Today, 1st October, is the International Day of Older Persons. This year’s theme is for sustainability and age inclusiveness in the urban environment.
“Making cities inclusive of older persons means generating opportunities for their economic and social participation in accessible and safe environments. It also means providing affordable housing as well as the health and social services needed to support ageing in place.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Currently, there are 600 million people aged 60 and over. This will double by 2015. By 2050, a little over thirty years, there will be two billion people aged over 60. In a world where the population is both increasing and ageing, it is important that the role played by older people is recognised and appreciated. Older people take part in volunteer work, they share experience and knowledge, they help their adult children with childcare, they continue to teach and inspire, they enjoy their retirement in an active way. Many will also increase their participation in the paid labour force too. It is during retirement that many older people eventually have the time to write their first book with many becoming published authors.
“Ageing is not something that is exclusive to older people- everyone is ageing all the time and older people are just a bit further down that road. Older people are not any different than others, and are most certainly never to be seen as a burden. The fact that people are living longer is one of the great achievements of our time, and should be celebrated. Of course there are challenges, but there are challenges in meeting the needs of those at every stage of life, whether it is education for children and young people, childcare for young families or supports in old age. Older people have contributed enormously to our society throughout their lives and must be valued and cherished as full members of society”. Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State at the Department of Health.
Older people say they want to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible. The policy in Ireland is to prioritise that wish, ensuring that appropriate residential care is available when needed, but until then, older people should be supported in staying in their own home, with daily home care visits as required.
On this Older People’s Day during Positive Ageing Week, do take the time to visit an elderly neighbour, to give them a lift to the library or accompany them on a walk (and the weather is glorious, even better than during the summer). At Comfort Keepers, our home carers work to bring cheer as well as home help into the lives of our clients and we always treat those in our care with positivity, cheer and care. We keep our clients happy by helping them stay in their own homes and own communities.
What will you do to celebrate ageing this week?