Attitudes towards older people must be changed so that they are restored to a valued, participatory role in society, according to a document from the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
    The Tablet reports that "The Dignity of Older People and their Mission in the Church and in the World", emphasises the contribution elderly people can make to the life of the Church and the wider society. It has been produced to mark the United Nations International Year of Older Persons, and quotes UN figures indicating that worldwide there are now 66 million people aged over 80, and that this number will increase to 370 million by 2050.The Tablet The document is aimed at countering the perception that old age is "a period of decline". While some older people confronted later life with "serenity and dignity", seeing it as a time of "new opportunities for growth and commitment", others found their old age to be traumatic, reacting "with attitudes ranging from passive resignation to rebellion, rejection and despair".The Tablet "We have a responsibility towards older people today", the document declared. "We need to help them to grasp the sense of their age, to appreciate its resources, and to overcome the temptation to reject it, and so succumb to self-isolation, resignation and a feeling of uselessness and despair."

10:16am 12/4/99 / The Tablet


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