At the Cultural Diversity Workshops held at Lebanon Valley College today, the closing keynote featured Dr.Ayesha S. Ahmad, M.D., F.A.C.P. who presented this Keynote Topic: The Greying of America. Dr. Ahmad touched on several of the emerging trends below in her comments today.
The World Health Organization states, “Most developed world countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as a definition of ‘elderly’ or older person, but like many westernized concepts, this does not adapt well to the situation in Africa. While this definition is somewhat arbitrary, it is many times associated with the age at which one can begin to receive pension benefits. At the moment, there is no United Nations standard numerical criterion, but the UN agreed cutoff is 60+ years to refer to the older population.
“Although there are commonly used definitions of old age, there is no general agreement on the age at which a person becomes old. The common use of a calendar age to mark the threshold of old age assumes equivalence with biological age, yet at the same time, it is generally accepted that these two are not necessarily synonymous.”
Misconceptions of aging and health: Some of the most important barriers to developing good public policy on ageing are pervasive misconceptions, negative attitudes and assumptions about older people. Although there is substantial evidence about the many contributions that older people make to their societies, they are frequently stereotyped as dependent, frail, out of touch, or a burden. These ageist attitudes limit older people’s freedom to live the lives they choose and our capacity to capitalise on the great human capacity that older people represent.