Express Yourself: Celebrate International Older Persons Day on Oct. 1

Support Local Journalism


A Winters Express Opinion Column

By Wally Pearce, Winters Elder Day Council
Special to the Express

As August’s warm morning sun made its presence on the faded wall clock, it was 7:30 a.m. Aroma from breakfast sausage, eggs, fresh-made biscuits, and thickset sausage gravy, drifted thru the mature kitchen and beyond. Sadie settled down at the kitchen-table to relish her food while watching her beloved mate of 67-years, his arm and hand quivering, strive to lift their proverbial coffeepot and then enter some stimulating caffeine into her lucky old-mug, were the worn words read, “World’s Greatest Grandma.”

As Jim’s unsteady hand slowly placed the cup of coffee next to her, he leaned over sharing a kiss on her cheek. Sadie couldn’t help but remember when the doctor diagnosed Jim with Parkinson’s. That was two years ago. She could still hear the doctor say that Jim’s advancing medical future wasn’t good. The challenges ahead for them are myriad.

Friday, Oct. 1 is National Older Persons Day and the theme is “Digital Equity for All Ages.”

On Dec. 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish Oct. 1 as the International Day of Older Persons as recorded in Resolution 45/106. The global holiday was observed for the first time on Oct. 1, 1991. This year, 2021, marks the 76th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 31st Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons.

The day is celebrated by raising awareness about issues affecting the elderly, such as healthcare, housing, food insecurity, transportation, senescence, elder abuse, and more. It’s a day to appreciate the contributions that older people make to families, friends, and society. They also carry our traditions, cultures of our society and pass on the knowledge to our younger generations. Older persons carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders as leaders of our society.

In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages. According to the United Nations, the population of persons aged 60 years and above will grow worldwide from 962 million to 1.4 billion, a global growth of 46 percent, between 2017 and 2030.

What children need most in their lives are the essentials that our grandparents, and great-grandparents, provide for free and in abundance. They also give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.

Encouraging our children, especially as they grow into young adults, to spend quality time with older relatives, friends, and neighbors, exposes them to our pioneers, from different backgrounds, people who’ve grown up with diverse values and lets them experience a broader cross-section of society. For all of us, spending time with a grandparent or elderly friend or relative allows us to reflect on our own values and judges our own behavior and beliefs, and by different standards rather than those of our immediate peers or as might be considered a norm. We should look to them for guidance whenever and wherever possible.

Unfortunately, and far too often, we tend to forget — or, worse, downright ignore — the older people in our lives.

Older members of our family have often lived through wars or seen harder times and be a source of inspiration for our younger generations. Their stories of adversity, or simply of navigating life over a long time, can help children to realize that life can be piloted through determination and hard work. Just as important is that an older person can often provide the role of mentor, encouraging and inspiring a younger person to chase their dreams.

Older people have different expectations these days, and… that will continue to change as we move forward. We’re fortunate to have older people around us, our trailblazers, our living encyclopedias, our family, friends, neighbors, or just general acquaintances. Older people are fonts of wisdom, experience, and storytelling. They often inspire us to continue striving — or warn us of dangers we’re unaware of. The celebration of International Day of Older Persons creates awareness and empathy regarding the wellbeing of the elderly.

People usually celebrate the day by spending time with their grandparents, visiting old age homes and cooking or baking for them. Some give greeting cards to their elderly.

Please join the Winters Elder Day Council in celebrating the older persons in your family, community, and thank them for who they are and what they’ve shared with others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Article
Coronavirus Covid-19 background - 3d rendering

County reports another COVID death; more cases at jail

Next Article

Athlete of the Week — Gianna Carrion

Related Posts