- World Health
Organization estimates that by 2050 the global population of persons older
than 60 years will become 2 billion. By 2020, the proportion of ageing
population is set to double from the existing 12% to 22%.
- Ageism, the
practice of discriminating against a person based on age is widespread and
can have harmful effects on their health.
- 'Take A Stand
Against Ageism', is the 2016 WHO theme for the International Older Adults
Day that falls on 1st October.
Older Adults Day' is celebrated every year on 1st
United Nations General Assembly voted in December 1990 to celebrate this day
every year as the International Day of Older Adults. It aims to create global awareness on problems faced by the elderly, to applaud their contributions to society,
and to improve their quality of life.
WHO theme for the year 2016 is, 'Take a stand against ageism'
aims to tackle and change widely held beliefs and prejudices in society that
discriminate against people because of their age.
‘Combat ageism and celebrate the elderly – they are our treasure for wisdom and experience.’
Ageism in Society
Ageism, the practice
of discriminating against people based on their age
, is rampant and is akin
to racism and sexism.
Due to long-held beliefs
and prejudices, all elderly are perceived as 'weak and frail', 'inefficient'
attitudes towards elderly, institutional policies and
governmental apathy tend to perpetuate these beliefs further and the elderly
are caught in a vicious cycle that may negatively impact their health and
in society also tends to unconsciously influence the way the elderly feel about
themselves, as being physically weak and incapable, as economic burdens on the
family and mentally deficient. Quite a few of these beliefs stem from
incomplete knowledge and awareness of certain conditions such as dementia
and mistaking it to be a normal part of ageing.
health care of the elderly is commonly equated with poor working conditions,
and makes it difficult to employ paid caregivers
for the elderly. This in turn, makes
life difficult for the elderly.
restricts broader thinking and manner of looking at problems and arriving at
In short, ageism limits
the framing and creation of better policies for the elderly.
How Ageism Impacts the
has been shown to affect the heart, cause lower levels of self-efficacy and
decrease productivity of the older adults.
Studies have shown that
elderly persons with negative attitudes to aging die nearly 8 years earlier
than those with positive views about aging.
Taking a Stand Against
The society values youth more than elderly, hence tackling ageism will not
be easy. However old age brings with it wisdom and experience and the elderly
in the society needs to be cherished and not scorned away. One old person
expressed himself eloquently when he wrote on Dreams in Thyme -
'These are not
These are survival
lines of my life
Each one holds a
story, a laugh or a memory
They are like
snowflakes, no two are alike'
Some actions that may aid in combating
ageism include -
- Educating and
creating knowledge among the public, policy makers, employers and service
providers about aging through concerted campaigns.
- Changing existing
laws against age-based discrimination.
- Role of media in
putting forth a balanced view on ageing
and correcting widespread misconceptions about ageing will not be easy, but a
beginning has to be made sooner than later.
Common Health Conditions
Among the Elderly
global aging population (people over 60 years) is set to double in the next ten
years. Countries need to come up with policies and develop infrastructure to
meet their requirement
accessible health care will be a major challenge. The common diseases among the
elderly include -
Health Tips for the
- Heart disease,
- Chronic lung
impairments, especially visual and auditory
- Neck pain
- Frequent falls
following tips may improve quality of life for the elderly -
It should be remembered that the elderly have nurtured us, taught us values, created
and shown the path for our success and achievements. It is our duty to allow
them to age with dignity and grace. As Alfred
Lord Tennyson said ~ "Old age hath yet his honour and his
toil." References :
- 10 Facts on Ageing and Health - (http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/ageing/en/)
- Ageism - Frequently Asked Questions - (http://www.who.int/ageing/features/faq-ageism/en/)
- International Day of Older Persons - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_Older_Persons)