons. The theme for 2018 is “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions” and this theme aims at glorifying our older heroes who dedicate their lives trying to improve human rights.
This is a day to stand against ageism and bring about a social change in the society to make this world a better and comforting place to people across age groups. This also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the complications and struggles of ageing in today’s world. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ageism as the stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination towards people on the basis of age. It can also be termed as ‘age discrimination’ when someone treats you unfairly because of your age. Highly prevalent among societies, ageism is largely accepted and remains unchallenged (unlike racism or sexism) as people subconsciously accept it and move on. It would be better if we remember that aged people love to grow home in the comforts of their home rather than being shifted to community centers. Ageism, its disadvantages and the society’s view are clearly elaborated in the website www.firsteatright.com.
Older people are an asset to this world. Their value-system, experience, versatility and wisdom are unmatchable attributes that help in guiding the younger generation. But, to use these attributes efficiently we must ensure to take good care of their health, both emotional and physical. Healthcare facilities in every country are obliged to offer excellent facilities to our older generation. These people are generally prone to communicable diseases but also suffer from non-availability of health insurance coverage which makes the younger generation treat them as a burden in life. Governments are also responsible for establishing suitable healthcare facilities and policies to keep the elderly generation healthy and able. Individuals too are equally responsible for taking good care of their aged parents, attend to their requirements and make them as comfortable as possible with the resources available. After all, didn’t our mom and dad sacrifice their needs to satisfy our desires? Please think over it, reconcile your views on their inabilities and treat them as your children in their old age. Give back your precious time and efforts to bring about a smile on their face, eat meals together, take your ageing parents on a holy trip, allow them to play freely with your children without imposing a list of do’s and don’ts (after all, what harm does a little pampering cause anyways) and above all, pamper them with abundant love and affection. Us this day as an opportunity to correct your attitude and thank your elderly population for all they have done.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.