October 1st is International Day of Older Persons and in this year of COVID-19, it has particular relevance. Ageism has never been more prevalent in the media and policymaking as it has been in the last six months. Suggestions that older people are just unavoidable casualties of COVID-19 shed light on the rampant ageism endemic in society.
Unfortunately, older people have been depicted by both the government and the media as inconsequential. Instead of embracing this moment to encourage the inclusion of older people, both in terms of inclusive policies and inclusive solutions, global donors and policymakers have summarily ignored them.
Our goal for this year’s International Day of Older Persons is to #ExposeAgeism and we are urging people to consider how you exclude or include older people in your work and your community.
Recently, the world lost three people who were acclaimed for their activism in later years. Bill Gates Sr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and John Lewis were recognized for fighting for equity for all throughout their life course. We hope their stories will counter the ageist stereotypes that exist freely in our societies. Please read our tributes to all of them.
This is my last communication as the CEO of HelpAge USA. After six years, I’ve decided to move on to my next chapter. I’m proud to have been a part of this movement and hope you will join me in continuing to raise your voice and help us raise resources to ensure that the rights of older people are upheld. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to our Interim CEO, Cindy Cox-Roman, the founder of HelpAge USA. Cindy is a great advocate and will lead the organization into its next chapter.