- Aging & Longevity
Elderly Sector: Not a Liability, but a Solution
There are many wrong notions about the elderly sector. It is being revealed on “Aging-Exploding the Myths,”a publication of the World Health Organization’s Aging and Health Program. It is about the false views about the sector that our parents are mostly members of it.
My mother is already past her 70 mark in this world, but still an active president of the senior citizen organization at my place.
My father reached 60 but succumbed to lung disease due to his smoking abuse.
Recently, most of the younger barangay officers in our barrio ignored my mother’s plea to release the 1% budget for the elderly from our barangay’s IRA (internal revenue allotment). It nearly drove me to confront them but with my mother’s request, I decided not to verbally accuse them of non-respect and neglect among the elderly sector of our community.
My mother as a mango seller during Summer of 2013
The Overlooked Ones
Most people overlooked the fact that these seniors were once productive citizens of the country or still are. Although, they are already retired from their regular jobs as engineers, teachers, soldiers and the like, they can still enjoy being advisers to business firms if they want to. But most business owners prefer the younger ones for fear that they cannot fully function on their jobs.
Reasons being associated with the elderly sectors are degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s,), memory loss that can hamper them to function normally.
At the Philippine setting, most of the elderly live with their married son or daughter and take care of their children while they’re working in the office.
Knowing the Relevance of Old Age in Society-Building
So, to further enhance our advocacy that the seniors are not liabilities but solutions to problems, even in domestic scale, here are some of the comparison that are based from a worldwide study regarding the importance of elderly sector in the society.
Wrong notion: Most elderly lives in industrialized countries.
Truth: More than 60% of hundred millions of elderly are living in developing countries. The increasing numbers of seniors in these countries are ageing due to more health maintenance, improved sanitation, housing program and nutrition.
Wrong Notion: Elderly will not be able to help.
Truth: Elderly contributes highly in the society since they can help without being paid. For example, in the USA millions of children were taken care of by their grandparents. More often than not, the seniors are providing for homes, food and education for their grandchildren while their parents enjoy working away from home. Even here in the Philippines, most seniors are still hands-on when taking care of their grandchildren an even provides financial help from their SSS or GSIS pensions. More so, in many industrialized countries, many organizations will be crippled if there will be no help coming from the seniors. They are muchly needed in care giving centers as volunteers. In many developing countries, more than 30 percent of adult parents got inflicted with AIDS, so their parents took care of them and after their death, seniors will take care of their grandchildren.
Wrong Notion: Seniors stop working because they cannot function well.
Truth: They went out of work due to insufficient knowledge or because of ageism.
Wrong Notion: Seniors don’t want to work anymore.
Truth: More often than not, elderly are not accepted even their drive for work is overwhelming. Especially in times of trimming down, the young sector is mostly favored to fill-in at the vacated positions of the seniors. Although the vacant position will not necessarily mean to be filled up by young professionals, since they don’t have the qualifications to match the seniors.
Those are some of the observations that were recorded by WHO (World Health Organization), people around the world should understand that most of the seniors are the vanishing experts in this planet. As stated by Alexander Kalache of the Ageing and Health Programme of WHO, nations should consider the elderly sector as their solution to their problems.
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