Age Doesn’t Matter! Old-Timers Rock during World Elder’s Day
Mangaluru: “While older persons are often said to enjoy particular respect, the reality is that too many societies limit them […] The marginalization and devaluing of older persons takes a heavy toll,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message on the International Day, marked annually on 1 October. The United Nations is marking the International Day of Older Persons by encouraging countries to draw attention to and challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and ageing, and to enable older persons to realize their potential to build a life of dignity and human rights. And here locally KMC Navachaitanya- Mangaluru, in association with Lions Club, Lioness and Leo Clubs of Mallikatte- Mangaluru celebrated ” World Elder’s Day ( also known as International Day of Older Persons) a day later, on Sunday, 2 October at Sushrutha Hall, KMC Attavar, by raising awareness about issues affecting the elderly, such as senescence and elder abuse. The occasion also marked to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society.
“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden.” Plato (427-346 B.C.) This wise observation from Plato harkens back to the findings of “Big Five” researchers Costa and McCrae, who observed that the most discontented younger adults were the ones most likely to experience the so-called “midlife crisis” in their 40s. Although personality change is possible at any time throughout life, people high on the trait of neurotic ism seem to have disadvantages in adapting to the challenges of midlife and beyond. The programme to mark WED was attended by persons predominately in their 60s, 70s and 80s, with a bunch of mid-age folks adding charm to the gathering.
The programme began with invoking God’s blessings through a prayer song by a bevy of members of KMC Navachaitanya, followed by welcome address by Kusuma N Rao- President of KMC Navachaitanya. The event was inaugurated by lighting the lamp by chief guest, Ln Umesh Prabhu-President of Lions Club of Mallikatte, along with Lioness Prathibha Prabhu-President of Lioness Club of Mallikatte, Dr Prabha Adikari-Founder of Navachaitanya, and Prof. of Medicine at Yenepoya Hospital, Kusuma Rao and Surendra Bekal- President and Secretary of KMC Navachaitanya respectively.
Two old-timers were honored namely Susheela Rao and Rehman for their contribution to the society and for a life well-lived with dedication and commitment. Dr Prabha Adhikari addressing the gathering said, ” Ending ageism and securing the human rights of older persons is an ethical and practical imperative. There is an urgency for measures to address this violation of human rights as well as calling for greater legal guarantees of equality for older persons to prevent ageism from resulting in discriminatory policies, laws and treatment. More efforts are needed to minimize lifelong inequalities and improve the life conditions of older people. With this year’s theme – ‘Take a Stand against Ageism’– reducing lifelong inequalities and embracing the contributions of older people offer tremendous prospects for development should be looked into very seriously. We need to stop a trend of widespread negative or ageist attitudes towards older people, which also negatively affect older people’s physical and mental health.”
Ln Umesh Prabhu addressing the gathering said that we should all respect older people equally, and not to criticize them about their age, their lifestyle and behavior. “Some day we too will reach that age, and how would we feel when you see others making fun or pass few criticism. Lions Club is proud to be associated with KMC Navachaintanya and other NGOs caring for the elderly, and will do our best in whichever way we can help. Together we can a make a difference in the community”. Prizes were distributed to the winners in various contests- who said that Seniors can’t unleash their hidden talents even at their present age.
The programme was compered by Hussain Baji and Susheela Rao. After Surendra Bekal proposed the vote of thanks, it was time for some serious entertainment where a bunch of Seniors sang, danced, acted and what not- which sent a message to the younger generation that age has no limits or boundaries when it comes to celebrate and have fun. From songs to dance to acting, the old-timers did have a ball and enthralled everyone gathered. Long live these young, active, cheerful and bubbly vintage folks like Vaniamma, Paulinebai and Hussain Bajisaab and the rest of the Navachaintanya dynasty.
In conclusion, all I have to say is that most people are completely unaware of the subconscious stereotypes they hold about older people. It is time to stop defining people by their age. It will result in more prosperous, equitable and healthier societies. Negative attitudes about ageing and older people also have significant consequences for the physical and mental health of older adults. Society will benefit from this ageing population if we all age more healthily. But to do that, we must stamp out ageist prejudices. Period.