The International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on October 1 each year. This day recognises the rich contributions of older persons to communities and is a timely occasion to explore issues that affect their lives.
The theme for 2016, Take a Stand Against Ageism, challenges everyone to consider ageism – the negative attitudes and discrimination based on age – and the detrimental impact it has on older people.
“It is widely recognised that older persons are an asset to the society; their wisdom, value-system and experience helps in guiding and mentoring the present generation…..What is important is not merely adding ‘years to life’ but also adding ‘life to years’.
This is a challenge to us as individuals, families and communities. It calls us to be patient rather than indifferent or disdainful of old age.
‘The Church cannot and does not want to conform to a mentality of impatience, and much less of indifference and contempt toward old age. We must reawaken our sense of gratitude, of appreciation, of hospitality, which makes the elderly feel like a living part of the community. Our elderly are men and women who came before us on our road, in our house, in our daily battle for a worthy life.’ Indeed, ‘how I would like a Church that challenges the throw-away culture by the over-flowing joy af a new embrace between young and old!’ (Pope Francis)
References: A Place at the Table – Social Justice in An Ageing Society – Social Justice Statement 2016 – 2017 (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)