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A group deserving respect

Oct 02,2017 - Last updated at Oct 02,2017

The UN, in a sign that the elderly people are not forgotten, designated October 1 the International Day of Older Persons.

This is a group that has amply done its duty by the society, yet now could be vulnerable and in need of care.

In Jordan, the 2015 census put the number of elderly people at 540,000; of these, according to the Social Development Ministry, 99 per cent live with their families, while 355 reside in the 10 houses for the elderly scattered around the country.

As science advances, medical care gets better and awareness about healthy lifestyles increases, the number of senior citizens worldwide is bound to increase by as much as 56 per cent by 2030, according to the UN, with the number of people aged 60 and above exceeding that of young people between 15 and 24 by the same year.

That is a development for which the world needs to prepare.

People are simply living longer and can be expected to contribute to their societies for a much longer time.

The Sustainable Development Goals, set to be achieved by 2030, are factoring in this sizeable number of people in the plans of action.

This year’s theme marking the day was “Stepping into the future: Taping the talents, contributions and participation of older persons in society”, a fitting theme for this important issue.

The day, according to the UN, “is about enabling and expanding the contributions of older people towards their families, communities and society at large”, and “focuses on the pathways that support full and effective participation in old age, in accordance with old persons’ basic rights, needs and preferences”.

Nowadays the elderly still have much to contribute to their societies, a fact acknowledged by many countries, which raised the retirement age from 60 to 65.

But even if they do not form a part of the labour force anymore, the elderly should not be treated like a burden. They have contributed their fair share to their societies and deserve respect and the right to enjoy the twilight of their lives.

 

The yearly commemoration of this day should be a reminder of what this group of people did for their communities, as well as a time when the retirement age should be revisited and the living conditions of senior citizens given serious thought.

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