Policies for the elderly should be mainstreamed
Aging, along with and its moral and practical implications is so visible that most societies have had to establish norms to deal with it, but as Thomas R Cole, et al, observed in The Meaning of Aging and the Future of Social Security, “the ancient and medieval understandings of aging as a mysterious part of the eternal order of things gradually gave way to the secular, scientific, and individualist tendencies of modernity. Old age was removed from its place as a way station along life’s spiritual journey and redefined as a problem to be solved by science and medicine. By the mid-twentieth century, older people were moved to society’s margins and defined primarily as patients or pensioners.” Notwithstanding the various national approaches, the issue of aging only meaningfully arrived on the international agenda at the first World Assembly on Aging in 1982 and since the aspirations of that Assembly have not substantially changed, they provides both an historical perspective and a useful backdrop against which we may consider our own situation.
Of course, a level of international recognition existed before 1982. For example, the United Nations Declaration on Social Progress and Development in 1969 insisted that the aged have welfare needs that had to be enhanced. The 1974 Vienna World Population Plan of Action urged all governments to devise development policies that take fully into account the implications of the changing numbers of the aged in the population, and in 1977, the UN’s Economic and Social Council dealt specifically with the issue of the aged and this led to the World Assembly in 1982.
The Assembly made a plethora of general and specific recommendations. It recognised that specific plans were the responsibility of each sovereign state but suggested that such plans should be …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.