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International Day of Older Persons - an opportunity to celebrate

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

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."

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