The Day of the Older Persons is celebrated under the leadership of the United Nations on October 1st every year. The theme for the 2018 celebration is “Celebrating Older Human Rights champions”.
How do People Celebrate?
The day is a special one for older persons and senior citizens around the world. Some of the older persons have had an impact in our societies in political, religious, social and economic spheres others have been ordinary citizens but parents and grandparents to many and have had an impact on families and society. Activities for the day must promote older persons, their rights, dignity and comfort.
Of great concern to the older persons is physical and mental health as the body starts to grow weary and burdened by disease. The health sector plays a role in providing public awareness of the day, leading discussions relating to the ageing population, providing adequate health provisions, social care and volunteer work. As we look after aging parents have we provided for their health care, medical aid where we can and ensure they have medicines for any alignments?. Zimbabwe provides free medical care for those aged 65 years and above.
Mental health is also important as older persons might be forgetful and even develop Alzheimer and other dementia. They can also be lonely due to children going away and death of spouse.
Food and Nutrition
The Shona saying (muromo imhandara) shows the need for all ages including the elderly to have adequate food which is well balanced. Older people might not have all their teeth so food has to be cooked very well, be balanced and palatable. Failing sight and hearing can also cause problems hence the need for patience as they eat?
Comfort and Dignity
Older persons have once been active and productive caring for others. Some have not been able to save for retirement looking after families. Those who did what they had was eroded by the situation on our country. We still have duty of care to ensure the older person is comfortable and looked after. Their clothing, beds they sleep in, blankets, hygiene and general support come from us their families, communities, churches and government.
Let us ensure as we celebrate their contributions to our families communities and country in a big or small way by doing our best for them.
All they ask besides basics of life is a visit and love. Do your bit this October 1 to an older person near or far- we are all heading there.