Celebrate old age

THERE are some 540,000 people aged 65 or more in Ireland — 12% of the country’s population. 

Demographers tell us this figure will rise to 1.4m, or 22% of the population, in a quarter of a century. Apart at all from the economic implications — housing, health, social supports and pensions primarily — this great change will bring enormous cultural challenges.

Maybe we do not value older people or their hard-won experience as we might, or maybe we don’t do enough to ensure that old age does not exclude people from making a valuable contribution to society. Too often it seems retirement and age conspire to turn active, vibrant, and interesting people into marginalised, almost invisible, figures. It is ironic too that in a society that imagines itself welcoming and friendly that so many older people are so very lonely.

The National Convention of Older People’s Councils in Cavan launched the “Positive Ageing 2016 report yesterday, a document that will, hopefully, make a valuable contribution to the discussion around how we might make this the best little country in the world to be an older person.


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