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What can we learn from UN's International Day of Older Persons?

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October 1st marked the United Nations' (UN) annual International Day of Older Persons.

In honour of this awareness-raising initiative, we've prepared an introduction to the event and looked at the key roles older people play within society.

What is the UN's International Day of Older Persons?

Established in 1990, the UN’s International Day of Older Persons aims to increase awareness about issues affecting older people. It also helps celebrate the contribution elderly people make to society.

Each year has a new theme, with past themes ranging from the opportunities and challenges of ageing (2011) to age inclusiveness in urban environments (2015).

On this year's event, the UN stated:

"[Age] discrimination shapes how older persons are treated and perceived by their societies ... creating environments that limit older persons’ potential and impact their health and wellbeing.

The theme of the 2017 International Day of Older Persons is about enabling and expanding the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies.

It focuses on the pathways that support full and effective participation in old age, in accordance with old persons’ basic rights, needs and preferences."

In support of this aim, communities from around the world came together to arrange social gatherings, fundraising events and more.

What crucial roles do older people play in society?

With the UN's goals in mind, we've set out to define some of the most important roles older people can play within our society:

1) Historian

Older people can be a primary source of information for family, local, or societal history.

They bring a host of lived (rather than learned) experiences to the table, and can help paint a colourful picture of your past.

2) Advisor

This wealth of experience makes older people a great source of advice and guidance.

Our matriarchs and patriarchs have had time to muse on life's lessons. They've witnessed the unexpected - a useful trait that enables them to help you make well-rounded decisions.

3) Activist

A combination of life experience and the extra time that retirement affords, makes older people effective activists.

Whether it's a local or national issue, there are countless examples of older people using their talents to make the world a better place.

4) Entertainer

Older people often look beyond the daily grind and focus on things that make the people they care about happy.

Age is never a good indicator of how 'full of life' a person is. Your loved one might have a special skill for amusing you with anecdotes, or enjoy reading a bedtime story to the grandchildren.

5) Caregiver

Many older people require some degree of formal care. However, they can also be adept at providing care.

Some draw on decades of experience to care for grandchildren, others care for family members indirectly by giving advice or other types of support.

Older people are undoubtedly an asset to our society, and should be cherished as such. Mark this year's International Day of Older Persons by ensuring the older people in your life feel valued.

Find out more about how The Good Care Group can help your loved one stay as independent and engaged as possible by speaking to our friendly team.

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