Hon­our­ing our se­niors

The Compass - - OPINION -

Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions, the pro­por­tion of older peo­ple within the global pop­u­la­tion will more than dou­ble be­tween now and the year 2050. This is ac­tu­ally good news, as it in­di­cates an im­prove­ment in health and so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions. How­ever, the phe­nom­e­non also im­plies some dif­fi­cul­ties for so­ci­eties around the world, and th­ese is­sues will have to be tack­led dur­ing the twenty-first cen­tury.

The World Bank re­ports that life ex­pectancy, which in 2009 had al­ready reached 81 in Canada, is also in­creas­ing in devel­op­ing coun­tries. Healthy se­niors are an im­por­tant re­source for fam­i­lies and for the econ­omy, and in­vest­ing in their health brings ben­e­fits to so­ci­ety as a whole. It is im­por­tant, there­fore, to high­light the im­por­tant con-

One se­nior in four is a care­giver for a fam­ily mem­ber.

tri­b­u­tion of se­niors in Canada. Se­niors give a lot to their com­mu­ni­ties and to their fam­i­lies— one se­nior in four is a care­giver for a fam­ily and the hours that se­niors give to vol­un­teer work ex­ceed those of all other age groups. Sadly, their work of­ten goes un­rec­og­nized.

How can we hon­our th­ese im­por­tant mem­bers of our so­ci­ety? On a per­sonal level, you could send cards to the se­niors in your fam­ily, visit them, or just pick up the phone and call them. Spend­ing time with some­one at a se­niors cen­tre is an­other good idea, as is tak­ing an ac­tive in­ter­est in their lives and of­fer­ing to do er­rands or chores to make life eas­ier for them.

Other ways to make the en­tire com­mu­nity more aware of their con­tri­bu­tion are to or­ga­nize walks for se­niors, set up an in­ter­gen­er­a­tional read­ing club, plan a com­mem­o­ra­tive tree plant­ing cer­e­mony, or es­tab­lish an ac­tiv­ity in local schools to fa­cil­i­tate cross-gen­er­a­tion co­op­er­a­tion.

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