Each year, the World Health Organization celebrates the International Day of Older Persons by raising awareness of a particular issue that affects the well-being of seniors. This is an important goal, because by the year 2050, there will be 2 billion seniors in the world—and failing to promote their well-being could have devastating consequences for people of every age.
The theme of the most recent event was “Take a Stand Against Ageism.” WHO reported that negative and ageist attitudes toward older people can be found in almost every culture. Explained Alana Officer, WHO Coordinator of Ageing and Life Course, “Ageism can take many forms. These include depicting older people as frail, dependent, and out of touch in the media, or through discriminatory practices such as health-care rationing by age, or institutional policies such as mandatory retirement at a certain age.”
The experts found that dealing with ageist attitudes puts a senior at an increased risk of disability, depression and social isolation. A study from the John A. Hartford Foundation even found that the average life expectancy of people with a negative attitude about age is 7.5 years shorter than that of their more positive peers.
Combating ageism not only helps our oldest citizens. Said Officer, “Society will benefit from this aging population if we all age more healthily. But to do that, we must stamp out ageist prejudices.”
Ending ageism begins with nurturing respect for our oldest community members. To that end, WHO and the AARP list respect and inclusion as one of the eight domains of an age-friendly community.
Try your hand at this month’s puzzle, which contains 20 words about age-positive attitudes. Click here to download your copy.
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Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2017 IlluminAge