“I condemn ageism in all its forms and call for measures to address this violation of human rights as we strive to improve societies for people of all ages. This demands changing the way older people are portrayed and perceived, from being seen as a burden to being appreciated for the many positive contributions they make to our human family.” (Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon)
Richard Jolly wrote in Facing the Facts: The Truth About Aging and Development, “Inequalities accrue and get reinforced over a person’s life. They come home to roost in later years, often exacerbating each other and causing greater disadvantage.” The prejudices of colonization, racism, and colorism in places such as the south side of Belize City accrue over time, leaving many older people in deplorable conditions, enduring existing oppressions due to their race and class. Older people who do not have the protection and the support of family can end up without land, or with land that does not provide for their basic needs.
When did societies start abandoning our older people, treating them as a burden rather than a resource? Why do we so often leave our older sisters and brothers to deal with accrued inequalities on their own? Read the verse below, and think about how God has carried you as you have grown, whether from a child to an adult or from a young person to an older person. How has God carried you to safety?
“And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety.” Isaiah 46:4