In 1990 the United National General Assembly designated 1 October as the day to promote the dignity, independence, rights and participation of older persons.
This year, the United Nations notes the severe impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on older persons around the world — not only on their health, but on their rights and well-being. Since the onset of the pandemic, the UN has given priority to the needs of older persons in its collective preparedness and response action at global, regional and country level.
In South Africa, we observed Older Persons Week from 30 September to 6 October. But we at the CJSA hope you agree that we celebrate our seniors daily!
Decade of Healthy Ageing
The Decade of Healthy Ageing also commences in 2020 bringing together experts, civil society, government and the health professions to discuss the five strategic objectives of the Action plan on Ageing and Health.
Specifically, Goal three aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being of all at all ages” and ensure that every human being regardless of age will have an opportunity to fulfil their potential in dignity and equality.
The World Population Prospects 2019 report indicated that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65. The number of persons aged 80 years or over is projected to triple, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.
Outside of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, we can no longer take for granted that significant memory decline is part of the ageing process. Studies show a close link between lifestyle choices and cognitive decline among seniors. Simply put, the level of memory decline in old age is not a given, but rather something that is affected by a multitude of factors, many of which are being continually discovered.
Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing website article states practical steps that can help guard against decline. Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. Jobs that keep you mentally active, pursuing a hobby or learning a new skill can function the same way. Read; join a book group; play chess or bridge; write your life story; do crossword or jigsaw puzzles; take a class; pursue music or art; design a new garden layout. (We have a faribel — they forgot to mention that you should join the CJSA!)
In addition, the importance of diet and exercise, as well as guarding against diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, depression, cholesterol and an underactive thyroid.
A key issue that crops up often in retirement research is mounting financial pressure, which is preventing people from saving enough or at all for their golden years. Work also provides a necessary sense of purpose for many. A sense of purpose in life, definitely plays an important role in maintaining physical function among older adults.”
On the positive side, the increase in longevity as well as the implementation of healthy habits, is likely to result in a healthier population above the age of 60.
While many might be looking forward to retirement at 60, the possibility of another 20, 30, or 40 years of life and minimal cognitive decline, might put into question the idea of retiring at 60. If indeed, as the body of research suggests, ageing is in fact informed by various conditions, and not all 65 year old or even 80 years olds are in the same state of health or cognitive decline, how fair then is the mandatory retirement age of 60 or 65 that is implemented by many companies?
How much of an impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on those statistics remains to be seen. The growth of the older population can be credited to “the advancement of public health, medicine, and economic and social development, and their contribution to the control of disease, prevention of injury, and reduction in the risk of premature death,” as well as a declining birth rate.
Socialisation plays an important part in the well-being of everyone. Isolation during COVID-19 has been acutely felt by all with the CJSA professional team. Thinking and acting out of the box we have encouraged members to interact wherever possible on Zoom and to check in regularly with one another to ensure that everyone is held together and kept part of the community in which they live.
Our Shabbat Meals — a very real way of keeping in touch — are reaching over 100 people weekly. We are so grateful to our fantastic band of volunteers who selflessly deliver each week and especially to the team at Berkies who prepare and pack each meal. A special thanks to Merle Rubin who initiated the idea for Pesach and behind the scenes quietly creates miracles and beautiful parev dishes.
We know how desperately everyone is hoping to meet again at our centres, but until this can happen, we urge each one to take care, be safe and positive — and stay in touch with us. Together — we CAN!
Social and Personal
Even during the lockdown period, there have been numerous occasions for celebration.
Janice Bloch – Great Granddaughter
Hannah Sofer – 20th Great Grandchild
Mervyn and Arona Shrand – grandson
Ruth Katzeff – granddaughter
Dan Korn – 80th Birthday
Our sincere condolences
Rose Brenner on the passing of her husband, Bernard
Mike and Averil Myers on the passing of his father, Harry Myers
Freda Tucker on the passing of her brother, David Wener
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