State Week for the Elderly brings reflection on what it means to be 60+ today

State Week for the Elderly brings reflection on what it means to be 60+ today
State Week for the Elderly brings reflection on what it means to be 60+ today

“If I stop working, I lose my health”, you have surely heard this phrase at some point in your life. It also governs the lives of many people, such as the 80-year-old heavy machinery operator Ramiro Freitas dos Santos. Waking up early, having a fresh coffee, moving the body, working and telling good stories are not lacking in the company of the elderly.

Photo: Reproduction/Legislative Assembly – MS
At 80 years old, Ramiro works 10 hours operating a machine

Currently, thanks to several factors, such as the evolution of medicine and technology, the so-called third age has a “new face”. And it has nothing to do with canes, rocking chairs or physical fatigue. This is due to active aging. “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I have a healthy diet, I ride a bike and I spend up to 10 hours operating a heavy machine. I will only stop when God determines”, said Ramiro.

Aparecida Celeste, 69, managed to slow down for a few months after retiring. “I worked in the classroom for 38 years and I couldn’t wait to retire and turn off the alarm clock. Finally, the long-awaited moment arrived, but, along with it, loneliness and sadness. I needed to escape this scenario and decided to work again. Today, I work as an administrative assistant.” And the elderly woman has not completely given up teaching. On Sundays, she is a Sunday School teacher at the Baptist Church.

Photo: Reproduction/Legislative Assembly - MS
Photo: Reproduction/Legislative Assembly – MS
On Sundays, Celeste (right) teaches Sunday School

Old photographs reveal that seniors in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were older and frail. “With an arched back and sad eyes, the elderly seemed less happy and with a bad physique. I believe that the quality of life has increased as a result of health treatments, medicines and the advancement of science and technology. Today, we are reinventing ourselves, full of experiences and a desire for a long life”, added Celeste.

Businessman José Ricardo Andrea is Ramiro and Celeste’s employer. Of its 10 employees, half are 60+. “For sure, the elderly are the most committed and most careful with machines and trucks. They are the ones who wear the company shirt. It is an active generation of grandfathers and grandmothers, which exudes willingness and commitment”, he stressed.

Themes related to the elderly are recurrent in the Legislative Assembly of Mato Grosso do Sul (ALEMS). The State Week for the Elderly, celebrated annually, from September 25 to October 1 (International Day of the Elderly), is the result of Law 4,796/2015 .

The objectives of the law are to encourage physical and mental activities in the elderly in the municipalities and to carry out awareness-raising actions on the important role of the elderly in building a society with a better quality of life.

The June Silver month (awareness and awareness campaign regarding violence against the elderly), established by Law 5.215/2018, is also an action by ALEMS. As well as the Parliamentary Front in Defense of the Rights of the Elderly, created to propose, discuss and monitor the implementation of public and private policies related to the promotion and defense of the rights of the elderly.

One of the achievements of the working group was the recent regulation of , which finances programs and actions related to the elderly, with a view to ensuring their social rights and creating conditions to promote their autonomy, integration and effective participation in society.

Photo: Reproduction/Legislative Assembly - MS
Photo: Reproduction/Legislative Assembly – MS

The ALEMS Website and Social Media Management team produced a digital children’s book to stimulate reflection on the violation of the rights of the elderly. Access and download the book “A party for life: animals of the Pantanal and the rights of the elderly” by clicking on this link .

Decade of Healthy Aging

Photo: Reproduction/Legislative Assembly - MS
Photo: Reproduction/Legislative Assembly – MS

The proportion of people aged 60 and over in the population is increasing. In 2019, men and women aged 60 and over reached 1 billion. This number will increase to 1.4 billion in 2030 and 2.1 billion in 2050. The increase is occurring at a rapid pace, particularly in developing countries.

This significant shift in the global population requires adaptations to the way societies are structured across sectors such as health, social care, transport, housing and urban planning.

The United Nations Decade for Healthy Aging 2021–2030 (

click on the picture to the side to read the document

), declared by the United Nations General Assembly, is a great opportunity to face the challenges and achieve actions to build a society for all ages.

The initiatives undertaken as part of the Decade will seek to change the way of thinking, feeling and acting in relation to age and aging; facilitate the ability of older people to participate and contribute to their communities and society; provide integrated care and primary health services that meet the needs of the individual, providing access to long-term care for older people who need it.

Governments, international and regional organizations, civil society, the private sector, academia and the media are encouraged to actively support the goals of the Decade.

The article is in Portuguese

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