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Older people's lifelong experiences are an unmatched guiding force for the younger generation

29 Sep 2010

Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor is Secretary General of the Pakistan National Centre for Ageing (PNCA) and an Age Demands Action activist. This is the first time that Pakistan have taken part in Age Demands Action and we are delighted to have them on board!

On 1 October, older people in Pakistan will be making their voices heard when they meet with the Ministers of Social Welfare and Health to call for a national policy on ageing. They have also been taking part in our Insights on Ageing survey, helping us to understand what it's like for people to get older in the world today. Here, Chaudhry Abdul talks about his experiences:

"We carried out the Insights on Ageing survey with 44 respondents, of all ages, in Islamabad.  This is what we found out:

Who we surveyed

Among the respondents 47% were between 60 - 69 years of age, 24% were between 70 - 79 years of age, and the remaining 29% were below 60 years of age. 18% of respondents were from rural areas and 82% were in urban areas.

Older person in Pakistan following the floodsCan people in Pakistan afford basic services?

65% of respondents said that they cannot pay for basic services like electricity, health care, enough food to eat, clean water and safe housing.

Does society value older people?

59% of respondents said that society does value older people but 29% stated that the value of older people was dissipating with time. This is in comparison to 94% that said they expect to valued when they are in older age.

Do older people contribute to society?

Older man in PakistanAll the respondents stated that the elderly had a significant contribution to society in different ways. For example,

- They are experienced and so people can learn from them and they encourage participation in society.

- In many families, older people help to manage household affairs and help with the education and career development of youngsters. 

- They help to promote communication within their neighbourhood, improving social relations between families.

- Their lifelong experience is an unmatched guiding force for the younger generation.

Is the world getting better, worse or staying the same for older people?

18% of respondents thought the world was getting better for the older citizens and another 18% thought that it was getting worse. 53% thought that it was staying the same, whereas 11% had no opinion.

Why isn't the world getting better for older people?

Respondents who felt that the world was getting worse for older people gave the following reasons for this:

- Lack of income and financial security of older people.

- There are very few need-based facilities available to older people after retirement.

- The healthcare service is not improving and new facilities are not being built.

- Older people suffer from poverty and lack of education.

What can governments do?

Ahmad Jan, Tarru Jabba, Pakistan94% of respondents stated that the Government had a definite role in making living in older age better. Suggestions of things that governments could do to improve things are:

Introduce a national ageing policy guided by the UN principles for older persons.

- Set up care homes for older people. 

- Provide a fair amount of monthly pension to older people.

Use the skills and knowledge of professionally qualified older people by enabling them to work in teaching, research and other relevant fields. 

- Introduce a social security system for older people.

- Provide bank loans to the elderly so they can support themselves by setting up businesses.

- Provide older people with separate priority services in hospitals, shops and airports.

Very important for the world to support older people better

65% of respondents stated, in comparison to other global issues, it is very important for the world to support older people better." 

Add your voice to those of people all over the world by taking our Insights on Ageing survey.

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Jennifer Williams
Country: UK
Job title: Campaigns

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.