International Day for Elderly is celebrated every year on 1st October. This day is observed to focus on the importance of senior citizens who sometimes are neglected in our society. This day emphasizes on our responsibilities towards our elder in order to make their lives happier. The theme this year is, “Take a Stand against Ageism”. The theme for this year challenges everyone to consider ageism-the negative attitudes and discrimination based on age- and the detrimental impact it has on older people. The main aim of this day is to generate awareness amongst people about issues which affects the elders, as well as to appreciate their contribution towards the society.
Over the years, a demographic revolution is underway throughout the world. As per WHO, there are around 600 million persons world-wide aged 60 years and over; this total will double by 2025 and will reach virtually two billion by 2050 - the vast majority of them in the developing world. Life expectancy has risen sharply due to medical advancement, improvements in nutrition, sanitation, medical science, health care, education and economic well-being.
In this fast paced lifestyle, older people play a critical role may it be through volunteer work, transmitting experience and knowledge and even helping their families with responsibilities. Full participation of older persons brings tremendous benefits to all generations.The International Day for Elderly is an opportunity to focus on the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world.
As people reach old age, the risk of developing chronic diseases is higher and it sometimes might also result in disability. This ends up in compromising their ability to lead an independent life. This further weakens their immune system making them more vulnerable to diseases. Dependence on others, cut off from social life and being neglected by family members further deteriorates their condition. In fact, chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer are predicted to be the main contributors to the burden of disease in developing countries.
It is our responsibility to provide long term care to them and thus contribute to healthy ageing.
As part of commitment towards the elderly, Government of India (GOI) provide various preventive, curative and rehabilitative services for the people who are above 60 years under its National Program of Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE). The basic objective of the NPHCE programme is to provide separate, specialized and comprehensive health care to the senior citizens at various levels of State health care delivery system including outreach services. GOI also provides benefits like health insurance schemes, tax exemptions, and concessions in rail and air fares to the senior citizens.
The problem of old age should be seen as a societal issue rather than an individual's problem. Someday, we will all be old and we will face the similar situation as faced by our elders today.
Are you above 60?
If you are over 60, you must take proper care of yourself. Remember the following:
"Older persons make wide-ranging contributions to economic and social development. However, discrimination and social exclusion persist. We must overcome this bias in order to ensure a socially and economically active, secure and healthy ageing population." Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations