Today, Sunday 1st October, is Older People’s Day across the UK which coincides with the UN International Day of the Older Person

The theme of the International Day of Older Persons 2017 is

“Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.”

The theme is about helping us all to recognise that older individuals in our community have a massive amount of untapped potential and contribution to make to our society.

For those of us who work in social care, in care homes or care at home, we daily recognise that the individuals who are supported are contributing a huge amount to their local communities, despite often living with limiting illness and conditions. Yet all too often they are a part of the community, which others choose to ignore or consider to have nothing to offer and give.

I have written many times in this blog about the creeping ageism, which limits potential and despoils our communities. Older People’s Day is an opportunity not just to celebrate what older individuals have contributed to our society, but to start to work to remove the barriers of attitude and behaviour which are preventing them from giving more, contributing greater and participating better.

There is a real truth in the acknowledgement that we are not a community unless we enable the full participation of every single member of our society.

Between 2015 and 2030 the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase by 56 per cent — from 901 million to more than 1.4 billion. By 2030, the number of people aged 60 and above in Scotland will exceed that of young people aged 15 to 24.

Stepping into the future with our older citizens, wherever they live in our communities, is making about making a commitment that no one will be left behind, no voice will be unheard because it has lost its strength, no contribution will be dismissed because it is articulated by age.

To be valued, to find a place, to be able to give, to contribute, to participate are fundamental to our health and well-being. So as we all grow older in Scotland I hope we can also tap the potential of all in order to maximise the health benefits which come from feeling you can still make a difference.

So in your place of home, in your place of work, in your place of relaxation, think today about how you can include all the generations, and value especially the gifts, abilities, capacities of those who are older.

Let us all therefore work together to step into a future where all can find their place to give, share and be.

Dr Donald Macaskill

@DrDMacaskill