The 2016 United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP) will take a stand against ageism by drawing attention to and challenging negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and ageing.
A blog by Sabine Kinzer, SI UN Representative Geneva
Photo: Geneva Ageing committee together with the Independent Expert in
the enjoyment of all human rights by Older Persons: From left Priska Fleischlin; Sabine Kinzer; Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte; Silvia Perel-Levin; Dr. Kelly Fitzgerald; Ms Ursula
Barter; Back Row: Dr. Katherine Pettus
1 October – the
International Day of Older Persons. "In Geneva,
this day will be marked by WHO (World Health Organization) and is entitled
TAKING A STAND AGAINST AGEISM. The NGO
Committee on Ageing, Geneva is participating.
is not new to hear that many older people face discrimination and prejudice on
a daily basis. They feel undervalued,
humiliated, invisible, unnecessary… Ageism is all around us – but people who
discriminate against other people because of their age, discriminate against
themselves. Those perceptions and
assumptions, all negative, are among the biggest challenges that need to be
dealt with, with our ageing population.
is used to describe stereotypes and prejudices held about older people on the
grounds of their age. ‘Age
discrimination’ is used to describe a behavior
where older people are not treated equally on the grounds of their
age. One example of age discrimination
is end-of-life care, which older patients do not necessarily receive on the
same level as other patients – which in itself is discriminatory..
persons are among the most vulnerable and marginalized within society – and
their rights are being violated across the world. But can an older person’s performance be predicted? The word ‘old’ does not determine
ability. Aging means living. In the 21st century you can no
longer forecast physical or mental abilities. Fitness for work, recruitment for
a position or training for certain skills are not age related. It is time to shed labels. Describing someone by their age should be as
unacceptable as describing them by their gender, race, religion or skin colour. Therefore, ageism can deprive older persons
of independence, of choice and dignity, self-esteem and can have a negative
impact on their life.
age should not be assumed to imply being ailing, frail, over the hill… A good start is to honestly ask
ourselves: do I have prejudice? Do I discriminate? What is my attitude? Am I or have I ever been ageist? And what can I do and, what can WE do as Soroptimists to take a stand against ageism?
How can we boost social inclusion and where do we start?
international human rights mechanisms are not well protecting older people’s
rights. Older people remain unaware of
their rights and so far, states fail to report on how they intend to implement
international human rights treaties in relation to them. The number of older persons is rising rapidly
worldwide. An effective way to ensure
that all these people enjoy their human rights on an equal basis, is an
International Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. It would provide the
framework for states to commit to and to implement the rights of older people
and it would also acknowledge a shift in attitude: Ageism and age discrimination
Read Protecting the Rights of Older Persons: – The Open-ended Working Group on Ageing and the UN Treaty Bodies
by clicking HERE
Find out more about International Day of Older Persons by clicking HERE