HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Remembering our old people
On December 14 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons. The International Day of Older Persons was first observed throughout the world on 1st October 1991. This year, for the first time we are celebrating this day in the Cook Islands as a calling to all concerned to the challenges ahead.
The world is in a demographic revolution. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, today, one person in ten is aged 60years or over, by 2050 this will be one person in five. This is a staggering number.
Aim of the International Day of Older persons is to highlight this impact, so that communities, governments can make preparations, in putting the necessary mechanisms in place before the onset. This year also marks 10 years since the adoption of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). This is the major international document that provides a basis for national action on ageing agreed by Member States. The MIPAA is a spinoff of the Vienna Plan of Action on Ageing (1982) focussing more on developing countries emphasising the inclusion of older persons in deciding policies rather than having policies designed for them. MIPAA aims to “ensure that persons everywhere are able to age with security and dignity and to continue to participate in their societies as citizens with full rights”.
Earlier this year, our committee on ageing lead by the Office of the Prime Minister, supported by Internal Affairs, Health, Te Kainga, Te Vaerua, CINCW, Creative Centre, Sixties Plus, Koutu Nui, JPF(Debbiesprogramme) launched into action by holding a consultation with those 60 years or over on Tumutevarovaro in the process of developing a National Policy on Ageing. Amazingly the principles of the MIPAA where mirrored by those seniors, confirming the fact that oceans and distance does not alter the needs and issues faced by old people. As we age, we can be ignored, patronized, denied essential services, abused, forced and more often, forgotten.
At a time when the country is concerned with depopulation and looking for future development it is important that our old people are included. Older people are vibrant and essential contributors to the development and stability of our nation and the nation should do more to harness this potential.
The intergenerational gap can also be bridged by strategically utilising the skills, knowledge, experiences of our old people through community initiatives. We are to be constantly reminded that our old people add value to our nation. On this International Day of Older Persons, it is only fitting that we as a nation salute them for their hard work in building us a nation that we are all proud to call home.
Exodus 20;12 says “Honour thy father and thy mother so that you may live long in the land that the Lord has given you”.
To all our mamas and papas in the Cook Islands, today, we Honour You and THANK YOU!!.
Na te Atua kotou katoatoa e tauturu mai
- Internal Affairs release

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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