Ghana joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day of Older Persons, with a call for increased national efforts to enhance the well-being of all, particularly the aged.
The International Day of Older Persons, observed on October 1 each year, is to raise awareness on issues affecting the elderly.
It was instituted by the United Nations to also appreciate the contributions that older people make to nations and society.The theme for the 2016 celebration is “Take a Stand against Ageism”.
Dr Osotimehin said population ageing was one of the significant trends in the 21st century, representing both a cause for celebration and a challenge.
He said population ageing could be a potentially disruptive force, as social inequalities tended to magnify during old age.
Dr Osotimehin said the UNFPA and the UN believed that reducing lifelong inequalities and embracing the contribution of older persons offered tremendous prospects for development.
“The UNFPA continues should help countries to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing by promoting policy dialogue and supporting training, research and data collection disaggregated by age and sex,” he said.
According to him, population ageing was a transformative force in every country, and would test the existing structures of the respective economies, households and societies.
He, therefore, called on all, particularly decision makers, to ensure that people aged with dignity and enjoyed a lifetime of contribution, integration and well-being
For his part, the Founder of the OPA, Mr Nathaniel Botwe, called on the public to desist from referring to the elderly, particularly the poor or ill, as witches and wizards and thus maltreat them but rather support them through the period to live dignified lives.
“In Ghana and in Africa, older persons and the aged are supported by the extended family system but this family system is gradually diminishing and focus shifting to the nuclear family system which has culminated in inadequate support for the aged population,” he said.
Mr Botwe said the association, in a bid to support older people who had no support from families, had set up an old people’s centre and a home with a capacity of nine beds.
He said the home was being run with public support, but due to lack of funds only four people could be accommodated at the moment.
He, therefore, called for more public support to be able to absorb more needy aged people.
In her remarks, the Progressive Peoples Party’s parliamentary candidate for Okaikoi South, Mrs Harriet Anita Abaidoo, said everyone was a stakeholder in the well-being of elderly people.
She, therefore, called on all to play their roles effectively so that collectively Ghana would create a better environment for the aged.