Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Michaela Boyle, has backed a campaign to tackle ageism today on the International Day of Older Persons.
The Mayor has joined a number of key figures in signing a letter that has been co-ordinated by the UK Network of Age-Friendly Communities committed to fostering healthy and active ageing.
It encourages everyone to think about how they treat the older generation, as well as asking people to challenge ageism if they see it, and is one of many events taking place during this Positive Ageing Month.
Mayor Boyle said she was only too happy to add her name to the list, explaining that the older generation play a huge role in our society, and we all have a responsibility to be conscious of the way that we treat them.
“I’m absolutely delighted to pledge my support for the International Day of Older Persons and Positive Ageing Month. Our older generation truly are the backbone of our community, and everyone has a duty to show them the respect that they deserve,” she said.
“The ‘Journey to Age Equality’ campaign focuses on removing ageism from our society, and I think that’s something everyone can get behind, particularly given the fact that recent research has suggested that a quarter of people over 50 have felt discriminated against whilst doing everyday tasks, or accessing services.
“It’s up to all of us to be conscious of the way we treat and speak to older people because, often without even realising, we can promote negative stereotypes that can cause real offence.
“That’s why this campaign is such an important one, and I’m proud to be taking part as we continue to stamp out the outdated attitudes towards ageing.
“For me personally, I thoroughly enjoy my Mayor’s Tea Dances, and seeing the joy on everyone’s face as they let loose and have fun. It’s a brilliant way for our older generation to socialise, as well as looking after their mental health and well-being,” she said.
“So often we look to our elders for support without realising that they also need it from us as well, so, not just on International Day of Older Persons, but every day, we have to ensure that we are doing our part in maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community for all ages in the District.
“As time goes on we are fortunate to be living for longer – with recent figures showing that there are currently around 2,200 people aged 85 or over in our District - and it’s vital that we make the most of these extra years and recognise all the opportunities that are available later in life.”
You can show your support and join the movement on social media by using #AgeProud or #AgeFriendly.