There is an urgent need to highlight important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world. In many parts of the world, elder abuse occurs with little recognition or response. Until recently, this serious social problem was hidden from the public view, it was considered as a private matter. Even today, elder abuse continues to be a taboo, mostly underestimated and ignored by societies across the world. It is a time not only to highlight their valuable contribution to the globe but also to stress their basic human rights. Many older persons are unaware of their rights and how to enforce them, due to a variety of reasons. The need of the hour is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse older people suffer by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting them. Elder abuse is one of the least investigated types of violence and does not get addressed in national action plans as frequently as other key social issues.Today the life expectancy has risen sharply due to medical advancement, improvements in nutrition, sanitation, medical science, health care, education and economic well-being. Ageism is widespread and an insidious practice which has harmful effects on health of older adults. The ageing process is a biological reality and affects every human being on earth. Ageism rests on the assumption that discrimination against older persons is the norm and acceptable. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. We must do everything possible to ensure that our elders can lead a life of dignity, enjoy the best of medical attention, economic security as well as emotional stability.The elder persons make wide-ranging contributions to economic and social development. They should be encouraged to get out of their retirement mentality and think about old age as second innings and opportunity to complete so many unfinished tasks and expand horizons to look beyond the family and work for the community. As per WHO, there are around 600 million persons world-wide aged 60 years and over and this total will double by 2025 and it is estimated to reach virtually two billion by 2050 – the vast majority of them in the developing world. The elderly ones should be given protection and respected all around the world. People should stop abusing elders and start understanding their problems and take care of them. Moreover, the World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day, as name says should be used to remind everyone to create awareness to protect elderly people. We need to look at creating a more enabling and inclusive environment that is supportive and inclusive to people of all ages, including older people. The failure to tackle ageism undermines older persons’ rights and hinders their contributions to social, economic, cultural and political life.“The younger generation should know how the world addresses the elderly. The problem of old age should be seen as a societal issue rather than an individual’s problem. A day will come when we all will be old and we will be facing the similar situation as faced by our elders today. Is it not our responsibility to provide long term care to them and thus contribute to healthy ageing?Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
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