International Day of Older Persons

older-personsAround the world people are increasingly recognizing not only the contribution the elderly are making, but also the extent to which they are keeping up with the times.

First, in Scotland it appears that there has been a huge increase in the number of elderly becoming comfortable with the Internet.  The most recent Scottish Household Survey found that, while the number of Internet home users was unchanged from 2014 to 2015 (80 percent) what had changed was how that number was broken up.  The increase of those over 75 using the Internet was significant; a further 6 percent of this demographic have started using the Internet.

The UN-organized International Day of Older Persons is marked around the world each year on October 1.  Apart from creating awareness of the contribution the elderly make and the respect they deserve, negating stereotypes about older persons and aging.  The UN Strategy on this comprises the Madrid International Plan of Action, whereby member states reaffirmed their commitment to human rights and dealing with age discrimination.  It also encourages continuing education for all age groups, especially the elderly.

In Ghana the day was also marked.  Joining the international voice in applauding the older persons who have contributed – in various ways – to the wealth of the nation.  The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Take a Stand Against Ageism” and the government in Ghana has been doing that through its dedication to enhancing various systems and structures that will improve the quality of life for the elderly.  One example of this is the Ministry’s dedicated desk which has been instituted for the sole purpose of addressing issues of older persons.  In addition, the National Ageing Policy (NAP) that was recently endorsed with the hope of ensuring that the “socio-economic development and human rights of the aged persons are protected and guaranteed.”

Increasing awareness, developing respect and understanding the differences of older persons is crucial if society is going to continue to evolve with its increasingly elderly population.