“The year 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons. This year has also seen an emergence of COVID-19, that has caused an upheaval across the world. Considering the higher risks confronted by older persons during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, policy and programmatic interventions must be targeted towards raising awareness of their special needs. Recognizing older persons contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the preparedness and response phases of current and future pandemics is also important.”
Revisit the 2016-17 Social Justice Statement, A Place at the Table: Social Justice in an Aging Society.
A Prayer for all Ages
God of all creation, you are timeless and beyond all ages.
We who are growing old give thanks
for the years you have given us –
for family, friends and all those
who have enriched our lives.
We who are not yet old give thanks
for the older people in our lives:
for grandparents, loved ones, friends
and all who generously offer
the wise counsel of their years.
We who are growing old pray that we may be
patient with our ageing limbs
and difficulties in everyday tasks
we once did much more easily.
We who are not yet old pray
for patience and kindness
towards those who do not move as quickly
as we would sometimes like.
We who are growing old pray for good health
in our later years,
and forbearance when our health fails us.
We who are not yet old pray for good health
for those we love
and compassion towards those
who suffer ill health.
We who are growing old pray for prudence and sweet timing,
in offering our wisdom to the next generation,
while respecting their energy and creativity.
We who are not yet old pray for openness
and humility in receiving
the advice and guidance of our elders.
We who are growing old pray that we
may face our death with serenity and dignity.
We who are not yet old pray that we affirm
the sacredness of each person’s life
and accompany those who are dying
with gentleness and deep respect.
God of endless love, help us to understand
that we share a common life journey,
a call to live life to the full
and to strive to enable all creation to come
to the fullness of the Cosmic Christ. Amen
2021 Theme: Digital Equity for All Ages
The 2021 theme “Digital Equity for All Ages” affirms the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older persons.
The fourth industrial revolution characterized by rapid digital innovation and by exponential growth has transformed all sectors of society, including how we live, work and relate to one another. Technological advances offer great hope for accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, one-half of the global population is off-line, with the starkest contrast between the most developed countries (87%) and the least developed countries (19%) (ITU Facts and Figures 2020). Recent reports by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) indicate that women and older persons experience digital inequity to a greater extent than other groups in society; they either lack access to technologies, or are often not benefitting fully from the opportunities provided by technological progress.
Meanwhile, as efforts to connect more people are currently under way, new risks have become apparent. For example, cybercrimes and misinformation threaten the human rights, privacy, and security of older people. The rapid speed of adoption of digital technology has outpaced policy and governance at the national, regional, and global levels. The Secretary-General’s Roadmap seeks to address these challenges by recommending concrete action to harness the best of these technologies and mitigate their risks.
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PHOTO:Left: Amer Kapetanovic/UNFPA Bosnia and Herzegovina. Right: © Aisha Faquir/World Bank.