Celebrated on the first day of October, the International Day of Elderly People was established by the United Nations (UN) in 1991 and aims to raise awareness in society about the issues of aging, a natural action in the life of any person. human being.
Currently, there is a need to protect and care for the elderly population, the one that has already done so much for us, either by creating a solid foundation in the values of your family, or in the achievements made through your work carried out over the past few years.
Therefore, on that date, around the globe, various activities are held for the elderly population, such as lectures, physical activity sessions, manual arts classes and many others.
And, today, in this article, we will bring you the reality of this population here in Brazil, as well as discuss the importance of socializing the elderly with the world.
The elderly today in society
It has been visible for some years now that people’s longevity is gradually increasing. According to the 2010 IBGE census, the elderly population in Brazil rose from 3.9% to 5.1% and it was found that the average age of Brazilian women went from 63.9 to 77 years, while the of men went from 66.3 to 69.4 years.
With the increase in this life expectancy, several generations will live simultaneously: parents with children, grandparents with grandchildren, great-grandparents with great-grandchildren. There will be diverse knowledge being passed on from generation to generation at the same time, which is quite enriching, culturally speaking.
According to science, senescence is the natural aging process at the cellular level. The aging of the body as a whole is due to the fact that the cells die and are not replaced by new ones, and because of this, the physical changes become more clear – such as loss of shine and dryness of the skin, which makes it more brittle and wrinkled.
With the decrease of this multiplication of cells in the organism, the systems of the body have a decline in its functioning. This is called senility .
With the aging of the population, it is estimated that the number of people over 60 in cities will be 900 million in 2050. And, as they get older, more problems in the body will appear. In addition to physical health care, special attention is needed to the neurological health of the elderly.
According to Professor Anderson Amaral, general secretary of the Brazilian Alzheimer’s Association (ABRAz), our brain loves a routine. However, this routine is associated with several complications, including degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In addition, other diseases can be caused by the isolation they suffer, such as Depression .
And it is against this background that it is stated that the social activities of these people are extremely important and need to be maintained – which, unfortunately, often does not happen.
Accepting and understanding seniors
Aging is a very complex factor and goes well beyond the number of years that a person has. According to researchers in the field, the age of any human being is divided into 4 types. See below what they are:
- Chronological age: It is the measurement of days, months and years from the person’s date of birth.
- Biological age: It is defined by the transformations of the body and the mind according to the passage of time.
- Social age: It is the assessment of the degree of suitability of someone through their performance of actions and behaviors desired for their age.
- Psychological age: It is the set of people’s adaptive skills, according to the demands of the environment in which they live, when they use psychological aspects, such as emotional control, intelligence, memory, etc.
Regardless of the perspective in which an individual’s age is analyzed, it is true to say that many people still consider the elderly person as someone who is unable to do anything.
As much of these things are said, the elderly people end up, sometimes involuntarily, turning away from everything they did until then. It is important to note that old age is not a phase that should be disregarded, but understood – not only by the elderly, but also by their families.
The collaboration of the elderly in this phase of life is essential, since the first person who must understand that their cognitive abilities are no longer the same is themselves.
Thus, with acceptance, the posture will be modified and also the differential to have a better quality of life from then on. Growing old does not mean that the person must exclude himself from society; quite the contrary, getting older means that it is time to catch up and learn new things that will stimulate concentration and balance.
According to the Statute of the Elderly, Law No. 10,741, dated October 1, 2003, Article 10 states that “it is the obligation of the State and society to guarantee the elderly person freedom, respect and dignity, as a human person and subject to civil, political, individual and social rights, guaranteed in the Constitution and in the laws ”.
That is, each elderly person in our country deserves and must have their rights prescribed by law. And, for that to happen, she must go after herself, make herself heard and lead her own story.
The role of the elderly in society
In order for the vision of the elderly and old age to be differentiated, it is necessary that an education be given to them as an opportunity for action. As already said, in order for several things to be improved, the elderly themselves need to pursue these improvements.
This process of change takes a long way, but in order for this to be achieved, the first step needs to be taken – which, in this case, is that of education. This education for the elderly serves two things:
- For society to know and learn to respect the elderly;
- For the elderly to have new conditions to open themselves to the world around them, knowing their rights and experiencing new experiences.
It is not new today that the elderly are seen as people who have a lot to teach the younger ones, but, with this education that is becoming more and more common, they also have a lot to learn.
Education for the elderly is no longer focused on a means of assistance, but rather to make these people understand that, in addition to needing recreational activities that occupy their time, they also need space to grow more and more.
The elderly have a great capacity to learn from the moment they are encouraged, regardless of their age. Scholars claim that in order for them to have effective learning, it is necessary that adequate motivation is made, in addition to giving them the time necessary for assimilation to be done.
Education is capable of transforming the relationship of the elderly, not only with their family, but also with friends and with society, in addition to transforming them similar to those who make up their universe.
After this transformation, that is, after the elderly person is considered as a subject capable of developing and practicing certain activities, the view on old age is changed and, in it, the elderly person becomes a new social agent in their social group.
And it is precisely this new social agent who is learning to fight for his rights and discovering the strength of the union, since it is from social interaction and the exchange of ideas and information that new motivations are created.
Currently, a series of groups that focus on the coexistence of elderly people is being created, and these groups can be formed spontaneously by residents of the neighborhood, unions or at the initiative of the government.
These groups aim to satisfy the elderly through activities such as dance, theater, travel or even learning a new profession or a new language. This makes it feel like it is growing, even though, at first, it seems to be meaningless and applicable.
Another way found by senior citizens to socialize was to make use of technology – whether through computers, cell phones, tablets, etc. Contrary to what many people say, electronic devices are not only limited to person-machine or machine-machine contact , but also person-to-person.
The dialogue between two or more individuals is essential for anyone’s life and this is provided through ways that facilitate and concretize this action. Elderly adults have the option of using or not using a technological tool, however, given the reality of no longer living close to everyone they would like, they end up using it to communicate and feel part of the life of those who are distant.
Socialization work for the elderly has been growing gradually here in Brazil. A great example of this is the program created by the Social Service of Commerce (Sesc), which, since the 1960s, has developed a work that aims to provide opportunities for social interaction for the elderly. The institution has 3 types of programs in its grid:
- Community centers: have socio-recreational leisure activities;
- Open schools: have courses and programs focused on sport and health;
- Preparation service: made for people who are retiring.
In addition to Sesc, other groups are constantly seen: clubs for the elderly organized by drugstores, sports clubs that organize dance balls for the elderly, companies that offer internship vacancies for the elderly and so on.
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