‘Senior citizens should become one of our priorities,’ says TRCAL’s Carole St-Denis
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact many lives – but especially those of senior citizens – the Table régionale de concertation des aînés de Laval is reminding everyone, as the annual International Day of Older Persons approaches, to be mindful of the needs and wishes of senior citizens throughout the year.
The International Day of Older Persons is observed on Oct. 1 annually. The day started to be officially observed after Dec. 14, 1990, when the United Nations General Assembly voted for a resolution to establish Oct. 1 as the International Day of Older Persons.
Spotlight on seniors’ issues
International Day of Older Persons was observed for the first time on Oct. 1, 1991. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the issues affecting senior citizens, such as elder abuse and senescence. (Senescence is the gradual deterioration of a person as he or she grows older, otherwise known as biological aging.)
The day is also regarded as an occasion to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society. And the observance has become a special focus for many senior citizens’ organizations in Quebec, including the Table régionale de concertation des aînés de Laval.
“It would be very important for people to remember on this day that senior citizens need to become one of our priorities – that they should remember to prioritize the well-being of senior citizens and be present for them,” said Carole St-Denis, executive-director of the Table régionale de concertation des aînés de Laval.
Seniors need more attention
She maintains that, unfortunately as things are now, the well-being and needs of senior citizens often seem to come last in society’s list of priorities. But she also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly placed senior citizens’ problems in the foreground of news coverage, “because those problems were already there,” St-Denis said.
‘We should be acknowledging senior citizens’ accomplishments, as well as the fact so much that we have today is because of them’
“So I think that we must keep this in mind at the end of the day, because these are people who contributed towards the creation of our society and who built it. Therefore, we should be acknowledging senior citizens’ accomplishments, as well as the fact so much that we have today is because of them.”
Carole St-Denis suggested that this is an especially important year to be marking International Day of Older Persons, because the pandemic has drawn out longstanding senior citizens’ problems and issues.
Greater focus on seniors
“This is a year that has raised awareness of everything that seniors normally experience – isolation, abuse, depression, lack of resources – which are all things seniors were dealing with before,” she said. “But now these issues are even more present. We should make these issues part of our top priorities from now on.”