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International Day of Older Persons

Older persons
28 September 2017

Sunday 1 October 2017 is International Day of Older Persons.

This is a great chance to think about and celebrate older people. In addition, reflect on what it’s like to live in a world with many barriers for older people, including those living with MS.

International Day of Older Persons is a United Nations led event. The 2017 theme is Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society. This theme explores “effective means of promoting and strengthening the participation of older persons in various aspects of social, cultural, economic and civic and political life.”

The annual theme helps us to consider the challenges and achievements of older persons, and aims to highlight:

  • Enabling conditions/measures that influence the readiness of older persons to participate including securing healthcare, regular income, legal protection and access to financial services.
  • Pathways/means to facilitate contributions and participation in old age, including technology, education and lifelong learning, access to information, as well as overcoming barriers that exclude or discriminate against older persons.

To read about this year’s theme and the history of International Day of Older Persons visit:

https://www.un.org/development/desa/ageing/international-day-of-older-persons-homepage/unidop2017.html

For older people living with MS in Australia, there are various hurdles to tackle. One key issue – meeting the disability needs of those aged over 65 - remains a key advocacy focus for us, given people over 65 can’t get the NDIS.

MS Australia stands with other advocacy organisations, such as the Council on the Ageing (COTA Australia), to represent the interests of older Australians.

For example, we’re keen to identify who is ultimately responsible for funding Assistive Technology for those aged over 65, and to ensure the Aged Care system is accessible and easy to navigate.

We endorse the United Nations’ stance on discrimination toward older people:

“Ageism is a widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that stems from the assumption that age discrimination, and sometimes neglect and abuse of older persons is a social norm and therefore, acceptable. It is a reality in some form in all societies, and finds expression in individuals’ attitudes, institutional and policy practices, as well as media representation that devalue and exclude older persons.”

To learn more about this year’s International Day of Older Persons, check out: http://www.un.org/en/events/olderpersonsday/index.shtml