CPS: Discrimination and negative attitudes about ageing are bad for your health

Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – On October 1, the world celebrated International Day of Older Persons under the theme, “Take a Stand Against Ageism.”

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, points out that according to the World Health Organization, new analysis shows that negative or ageist attitudes towards older people are widespread, and it also negatively affects older people’s physical and mental health.

60% of respondents in the “World Values Survey,” analyzed by WHO, reported that older people are not respected. More than 83, 000 people in 57 countries took part in the survey which assessed attitudes to older people across all age groups.

The lowest levels of respect were reported in high income countries. This analysis confirms that ageism is extremely common. Yet most people are completely unaware of the subconscious stereotypes they hold about older people.  Ageism can be compared to sexism and racism.

Negative attitudes about ageing and older people also have significant consequences for the physical and mental health of older adults.

More Movement for the Elderly is an exercise program organized and coordinated over a 12-month period by CPS the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF), Windward Islands Physical Therapist Association (WIPTA) and I&I Fitness.  The exercise activity is held three times a month and is designed to keep seniors healthy and happy.

Older people who feel they are a burden perceive their lives to be less valuable, putting them at risk of depression and social isolation.

Recently published research shows that older people who hold negative views about their own ageing, do not recover as well from disability and live on average 7.5 years less than people with positive attitudes.

CPS says older people should not be defined by their age, and this will result in more prosperous, equitable and a healthier society.

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.