GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, would like to congratulate the countries senior citizens on International Day of Older Persons that will be observed on October 1.
The United Nations (UN) internationally observed day is being held under the theme: “Take a Stand Against Ageism.” The objective is to draw attention to and challenging negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and ageing.
Ageism is a widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that stems from the assumption that age discrimination, and sometimes neglect and abuse of older persons is a social norm and therefore, acceptable.
It is a reality in some form in all societies, and finds expression in individuals’ attitudes, institutional and policy practices, as well as media representation that devalue and exclude older persons.
In 2014, Governments around the world adopted a resolution at the Economic and Social Council that recognized ageism as “the common source of, the justification for and the driving force behind age discrimination.”
Such discrimination shapes how older persons are treated and perceived by their societies, including in medical settings and workplaces, creating environments that limit older persons’ potential and impact their health and well-being.
The failure to tackle ageism undermines older persons’ rights and hinders their contributions to social, economic, cultural and political life.
The composition of the world population has changed dramatically in recent decades. Between 1950 and 2010 life expectancy worldwide rose from 46 to 68 years, and it is projected to increase to 81 by the end of the century.
It should be noted that at present women outnumber men by an estimated 66 million among those aged 60 years or over. Among those aged 80 years or over, women are nearly twice as numerous as men, and among centenarians women are between four and five times as numerous as men. For the first time in human history, in 2050, there will be more persons over 60 than children in the world.
Almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, two billion people, over 20 per cent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older.
The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth.
With this in mind, enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older people is clearly required. Just as important, however, is the essential contribution the majority of older men and women can continue to make to the functioning of society if adequate guarantees are in place. Human rights lie at the core of all efforts in this regard.