Today, October 1st, is the International Day of Older Persons, an occasion to thank, once again, the labor that elderly people do. In the actual panorama, we couldn’t imagine our live without them, thanks of them we can grow up our children, combine our professional and personal life and it is indescribable how much we learn from them!
It is also a good occasion to talk about the isolation some older people suffer. Some weeks ago, we met Jane and she explain us her personal story. Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. Jane has a particular interest in the issue of social isolation and it’s impact across all genders, ages and backgrounds. Today we are more than grateful to share it with all of you.
“My grandmother is the matriarch of a large family. She has seven children, each of which has been married at least once and has produced multiple offspring, many of whom also have children now. Yet, somehow, we allowed her to become isolated through living in different areas, having busy jobs, prioritizing our own families, and assuming everything was ok. For my grandmother, she did not want to impose herself on others as she first mourned the loss of her husband and then her friends who one by one passed away or were moved into care homes.
It is no surprise, therefore, to learn that there a many complex reasons for social isolation to occur. On a personal level, prior to my marriage, social isolation came from first moving around the world and losing touch with friends from back home and college who separate into new groups, then becoming a work-from-home freelancer with no colleagues to hangout with and finally moving to a city where I knew no one.
In the UK alone, 50% of those over 75 live alone, few live with their children, and modern society has created dislocated family structures. This means 60% of people do not visit elderly relatives and 33% do not visit relatives in need of care. Isolation at all age groups is a massive problem right now, but it is most telling in our older generations. This is why we have launched a Campaign Against Social Isolation to help bring people together. Now is not too late to give a relative a call”.
On the other hand, organizations such as United Nations celebrate today this day with the theme “Stepping info the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.” This year’s day is about enabling and expanding the contributions of older people in their families, communities and societies at large. It focuses on the pathways that support full and effective participation in old age, in accordance with old persons’ basic rights, needs and preferences.