Appreciate the elderly person!

Today is being observed as the UN International Day of Older Persons.

On December 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly, by a resolution, designated October 1 the International Day of Older Persons.

It is a day set aside by the global body to call attention to issues relating to ageing, particularly the resilience of older persons in the face of environmental, social, economic and life-long inequalities.

Who are older persons? While the UN sees them as persons over 60 years of age, different societies can use their own socio-cultural factors to define that.

The issues of ageing had been engaging the attention of the UN, hence its adoption in 1990 of October 1 as older persons’ day, yet it continues to hold such matters key in its activities. 

For instance, in 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid international Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages.

One may ask why the UN is worrying itself about older persons.

Old age is a sensitive phase of life that comes with its own pleasures for some persons and worries for others.

Even where some old persons are seen to be having all the comforts of life, we must take caution in order not to blame them or ourselves in any eventuality.

For that reason, it is worthy of note that elderly people everywhere need to enjoy life without worries and anxiety.

This calls for the awareness of the special needs of old people and the changing patterns of their behaviour so that the young generation would understand and save them any abuse, especially at home.

For instance, most old people may become sick, weak and frail and demand more attention, more love, more understanding, and above all, more special care that can make you forget about your own needs.

At such crossroads, you need to plan how best to care for the older person(s) around you – parents, grandparents and others.

By the UN criterion of who an older person is, we can say anyone above 60 years deserves special care, respect, honour, and love and affection.

Ideally, these are people who have gone through many experiences in life and have become repositories of some knowledge and wisdom that can guide the young ones to better their lives.

They are people who have sacrificed in diverse ways to support family members and others to go through life with some ease.

Above all, they have contributed to community development by offering their skills and knowledge, including some expertise that has birthed certain indelible changes and related benefits on all fields of human endeavour.

Today, an event to mark the UN International Day of Older Persons in the country is at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana.

It is being spearheaded by the university’s Centre for Ageing Studies on the theme “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World”.

As the day glides away, let every young person show some appreciation to an older person close to him or her — a parent, any other family member, a friend, a mentor, a former teacher, the clan head and the like.

If nothing at all, say a prayer for this one older person whose life has impacted yours for the better.

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