Celebrating the older people in our lives
Age Concern Auckland Media Release, 27 September 2019
01 October 2019 International Day of Older Persons – an opportunity to celebrate the older people in our lives
October 1st is International Day of Older Persons, which provides us with the opportunity to highlight the value of older people in our communities and to promote dignity and respect. It’s a time for everyone, families and organisations to acknowledge and say thank you for the huge contribution older people make to our communities. Mentoring, volunteering, looking out for the neighbourhood, caring for children, sharing wisdom and experience and being in paid work and leading businesses are some of the many ways New Zealanders aged 65+ contribute.
The 2019 theme of International Day of Older Persons is “The Journey to Age Equality“. Unfortunately, ageism is one of the most tolerated forms of social prejudice today and doesn’t evoke the outcry other forms of ‘ism’ do. Ageism can be experienced by people at any age and in any setting including workplaces, communities and in our own homes.
At Age Concern Auckland every day we see the impact of ageism as we work with lonely and isolated older people and those experiencing elder abuse. Beyond this, we also witness the invisibility of so many older people in our community – they are left alone with no one looking out for them.
As a community, it’s time to change our attitudes about older people and our attitude to ageing. This International Day of Older Persons, Age Concern Auckland, is encouraging every Aucklander to call or visit the older people in their lives. Let them know that you care and what they mean to you and your family. If we can do all do this it would be a great way to celebrate International Day of Older Persons.
In the words of Nelson Mandela “A society that does not value its older people denies its roots and endangers its future. Let us strive to enhance their capacity to support themselves for as long as possible and, when they cannot do so anymore, to care for them.”
Notes to Editors:
• 10% of all people over the age of sixty-five will experience abuse and/or neglect. 75% of abuse is within families.
• 20% of all older people suffer from severe loneliness and isolation that is potentially detrimental to physical and mental well-being.
• By 2038 the number of over-65s in New Zealand (and in Auckland) will almost double.
• On the 14 December 1990, the UN General Assembly made the 1st of October International Day of Older Persons. This day was set aside to celebrate older people around the world and focus attention on the particular needs and challenges faced by many of them. It also celebrates the essential contribution the majority of older men and women contribute to the function of society.
• IDOP is a time to celebrate the value of older people and a chance to acknowledge their contributions to our communities; in the work place, as volunteers, as caregivers and as whole people, with dreams, aspirations, wisdom and experience.
• Age Concern Auckland provides services that enable older people to lead healthier, socially connected, safe and respected lives.
• Age Concern Auckland is a charity for more information or to support them visit: www.ageconcernauckland.org.nz.
Things we can all do to combat ageism:
• Speak up when you hear people speaking negatively about growing old
• Have the courage to question practices you feel are disrespectful to older people
• Don’t patronise older people
• Be patient, polite and friendly when dealing with an older person
• Have zero tolerance for abuse or neglect and speak out if you are concerned about someone
• Build relationships by getting to know the older people in your lives this helps to combat isolation and loneliness.