The United Nations Report has highlighted that countries are experiencing a significant increase in the number of older people in their population. This segment is projected to be a critical contributor to development, with significant implications for the overall growth in all sectors of business and society. However, this situation exists in the face of rampant ageism, which is a stumbling block to progress as globally, 1 in 2 people are against older people.
Global Campaign to Combat Ageism
To combat ageism, the World Health Organization has established a Global Campaign to Combat Ageism that envisions a world for all ages and will work towards this ideal by changing the way the world views the concept of age and the reality of ageing. According to the WHO, ageism is the most socially normalized prejudice on the planet and is the root cause of many of the challenges older people face today.
The Global Report on Ageism outlines action points to understand ageism and collates evidence-based strategies to prevent and counter ageist attitudes. The report also highlights the importance of healthy ageing for all individuals, including older people. The Healthy Ageing 50 is a UN Decade of Healthy Ageing advocacy initiative that aims to inspire others by celebrating individuals who work towards improving the health and well-being of older people.
The Healthy Ageing 50
In September 2022, fifty individuals from around the world were recognised for their work in addressing the health and well-being of the older generation with limited resources at hand. The announcement of the ‘Healthy Ageing 50’ commemorates the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) and marks a turning point in the world in creating an environment for all ages, as well as the 2nd decade of the ‘UN Decade of Healthy Ageing’.
One of the nominees from The Healthy Ageing 50 list is Mr Aparajit B. Dey from India. He was chosen based on a framework of guidelines that included new ways to improve the lives of older people, ensuring engagement to promote government policies, encouraging industries to foster healthy ageing, drawing on the experience of seniors, making older people the center of initiatives, and other such activities. Mr Dey has worked tirelessly over three decades to establish geriatric healthcare as an exciting and impactful clinical discipline. His profile states: “Orienting himself with WHO’s Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) framework, he has collaborated with the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Government of India to incorporate integrated care within their healthy ageing strategies. As a result, integrated care which places older people’s needs at the center has seen increasing implementation within clinical practice in the region.”
Welcoming Retirees to the Workforce
Retired professionals are joining the workforce for several reasons, including financial needs, staying active to prevent cognitive decline, or just to stay engaged. However, ageism is a significant challenge that retirees face when trying to re-enter the workforce. The perception that older workers are less productive, less adaptable to change, and less motivated to learn new skills is prevalent, and this mindset needs to be combated.
Creating a multigenerational workforce that operates cohesively and observes the best practices and industry standards is the way forward. This approach allows individuals of all ages to contribute their unique perspectives and experiences and helps to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
In conclusion, ageism is a significant challenge that needs to be combated, especially since the trends in population ageing show that those above 65 are growing faster than all other age groups. Healthy ageing is essential for all individuals, including older people, and initiatives like The Healthy Ageing 50 are a step in the right direction towards achieving this goal. Welcoming retirees to the workforce and creating a multigenerational workforce that observes the best practices and industry standards is the way forward.