Age Demands Action campaign with HelpAge International
Walter Woods is the Vice President, AARP Foundation Impact Programs (Isolation) and has more than 20 years of social development experience working both with and for young and older people in the Greater Washington Region.
The video conference was held on 30 September and included schools from Monterray in Mexico, London, New Delhi, India, Dubai, Gaza, Thailand, amongst others, as well as me their guest speaker from the AARP Foundation.
Bringing generations together
Getting our youth to talk to and about older people is as important as getting them to take action to make this population more visible in our communities.
Multigenerational action today helps create better integrated communities tomorrow. Communities that fully engage with what must be recognised universally as our most treasured resource: our older people.
So, when presented with the opportunity to participate in this video conference, I did not hesitate.
The issues older people face today
In my comments I talked about what the AARP Enterprise does to support older people in the US, my motivation to work in the field of ageing and the role faith based organisations play in this field.
I went on to talk about my thoughts on what the important issues facing older people are today:
- Older people not having access to basics such as food, housing, income and not achieving their best lives.
- Communities inadequately designed to allow older people to "age in community" in a fully integrated manner that connects them to resources, recognises their value and sustains a sense of purpose.
- Poor public awareness around issues of ageing and older people.
Ageing must be a public issue
Some of the comments I heard from participating students helped me realise more than ever how important ALL conversations about ageing are, especially multigenerational conversations.
We must keep the issue of ageing in the public domain as a topic of conversation. If we don't, this issue becomes even less visible and consequently, less relevant to our communities.
I encourage each of you take action and talk with your communities about issues of aging.
Inspire the action you seek by modelling it.