An Ageing society is a successful society!
Today’s generation of older persons has seen more significant change than any previous generation.
They have experienced the trauma of at least one World War; survived the deprivation of the great
depression; seen man land on the moon and dealt with a world wide pandemic. They have grown through the industrial age, come to terms with the technological advances of the information age and are now participants in the knowledge age!
Their values have survived the medical breakthrough of contraception, cures to a range of
‘childhood’ illnesses which they often experienced, the wonders of modern surgery. Major paradigm
shifts which they have witnessed include the changing roles of men and women, the disappearance of
‘real’ money, the blurring of differences between the major political parties and the breakdown of
family life, aided by the advent of television, the Internet, dishwashing machines and numerous other household appliances.
This generation has very quickly adapted to virtual reality and the computer world, with
over 55’s among the fastest growing group of users. 1The Faces of Ageing, Wesley Mission
But now what?
The United Nations Strategy for older persons suggests the following:
- Local decision making and partnerships – involving people most affected by a
- Older people’s rights and autonomy – older people know what is best for their own
- Personal responsibility – supporting people taking responsibility for their health and
wellbeing as much as they can in partnership with their health care providers
- High quality, timely and equitable services – older people deserve high quality
- Engagement and accountability – community engagement in ageing issues and
government accountability for service delivery 2 United Nations
The United Nations General Assembly summarised the Declaration as follows:
‘Add life to the years that have been added to life by assuring all older persons:
independence, participation, care, self fulfilment and dignity’.
- Older persons should have access to adequate food, water, shelter, clothing and health
care through the provision of income, family and community support and self-help.
- Older persons should have the opportunity to work or to have access to other incomegenerating opportunities.
- Older persons should be able to participate in determining when and at what pace
- withdrawal from the labour force takes place.
- Older persons should have access to appropriate educational and training programmes.
- Older persons should be able to live in environments that are safe and adaptable to
personal preferences and changing capacities.
- Older persons should be able to reside at home for as long as possible.
- Older persons should remain integrated in society, participate actively in the formulation
and implementation of policies that directly affect their well-being and share their
knowledge and skills with younger generations.
- Older persons should be able to seek and develop opportunities for service to the
community and to serve as volunteers in positions appropriate to their interests and
- Older persons should be able to form movements or associations of older persons.
- Older persons should benefit from family and community care and protection in
accordance with each society’s system of cultural values.
- Older persons should have access to health care to help them to maintain or regain the
optimum level of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and to prevent or delay the
onset of illness.
- Older persons should have access to social and legal services to enhance their autonomy,
protection and care.
- Older persons should be able to utilize appropriate levels of institutional care providing
protection, rehabilitation and social and mental stimulation in a humane and secure
- Older persons should be able to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms when residing
in any shelter, care or treatment facility, including full respect for their dignity, beliefs, needs and privacy and for the right to make decisions about their care and the quality of their lives.
Self – fulfilment
- Older persons should be able to pursue opportunities for the full development of their potential.