First designated by the United Nations in 1990, International Day of Older Persons highlights the value of older people and promotes dignity and respect for people as they age. It’s a time to acknowledge and give thanks for the huge contribution older people make to our communities.
The importance of this day is reflected in the continuing global trend for rising age expectancy. Between 1950 and 2010 alone, life expectancy significantly increased from 46 to 68 years. Today, there are more than 1 billion people aged 60 years or older.
The UN, through the World Health Organisation has now declared 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Healthy Ageing, aiming to bring together key stakeholders like governments, professionals, academia, the media and others to help foster healthy ageing and improve the lives of older people, their families and the communities in which they live.
Southern Cross Care Queensland wholeheartedly embraces the Decade of Healthy Ageing, which will address four key areas for action:
- Age-friendly environments – better places for older people to grow, live, work, play and age, created by replacing barriers with enablers for older people to live their lives to the full.
- Combatting ageism – challenging negative stereotypes (how society thinks), prejudice (how society feels) and discrimination (how society acts) towards people based on age. A snapshot of ageism across our lifespan was captured in a recent Australian Human Rights Commission report, identifying attitudes and beliefs about age in Australia and how we experience their impacts.
- Integrated care – ensuring seamless access to quality health and wellbeing services and ageing in place be it in your own home, in a retirement village or in residential aged care.
- Long-term care – providing person-centred, inclusive care with dignity and respect when people need increased physical and mental support as they age.
To kick-start the process, today also marks the inaugural Ageism Awareness Day – a time to reflect on the way we support older people and what more we can do to break down ageism and grow communities where best lives are lived. Read more about the World Health Organisation’s Global Campaign to Combat Ageism.