Ageing well!

November 15, 2008 by Martine Rodrigue

An expression which has a very particular meaning or, rather, several connotations depending on how we look at it. Being in good health, having sufficient financial resources, keeping active, having access to the services required based on one’s state of health, if needed, and being able to count on meaningful social relationships. All these different aspects might conjure up a sense of “ageing well” since they are associated with a positive self image.

While advertising campaigns aimed at the elderly paint a rather homogeneous picture of a population that is free and joyful with access to all kinds of consumer products—ranging from luxury residential units in housing developments for retired persons to holidays abroad—there is also a much harsher reality.

Data show that more than half the population aged 65 and over must rely on the Guaranteed Income Supplement to survive; this is particularly true for women living alone. It thus defies all logic how these people can possibly relate to such golden images of retirement. Unfortunately, this silent majority is all too often forgotten.

I look forward to seeing inno­vative and affordable projects that meet the needs of all seniors–– projects that would contribute to the notion of “ageing well” by maintaining relationships with people who are important to them and valuing intergenerational communication.

Have we as a society placed enough emphasis on the social and psychological well-being of ALL elderly persons, including the silent majority? Are we open enough to welcome new experiences that would bring us closer to one another?

Together, as citizens or as social and community organizations, we could marshal our forces to ensure the well-being of seniors.

Such a challenge should help us unite, which is exactly my goal.

The author: