A SALUTE TO THE ELDERLY
To forget the elderly is to ignore the wisdom of the years, once wrote Donald Laird. As the world marks the International Day for Older Persons on Monday, the crucial contribution being made by this hugely respectable segment of society should be recognised and saluted. As per United Nations estimates, almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 per cent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older. With this in mind, enhanced attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by most older people is clearly required.
It’s a collective responsibility of those living in any country to care for the elderly.
Thankfully, countries like the UAE leave no stone unturned to help the aged and deserve praise for doing so.
For example, the Sharjah Social Services Department (SSSD) is all set to launch the seventh Elderly Services Forum 2018, to be held under the slogan, “Sharjah Age-friendly City,” to highlight the most prominent services and programmes of age-friendly cities.
The SSSD has also conducted a survey on entertainment programmes for the elderly, aiming to achieve the department’s vision of promoting a safe and secure society and enhancing family stability.
The gesture comes in line with the SSSD’S strategy to empower the elderly, discussing the most prominent proposals that serve several old people.
In Dubai, the Dubai Municipality has provided dedicated walkways for the elderly people on public beaches. The special pathways have been built for the People of Determination and the elderly to enable them to cross the beach and reach the sea easily.
Obaid Salem Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE at the United Nations, pointed out in Geneva recently that the UAE has been paying proper attention and care to older persons and the Ministry of Community Development is working with civil society organisations to provide an integrated social care and inclusion system.
The country has been undertaking additional efforts to mitigate challenges facing older persons. Programmes are in place protecting elderly persons from social exclusion and providing them with services, while respecting the dignity of every person.
All this is possible due to the UAE society’s deep-rooted values of caring and love for older people.
The International Day of Older Persons offers another opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society. ■■■