Boat in Thailand

For many years now, the ageing population has become an increasing concern. With the existence of modern medicine, life expectancy has doubled from that of the Victorian era, and mortality rates are at a new low. With the successes in the older generation, comes new apprehensions towards known problems like Cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

However, two organizations based in Thailand, are joining forces to promote positivity across the Asia Pacific. They argue that ‘population ageing is a human success story, a story of longer and often healthier lives of the world’s people.’ ESCAP and HelpAge suggest that as long as countries are prepared to develop the right sorts of systems, they can create methods by which older people are able to contribute and be valued within their societies.

The emphasis in media is that youth is desirable, we want to look and feel young, but this creates a tendency for negativity towards a major percentage of the human population. Today, 125 million people are aged 80 years or older, and the organizations working throughout Thailand and nearby Global South countries, are working towards anti-ageism. Their proposal suggests that ‘the role of the elderly generation should not only be acknowledged, it should be made easier, including through improving their knowledge and skills through lifelong learning, promoting flexible working arrangements, and allowing them to have easy access to everyday conveniences, like public transportation.’

Providing the necessary healthcare and social conditions for the older population relieves the pressure from the workforce and gives the choice for older people to stay in work for longer. Recent studies have also suggested that older people have a tendency towards caring for the young, which in turn gives back to the community by enabling young mothers to be able to go out and work and maintain family life.

In promoting equality for all individuals, regardless of age or gender, we move towards creating a society where each individual can utilize their own strengths and talents, to give back to each other in a way that creates opportunities and possibilities for all. A celebration of differences in the Global South that can combat the crisis people feel when faced with the Ageing Population debate.

HelpAge pushes for ‘collaboration on research on older persons. We stand ready to support countries in the region in designing and developing policies and programs to ensure that older persons are not left behind.’

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